Syncretism/anti-syncretism: The Politics of Religious Synthesis

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Charles Stewart, Rosalind Shaw
Psychology Press, 1994 - Religion - 225 pages
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"Syncretism, refers to the mixing of different religious traditions whether as active, ongoing process or as historical fact. In the present era of displacement, migration and generally increasing "cultural compression" syncretism is very much a current event. But syncretism does not just happen because religions have similarities and cross over into one another. It occurs in social conditions characterized by unequal power and it is sometimes directed by the interests and agency of prominent individuals. Contributors to this volume explore not only how syncretism occurs, but how the very idea of religious mixture is accepted or contested in ten different societies. Topics covered include multiculturalism in India, Japanese "new religions," the translation of the Bible in Ghana, the Christian interpretation of circumcision in Papua New Guinea and Turkish migrants' efforts to remain Muslims in Germany. Whether syncretism is a good or a bad thing is a disputed matter. Anti-syncretism can arise in situations of multiculturalism where a group attempts to preserve its integrity by guarding against foreign influences. In situations of ethnic revival groups are liable to deconstruct their own traditions and extirpate elements considered to be foreign or borrowed. Dispensing with objectivist and historicist attempts to decide what is syncretic, the contributors to this volume use their anthropological expertise and experience to present local understandings and debates about what is mixed, what is pure, and which is most 'authentic' "--Publisher description.

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About the author (1994)

C. R. STEWART has studied with more than 50 professional instructors, trainers, and coaches. He traveled around the world, studying diverse cultures and international business, and launched his own company at the age of 20. In 2006 he founded the Britfield Group, an international consulting firm which specializes in executive strategy, leadership, personal development, and knowledge enhancement. Stewart has been engaged in public speaking for more than two decades.

Rosalind Shaw is an associate professor of sociocultural anthropology at Tufts University. She is coeditor of "Syncretism/Anti-Syncretism: The Politics of Religious Synthesis" and "Dreaming, Religion and Society in Africa,

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