Conference Contribution Details
Mandatory Fields
Butler, Jenny
ISASR Conference - Emerging Perspectives: Religions and Ireland
Paper: Researching Irish Neo-Paganism: exploring issues of ethnographic practice, spiritual experience narrative and religious worldview
Study of Religions Department, University College Cork
Oral Presentation
2012
()
Optional Fields
25-MAY-12
26-MAY-12

Paper Title: Researching Irish Neo-Paganism: exploring issues of ethnographic practice, spiritual experience narrative and religious worldview

Abstract: This paper deals with both theoretical and methodological issues that arise during the ethnographic process of researching religion. It focuses on those issues unique to alternative religion and New Religious Movements, drawing on experience in the field as part of doctoral research on Irish neo-paganism. Field strategies are discussed and concerns, such as interpretative schema and researcher reflexivity, are addressed. It includes an evaluation of the technique of examining the personal spiritual experience narratives of informants as a means of gaining insight into "lived experience". It also deals with issues that relate more generally to the emic and etic dimensions of ethnography. The discussion also explores the complexities involved in an ethnographic description of a community's religious worldview and ritual practice. Also addressed is the problematic nature of balancing the perspectives of the research community with that of the academic analytical perspective.