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Materiality and the Study of Religion: The Stuff of the Sacred


Joanne McKenzie


Material culture has emerged in recent decades as a significant theoretical concern for the study of religion. This book contributes to and evaluates this material turn, presenting thirteen chapters of new empirical research and theoretical reflection from some of the leading international scholars of material religion. Following a model for material analysis proposed in the first chapter by David Morgan, the contributors trace the life cycle of religious materiality through three phases: the production of religious objects, their classification as religious (or non-religious), and their circulation and use in material culture.

The chapters in this volume consider how objects become and cease to be sacred, how materiality can be used to contest access to public space and resources, and how religion is embodied and performed by individuals in their everyday lives. Contributors discuss the significance of the materiality of religion across different religious traditions and diverse geographical regions, paying close attention to gender, age, ethnicity, memory and politics. The volume closes with an afterword by Manuel Vásquez.


T. Hutchings, & J. McKenzie (Eds.), (2016). Materiality and the Study of Religion: The Stuff of the Sacred. doi:10.4324/9781315604787

Book Type Edited Book
Online Publication Date Dec 1, 2016
Publication Date Dec 1, 2016
Deposit Date Aug 20, 2019
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Series Title Theology and Religion in Interdisciplinary Perspective
ISBN 9781472477835
Public URL
Publisher URL