Introduction: crossing religious and ethnographic boundaries - the case for comparative reflection

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Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • Univ Edinburgh
  • University College London


This Introduction to the Special Issue traces the history of the development of the sub-disciplines of the Anthropology of Christianity and of Islam to suggest that these ‘monistic’ tendencies have obscured exploration and theorisation of inter-religious coexistence and encounters for people’s lives and the societies in which they live. These sub-disciplinary boundaries have further led to an unintended ‘provincialization’ of both geographical spaces and theoretical debates, and stalled the development of a theoretically robust anthropology of religion. This Special Issue argues for the value of comparative work on multi-religious encounters within particular contexts, as well as by thinking comparatively on a global scale, as a way to generate new questions and considerations in how we study religion. The final section offers a short overview of the contributions to the Special Issue.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)386-401
Number of pages16
JournalSocial Anthropology / Anthropologie Sociale
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 7 Aug 2020


  • anthropology of Christianity, anthropology of Islam, anthropology of religion, inter‐religious coexistence, encounters, comparison, Anthropologie du Christianisme, anthropologie de l’Islam, anthropologie religieuse, coexistence interreligieuse, rencontres, comparaison