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Journal for the Study of Religion

versión On-line ISSN 2413-3027
versión impresa ISSN 1011-7601


STRIJDOM, Johan. Uses of social theory in comparative Religious Studies: Assessing Chidester's sociological analysis of 'Wild Religion' in post-apartheid South Africa. J. Study Relig. [online]. 2014, vol.27, n.2, pp.10-24. ISSN 2413-3027.

In analysing 'sociality' (the formation of inclusive or exclusionary collective identities), 'materiality' (the desire for material objects, sensory experiences and gendered bodily performances of rituals) and 'exchange' (communist or capitalist economic exchanges in rituals of gift-giving and expenditure) as three aspects of religion within local and global contexts, David Chidester has used the social theories of Durkheim, Bataille, WEB Du Bois, Weber, Marx-Adorno-Horkheimer, Benjamin and others. The purpose of this paper will be to assess what we have gained from Chidester' s use of social categories such as 'sociality' and 'exchange' to analyse unconventional or 'wild' forms of religion in post-apartheid South Africa within a global context. On the basis of his sociological analysis of Freedom Park and the 2010 FIFA World Cup as forms of ' wild religion', I will in conclusion argue for the legitimacy and relevance of using etic vis-à-vis emic categories to afford a critical understanding of African religious realities within a global context.

Palabras clave : Social theories of religion; David Chidester; wild religion; post-apartheid South Africa; Freedom Park; World Cup.

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