Lived religion as an emerging field: an assessment of its contours and frontiers
Ammerman, Nancy T.
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CitationAmmerman, Nancy T. 2016. "Lived Religion as an Emerging Field: An Assessment of its Contours and Frontiers." Nordic Journal of Religion and Society, Volume 29, no 2, pp. 83–99. doi: 10.18261/issn.1890-7008-2016-02-01
Over the last three decades, lived religion has emerged as a distinct field of study, with an identifiable “canon” of originating sources. With this body of work reaching maturity, a critical assessment is in order. This study analyzes sixty-four journal articles published in English, since 1997, which have used either “lived religion” or “everyday religion” in their titles, abstracts, or keywords. We find that the field has largely been defined by what it excludes. It includes attention to laity, not clergy or elites; to practices rather than beliefs; to practices outside religious institutions rather than inside; and to individual agency and autonomy rather than collectivities or traditions. Substantively, the focus on practice has encompassed dimensions of embodiment, discourse and materiality; and I argue here that these substantive foci can form the analytical structure for expanding the domain of lived religion to include the traditions and institutions that have so far largely been excluded from study. In doing so, lived religion’s attention to gender, power, and previously-excluded voices must be maintained. But that task cannot be accomplished without continuing to expand the field beyond the still-limited geographic and religious terrain it has so far covered.