Archive | December 2012

2012 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 25,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 6 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

A near perfect statement of my current approach to studying religion

“Our object of study is the way religion is organized, discussed, and discursively materialized in cultural and social contexts. “Religion,” in this approach, is an empty signifier that can be filled with many different meanings, depending on the use of the word in a given society and context. It is this use of “religion”—including the generic definitions of academics—that is the responsibility of scholars to explain. Making the discourse on religion the main focus of our work also acknowledges the fact that we as scholars are ourselves actors on the fields of discourse.”

Von Stuckrad, Kocku. “Reflections on the Limits of Reflection: An Invitation to the Discursive Study of Religion.” Method & Theory in the Study of Religion 22, no. 2 (October 1, 2010): 156–169, p. 166.

I do apologise for all of the activity lately… I can’t help finding ‘gold’ :)

The Construction of Scientific Facts

“The result of the construction of a fact is that it appears unconstructed by anyone; the result of rhetorical persuasion in the agnostic field is that participants are convinced that they have not been convinced; the result of materialisation is that people can swear that material considerations are only minor components of the “thought process”; the result of the investments of credibility is that participants can claim that economics and beliefs are in no way related to the solidity of science; as to the circumstances, they simply vanish from accounts, being better left to political analysis than to an appreciation of the hard and solid world of facts!”

Latour, Bruno & Steve Woolgar (1986). Laboratory Life: The Construction of Scientific Facts.
Princeton: Princeton University Press, p. 284.

If there’s one thing we can say about culture…

Baumann, Gerd. Contesting Culture: Discourses of Identity in Multi-ethnic London. Cambridge University Press, 1996. p.11

“Ethnographers’ uses of the word culture have established one essential point of consensus: culture is not a real thing, but an abstract and purely analytical notion. It does not cause behaviour, but summarizes an abstraction form it, and is thus neither normative nor predictive. As a deliberate abstraction it is there to help anthropologists conceptualize that ever-changing ‘complex whole’ (1871) through which people engage in the continual process of accounting, in a mutually meaningful manner, for what they do, say, and might think. Culture thus exists only insofar as it is performed, and even then its ontological status is that of a pointedly analytical abstraction.”


Abby Day is a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Religious Studies, University of  Kent. .

Good result for census Christians: bad for old theologians



So, most people when asked to do so, ticked a box about their religious identity on the 2011 census, and most said they were Christian Numbers are down, as we would expect – not because of increasing numbers of non-Christians such as Muslims (still a tiny percentage of the population) but because older people, the most religious cohort of society, are dying. Young people are less religious. We know that, but the number is still important because  census data are used to inform important political decisions about a range of issues, such as health, welfare, and education. The census helps the government decide about funding religious schools, for example.

Importantly, it fuels comments about what the real, perhaps ‘proper’ UK culture…

View original post 610 more words