Dealing with doubts, putting to test: the importance of uncertainty in vernacular religion
Anna Fedele (CRIA, University Institute of Lisbon)
Elisabeth Claverie (CNRS)
Ellen Badone (McMaster University)
Salle des thèses B16
Thursday 12 July, 11:30-13:15, 14:30-16:15, Friday 13 July, 9:00-10:45 (UTC+0)

Short abstract:

This panel explores the ways in which dogmas and rituals are transformed in vernacular religion. We call for ethnographically grounded papers that analyze the role of uncertainty in religious practices focusing on the way in which people put to test the efficacy of rituals, sacred sites and figures.

Long abstract:

In the last decades social scientists and religious historians have emphasized the need to pay more attention to religion as lived and practiced. Vernacular religion also identified as "popular" religion is finally being recognized in its own value especially thanks to the work of scholars focusing on Christianity such as William Christian, Meredith McGuire, Robert Orsi and others. Contrary to the assumption that religion works as a sort of magical remedy against uncertainty, providing people with a set of answers and solutions they totally embrace and rely upon, what emerges from ethnographical accounts is that uncertainty and doubt are inherent in lived religion.

In this panel we want to explore the ways in which the dogmas and rituals created by religious institutions are creatively used and transformed in the everyday lived religion of people. We call for ethnographically grounded papers that explore the role of uncertainty and doubt in religious practices focusing on the way in which people put to test the efficacy of rituals as well as the healing power of sacred figures and sites. How do people establish that a certain religion works for them in a historical period in which they are increasingly aware of the existence of religious traditions that are different from the one they grew up with? How do they criticize with their own religious creativity the dogmas and rules of the religious tradition they belong to?