Analysis Of After The Quotidian Turn By Thomas Tweed

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In his essay “After the Quotidian Turn: Interpretive Categories and Scholarly Trajectories in the Study of Religion since the 1960s,” Thomas Tweed critiques the redirection in religious studies to the interpretative tradition of lived religion. He defines the subject of this Quotidian Turn as, “The embodied practices and material culture of ordinary people beyond the threshold of worship spaces” (Tweed, 362). In other words, the term Quotidian Turn synthesizes the shift in academia from studying “religion as prescribed” to “religion as practiced” (Christian, 178). Having defined the Quotidian Turn, Tweed first cites Robert Orsi and Nancy Ammerman as the architects of this academic practice and then explores the paradox of analyzing religion …show more content…
He breaks his definition into four domains – discourse, practice, community, and institution – with discourse as the foundation on which the rest stands. He writes: “[Religious] discourse [must] transcend the human, temporal, and contingent, and claim for itself a similarly transcendent status” (Lincoln, 5). In other words, discourse grounded in existence or experience beyond the physical world is religious. With this definition of religious discourse, Lincoln addresses Tweed’s first concern – the creation of a “meaningless category” that fails to differentiate the religious from the nonreligious – and then constructs his larger definition of religion with three other domains. In an important footnote, Lincoln confronts Tweed’s second concern: “Insofar as the teachings of the Buddha are achieved by the most gifted of all sentient beings, but someone regarded as still human, these remain the basis of philosophy and not a religion” (Lincoln, 115). With this example of Buddhism, Lincoln clarifies that anything non-transcendental, although possibly philosophic or scientific, is nonreligious. By presenting a capacious and flexible definition of religion based on transcendental discourse at the beginning of his analysis, Lincoln circumvents the paradox of lived religion described by …show more content…
In his essay “Is the Study of Lived Religion Irrelevant to the World We Live In?” Orsi emphasizes the continuous value of his field after the attacks of September 11: “The contribution of lived religion is to encounter and engage religious practice and imagination within the circumstances of other people’s lives and within the contexts of our own, at all the places where these lives meet” (Orsi, 174). As a pioneer in the interpretative tradition of lived religion, Orsi champions the focus on religious practice across space and culture. While Nancy Ammerman employs this tradition in her book Sacred Stories, Spiritual Tribes: Finding Religion in Everyday Life, she chooses to start without a definition: “We chose instead to look for the way definitions [of spirituality] show up in conversations [and stories] about everyday life” (Ammerman, 24). This sociologic focus both struggles to address the paradox of lived religion and produces an examination of less relevant spacial and cultural divides than those explored by Lincoln. In other words, Lincoln presents a unique manifestation of the Quotidian Turn because he examines “religion as practiced” for ordinary individuals with extraordinary interpretations of religion. He remains within the quotidian boundaries of analyzing the “embodied practices and material culture” of ordinary people; however, starting with a definition of

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