Objects of Transcendence: Scots Protestantism and an Anthropology of Things

Joseph Webster

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


    This anthropological essay takes as its ethnographic point of departure two apparently contrasting deployments of the Bible within contemporary Scotland, one as observed among Brethren and Presbyterian fisher-families in Gamrie, coastal Aberdeenshire, and the other as observed among the Orange Order, a Protestant marching fraternity, in Airdrie and Glasgow. By examining how and with what effects the Bible and other objects (plastic crowns, ‘Sunday clothes’, Orange regalia) enter into and extend beyond the everyday practices of fishermen and Orangemen, my aim is to sketch different aspects of the material life of Scottish Protestantism. By offering a critique of Bruno Latour’s early writing on ‘quasi-objects’ via Alfred Gell’s notion of ‘distributed personhood’, I seek to undermine the sociological assumption that modernity and enchantment are mutually exclusive.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationMaterial Religion in Modern Britain: The Spirit of Things
    Place of PublicationNew York
    PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
    ISBN (Print)978-1-137-54055-3
    Publication statusPublished - 01 Aug 2015


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