Rowan Ireland is an Honorary Research Fellow in the Sociology and Anthropology Program at La Trobe University. His research interests and publications have been in religion, civil society, and politics in Brazil and Australia. His ethnographic fieldwork has been conducted in the Northeast of Brazil and in shantytowns in the Greater São Paulo area.
Religion on Dover beach
Article first published online: 1 APR 2011
© 2011 Australian Anthropological Society
The Australian Journal of Anthropology
Volume 22, Issue 1, pages 56–75, April 2011
How to Cite
Ireland, R. (2011), Religion on Dover beach. The Australian Journal of Anthropology, 22: 56–75. doi: 10.1111/j.1757-6547.2011.00107.x
- Issue published online: 1 APR 2011
- Article first published online: 1 APR 2011
How does transcendental religion flourish when a secular frame sets conditions of belief? This question is put in a case study of the Catholic Newman Society at the University of Melbourne (1955–65). The Society flourished in a secular University where Charles Taylor’s ‘immanent frame’ was supposedly in place. Explanations are found in the particular spirituality nurtured in the Society and in the contingencies of Australian Catholicism in the mid-twentieth century, but also in the conventions of secular discourse in the University. Conclusions drawn from the case are: (i) that there are elective affinities between some forms of transcendental religion and a secular context; (ii) that social science dichotomies that separate the religious and secular obviate appreciation of elective affinities and hybridisation; (iii) that there are parallels between ethnographic inquiry and inner-worldly spirituality that may help us develop a conversational ethnography.