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Researching Paganisms Paperback – 28 Sep 2004

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: AltaMira Press,U.S. (28 Sept. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0759105235
  • ISBN-13: 978-0759105232
  • Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 1.8 x 22.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,687,836 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

Researching Paganisms successfully portrays the multiplicity of its subject matter. This collection provides a solid place to begin one's explorations of pagan studies and-at the same time-addresses theoretical and methodological issues that will inform future discussions about the role of the academy in the study of contemporary religious traditions as well as the relevance of religion in contemporary societies. Contributions are all first-rate. -- Stephen D. Glazier, University of Nebraska-Lincoln An interesting set of essays on the study of 'neo-paganism'...a useful reflection on the prejudices, preoccupations, instincts, emotional and personal traits which we all bring to our studies-a useful tool for self-analysis. -- Rene V.L. Wadlow Transnational Perspectives Researching Paganisms is an important book not only for scholars and students of contemporary Western Paganism, but also for all social scientists and religious scholars who do ethnographic research. Some of the best-known and some newer scholars of contemporary Paganism on three continents explore the role of the ethnographer in mystery religions, the way in which their research has changed them and their perspective, and how their research may have influenced those they study. This book would make a wonderful addition to any social science methods class both for the issues and questions it raises and because all the chapters are written as engaging first-person narratives. -- Helen Berger, West Chester University, Author of A Community of Witches and Voices from the Pagan Census

About the Author

Jenny Blain is Senior Lecturer, School of Social Science and Law, Sheffield Hallam University, UK. Douglas Ezzy is Senior Lecturer, Sociology, University of Tasmania, Australia. Graham Harvey is Lecturer in Religious Studies, Open University, UK.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Daniel on 19 Jan. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As an mature undergraduate writing my dissertation on the wheel of the year, finding academically sound texts to argue both for and against the use of 'insiders' was proving impossible until this book came along. Written from the perspective of academics who have had to engage paganism to fully understand and more accurately research it, this text provides a wealth of information for the the academic pagan student.

Alongside pagan studies itself this work also serves to highlight the broader issues facing subject engagement in research and should prove of value to anyone researching closed groups/organisations. I highly recommend it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
A good guide to research issues academics may face. 29 Aug. 2006
By Taylor Ellwood - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a collection of articles by a variety of scholars doing research in Paganism. It is by far the book I wish I had access to during my grad school days. In this book, the various writers deal with the issue of identity, specifically identity as academic and identity as pagan, the pressures that academia can impose in terms of presenting "objective" research, and offer there own thoughts on such matters can be dealt with.

What I find particularly refreshing is the focus on doing academic research that allows a person the validity of having a pagan/occult identity alongside the academic persona. It should be noted that the majority of the authors did their work either in Europe, which tends to be further ahead in research trends as compared to American academia. Additionally, what was refreshing was the admittance of choosing to do research in this field because it has soemthing to offer to the careers of these people. Such honesty about why they are researching is very much needed.

While this volume does expose some of the issues in research, in terms of academia, it doesn't fully draw out how pagan/occult culture is negoiated with, how the identity of an academic is explained and accepted in that context. I would've liked to have seen more focus on that facet of research issues.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Nerdy 14 Mar. 2006
By Jamie Lewis - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is part of a forthcoming collection of essays by Pagan academics which talk about the ways Neo-paganism is being studied and how the studies can be improved. If you are new to Paganism, then this book is not for you. Rather, it is part of a larger discussion which has relevance mostly to MA and PhD students. It is not, I repeat, NOT intended for laity. That being said, non-students might find it interesting to know what academics are saying about their practices. Most of the articles in this book are ways that the field study of Paganism should be improved. For example, the idea that sociologists and religious students can't become involved emotionally involved in the things that they are studying makes it difficult to get a full understanding of what Pagans are doing because so much of what we do must be internalized individually. The authors of the articles all are post-gradute students or tenured professors at colleges and universities from around the world. I used this book in an academic study of Paganism and found it essential to my research. The type of Paganisms covered in this book may seem too broad for many Neo-Pagans because they cover larger issues such as feminist ecology and neo-shamanism, among other things. You will find that this book does not answer so many questions as it asks, and calls for more interdisciplinary aproaches to Neo-pagan studies.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A solid place to begin 23 Mar. 2006
By Stephen D. Glazier - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Researching Paganisms successfully portrays the multiplicity of its subject matter. This collection provides a solid place to begin one's explorations of pagan studies and--at the same time--addresses theoretical and methodological issues that will inform future discussions about the role of the academy in the study of contemporary religious traditions as well as the relevance of religion in contemporary societies. Contributions are all first-rate."-Stephen D. Glazier, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
12 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Academic Tedium 21 April 2005
By George Lundskow - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book typifies one of the problems in the social sciences today: endless banal banter about methodology. I have great respect for many of the scholars in this volume and cite their work often, but in this volume, they are at their worst. Collectively, these essays cover routine methodological issues in tedious detail, but issues that are also basic and which should be familiar to researchers. I can't imagine that anyone other than an academic could find this book at all interesting. As a researcher of (neo)paganism myself, I bought this to converse, in a sense, with colleagues I have never met, but these essays offer nothing new. They might be useful in an undergraduate research methods class, or the stuff of conversation over drinks at a professional conference, but not beyond that.
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