Considering comparison : a method for religious studies
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Considering comparison : a method for religious studies / Oliver Freiberger.
|Main author:||Freiberger, Oliver, (Author)|
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"The comparative method is an integral part of religious studies. Scholars are interested in a religious phenomenon not only as situated in its particular historical context, but also as a variant of something that exists in other contexts and cultures. Comparison has been subject to criticism, however, including postcolonialist and postmodernist critiques. Older approaches are said to have used comparison to confirm preconceptions about religion. More recently, comparison has been criticized as an act of abstraction that does injustice to the particular, neglects the differences, and establishes a mostly Western power of definition over the rest of the world. In this book, Oliver Freiberger takes a closer look at how comparison works. Revisiting critical debates and examining reflections in other disciplines including comparative history, sociology, comparative theology, and anthropology, Freiberger proposes a model of comparison that is based on a thorough epistemological analysis and that takes both the scholar's situatedness and his or her agency seriously. Examining numerous examples of comparative studies, Considering Comparison develops a methodological framework for conducting and evaluating such studies. Freiberger suggests a comparative approach - which he calls discourse comparison - that confronts the omnipresent risks of decontextualization, essentialization, and universalization. This book makes a case for comparison, arguing that it is indispensable for a deeper analytical understanding of what we call religion. It is intended to enrich the practice of both aspiring and seasoned comparativists, stimulate much-needed further discussions about comparative methodology, and encourage more scholars to produce responsible comparative studies"--
New York, NY :
Oxford University Press,
Includes bibliographical references and index.