Posts Tagged ‘Kim Knibbe’

Sites and Politics of Religious Diversity in Southern Europe: Book Review

May 21, 2014

Mapril, José and Ruy Blanes (eds). 2013. Sites and Politics of Religious Diversity in Southern Europe: The Best of All Gods. Leiden and Boston: Brill.

By: Kim Knibbe (University of Groningen)

The anthropology of religion in the South of Europe is alive and well. That is the resounding conclusion after reading this volume. Furthermore, it has stepped out well beyond the bounds of the classic ‘anthropology of the Mediterranean’. In an important sense, this volume also falls outside the scope of the anthropology of Christianity, since its subject is religious diversity, and it includes studies of Islam, Sikhism, Umbanda and Candomblé, New Age, and neo-paganism. In fact, only a small number of chapters deal with Christianity as their main subject matter. Nevertheless, the volume raises some important questions that are worth discussing in this forum.

The introduction by the editors does a good job of introducing the subject and providing a framework for the very diverse contributions to the volume. It starts out with the question of the religious heritage of Europe that emerged around the issue of a European constitution: can this be thought of only in terms of Christianity (in other discussions, ‘Judeo-’ is sometimes added in front of Christianity, still not self-evidently part of what is thought of as the European heritage)? This volume aims to show that the groups discussed here conceptualize Europe in quite different ways, and create new cartographies of this place called Europe. Each of these cartographies in their own right can be read as a challenge to the ‘secularist hegemony’ of public opinion and, one might add, of Eurocrats (1). Europe, even the south of Europe, which appeared so homogenously Christian in the anthropology of the Mediterranean, is quite diverse in terms of religion.

While religious diversity is not a new phenomenon, in the light of the ‘return of religion’ in public debate (if not in fact, since religion had never really gone away) the editors argue that it is something worth noting and exploring. How do different groups shape the relationship between religion and culture on the one hand, and place on the other hand? How are migrant groups subject to ‘double marginalization,’ as migrants and as ‘religiously other,’ and how do they resist this? The south of Europe is particularly interesting, they argue, because it is at the edges of the Schengen area, the place where boundary work is particularly urgent since it is a gateway for migrants from Africa and the Middle East to Europe. Read the rest of this entry »

Knibbe, “Faith in the Familiar”

July 6, 2013

Knibbe, Kim. 2013. Faith in the Familiar: Religion, Spirituality and Place in the South of the Netherlands. Boston: Brill. 

Publisher’s Description: Faith in the familiar is an ethnography of religious change in the Netherlands, discussing Catholicism and popular forms of New Age. It focuses on the location of religion in local life and how people relate to religious authority.

Knibbe, “How to Deal With the Dutch”

November 8, 2011

Knibbe, Kim (2011) ” ‘How to Deal with the Dutch’: The Local and the Global in the Habitus of Saved Souls.” In Dedele and Blanes, eds, Encounters of Body and Soul in Contemporary Religious Practices. Oxford, Berghahn Books. 

Excerpt: “How do we shout Halleluiah?” Enthusiastically, her audience responded with a shout of “HALLELUIAH!” accompanied by exuberant arm movements. “And how do the Dutch shout Halleluiah?” Her audience laughed, and tried to imitate the lack of enthusiasm they perceived among the Dutch in different ways: a shortly mumbled hallelujah, huddled and hesitant arm movements that barely raised the hands above the head and kept elbows firmly clipped to the sides. Approvingly, she continued with her next question, encapsulating the problem in one distinct contrast: “And how do they shout when they are watching a football match?” To this, her audience responded like the crowd in a bar when the Dutch football team scores during a soccer match: loud shouting, flinging arms upwards and jumping up and down.

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