Turning the categories inside-out: Complex identifications and multiple interactions in religious ethnography

Gladys Ganiel, Claire Mitchell

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    15 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    This paper challenges the fixed boundaries that ethnographers have often constructed between religious insiders and outsiders. Drawing on Neitz's observations, it argues that the main task of reflexive fieldwork is locating the self in relation to ambiguous and shifting boundaries. We offer a comparative analysis of the experiences of two differently socially located researchers to illustrate how religious identity emerges as a continuum, on which one's place is negotiated with one's research participants. We also examine the importance of intersecting multiple identities. Finally, the paper questions whether social identity categories are the primary way that we relate with our respondents. It explores the spiritual and emotional dimensions of research relationships and argues that these may transform, reinforce and generally interact with social identities. Comparing our experiences, we outline the consequences of these reflections for data gathering and analysis.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)3-21
    Number of pages19
    JournalSociology of Religion
    Volume67 (1)
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2006

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Religious studies
    • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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