Religious Self-Constitution: A Relational Perspective

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

10 Scopus citations


This chapter promotes an understanding of religious self-constitution as a relational and embodied process. The aim is to de-center the emphasis on belief in the commonly used category of the religious self and re-center it on an approach that studies the self as an embodied process contextualized in ongoing social relations. The chapter explores three dimensions of the embodied space in which religious selves develop: the importance of collective practice, the relation to the body, and the engagement with the material environment. Examples are provided from ethnographic research on the practice of Vipassana meditation, a Theravada Buddhist meditation of mindfulness. These examples are further supported by references to ethnographic studies that explore other religious practices such as Muslim fasting or Christian prayer.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReligion on the Edge
Subtitle of host publicationDe-centering and Re-centering the Sociology of Religion
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780199980758
ISBN (Print)9780199938629
StatePublished - 24 Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Oxford University Press 2013. All rights reserved.


  • Body
  • Collective practice
  • Ethnographic studies
  • Material environment
  • Religious self
  • Social relations
  • Theravada Buddhist meditation
  • Vipassana meditation


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