Empowering and engendering ‘religion’. A critical perspective on ethnographic holism*


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    This paper is both a product of and was inspired by participating in the Younger Scholars' Forum ‘Researching Religion across Categorical Divides’ held at the EASA conference in Krakow 2000. I would like to thank the other participants, J. Shawn Landres, Marcin Lubas, Anna Niedzwiedz and Bruno Riccio, for their helpful comments and support during both the preparatory workshop and the final plenary session. My special thanks goes to the convenor, Jon. P. Mitchell, who guided us through the plenary and then challenged us to think on the status of ‘ethnographic holism’ within contemporary anthropology through readings of Marcus (1989) and Thornton (1988). This paper consists of a brief answer to this challenge, by relating it to my own research in which the central questions for the forum - a reflection upon the place of ‘religion’ in ethnography and the crossing of categorical boundaries - also feature prominently.