Religion in English Everyday Life: An Ethnographic Approach

Religion in English Everyday Life: An Ethnographic Approach

Religion in English Everyday Life: An Ethnographic Approach

Religion in English Everyday Life: An Ethnographic Approach

Synopsis

Starting from an ethnographic appraisal of the place of religious practices, and thereby returning to an approach more recently neglected, this book offers a detailed understanding of English everyday life. Three contemporary case studies disclose the complex patterns and compulsion of ordinary lives, including both moral and historical dimensions.

Excerpt

This book has been composed over a long period, under the pressure of other demands, and during both the research and the writing I have contracted too many debts, both of an intellectual and a personal kind, to be able to acknowledge them all. I owe a good deal to my first teacher in social anthropology, Edwin Ardener, who sadly died in 1987. Philip Kreager, Martin Thom, Kirsten Hastrup, Paul Dresch, Graham Howes and Keith Wrightson kindly read much of the material presented here in earlier drafts, and I am most grateful to them, for that and for their friendship. The research would have been impossible without the help of John Ware, Vicar of Kingswood, under whom I served my curacy, and Robert Stephenson, Vicar of Comberton, both of whom with great generosity introduced me to their parishes. I am also beholden to all the people in those places who received me so kindly, and taught me much of what I know about the construction and living of ordered, decent lives. And no formulation could do justice to the help, affection and companionship of my family, and especially my wife, Diane Palmer, who has accompanied me throughout.

In the course of the production of the book, I have been helped in particular by David Parkin, who has kindly contributed the Foreword, and by John Welch. The maps were drawn by Owen Turner, of the Geography Department, University of Cambridge. Part I was previously published as 'Two sociological approaches to religion in modern Britain' in Religion, Vol. 26, 1996: 331-42, and is reprinted by permission of the publishers, Academic Press Limited, London. Part IV is a slightly edited and reframed version of 'Epistemological considerations in occult knowledge', which appeared in International Journal of Moral and Social Studies, Vol.7, no.1, 1992: 43-56; it is reprinted by permission of Journals Limited, London. I

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