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Neopagan narratives: knowledge claims and other world 'realities'

Delamont, Sara ORCID: 2009. Neopagan narratives: knowledge claims and other world 'realities'. Sociological Research Online 14 (5) , 18. 10.5153/sro.2064

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The late Charles Tilly argued that good social science required both detailed analyses of the minutiae of everyday life and of the big structures and large social processes. This paper argues that analyses of social scientists' everyday practices, and particularly of their autobiographical narratives, are one way to illuminate the large-scale social processes that are ongoing in the social sciences. The specific focus, ethnography on neopagans, leads to a discussion of four 'big' questions of the type Tilly advocated. The inextricable links between academic textual conventions, the use and abuse of narrative data, and 'access' to the 'realities' and 'knowledges' of believers in other worldly phenomena in other dimensions or times, are explored. There has been a rapid growth in neopaganism in all the industrialised Anglophone countries since the 1960s. Ethnographers, particularly women, have conducted fieldwork in such groups, exploring the cosmologies and practices of neopagans. An analysis of the published accounts of such fieldwork raises questions about ethnography, gender, and particularly how claims to authenticity are made in academic texts. The specific topic - who can speak about neopaganism? - has wider applications when other types of narrative are explored.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Autobiography; Narrative; Ethnography; Neopaganism; Authenticity; Rhetoric; Gender
Publisher: Sociological Research Online
ISSN: 1360-7804
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2022 08:27

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