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Religion in English Everyday Life: An Ethnographic Approach

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Volume 5

Methodology & History in Anthropology

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Religion in English Everyday Life

An Ethnographic Approach

Timothy Jenkins
Foreword by David Parkin

272 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-57181-726-6 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (October 1999)

ISBN  978-1-57181-769-3 $29.95/£23.95 Pb Published (October 1999)

eISBN 978-1-78920-573-2 eBook

Hb Pb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook from these vendors Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


"Much of the interest and originality of the book inheres in the illuminating and sensitive analysis ... an important methodological contribution."  · Journal of Contemporary Religion

"Jenkins is a perspicacious and insightful researcher ... An original and fascinating read."  · World Faith Encounter


Starting from an ethnographic appraisal of the place of religious practices, and thereby returning to an approach more recently neglected, this book offers a detailed understanding of English everyday life. Three contemporary case studies - the life of a country church, an annual procession by the churches in a Bristol suburb, a range of linked "spiritualist" beliefs - disclose the complex patterns and compulsion of ordinary lives, including both moral and historical dimensions: the distribution of reputation and conflict, and the continuities of place and identity. At the same time, the approach revises previous accounts of English social life by giving a nuanced description of the construction of local lives in interaction with their wider setting. It demonstrates the creation of local particularity under an outside gaze, showing how actors create and cope with the forces of "modernity." In addition to the original ethnographic descriptions, the book also contributes to the history and theory of the study of complex societies.

Timothy Jenkins is a graduate of the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Oxford, and of the Faculty of Theology, University of Cambridge. He has undertaken fieldwork in France and England and was ordained a priest in the Church of England in 1986. Since 1992 he has taught at the Faculty of Theology, University of Cambridge, where he is Dean and Fellow of Jesus College.

Subject: Anthropology of Religion Theory and Methodology
Area: Europe


Maps and Tables

David Parkin

Introduction: Religious Elements in an Ethnography of Everyday Life

I. Two Sociological Approaches to Religion in Modern Britain
II. The Country Church – The Case of St. Mary’s, Comberton
III. The Kingswood Whit Walk

  1. Introductory
  2. The Whit Walk
  3. Family and Locality
  4. 'Fiends Transformed’: A Discussion of Local History
  5. Respectability, Reputation and Restraint
  6. Anxiety, Conflict and Gossip
  7. In Conclusion

IV. Secrets of the Spirit World


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