Contemporary Encounters in Gender and Religion: European by Lena Gemzöe, Marja-Liisa Keinänen, Avril Maddrell

By Lena Gemzöe, Marja-Liisa Keinänen, Avril Maddrell

The fields of gender and spiritual reviews have frequently been criticized for neglecting to have interaction with each other, and this quantity responds to this dearth of interplay by means of putting the fields in an intimate discussion. Taking a multi-disciplinary strategy and drawing on feminist scholarship, the publication undertakes theoretical and empirical explorations of relational and co-constitutive encounters of gender and faith. via different views, the chapters handle 3 interrelated issues: faith as perform, the connection among non secular perform and faith as prescribed by way of formal spiritual associations, and the feminization of faith in Europe.

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Western ideas of religion tend to emphasize formal beliefs (which is one reason that “primitive” societies, which usually did not emphasize doctrine, were often seen as not having religion). Yet when I was doing my early fieldwork in Greece, I was seldom asked what I believed. Rather, villagers usually asked, what do you do? What do you do when someone dies? Do you have baptism? Do you have saints’ days? Do you fast? 8 For them, their practices rooted them firmly in the Greek Orthodox faith, just as Bosnian Muslim women’s “orthopraxis” was the central component of their religious identity.

Thus this movement is both about gender in the social sense—women in their roles as women—and gender in the conceptual sense—as aspects of human nature and indeed of the cosmos. But what would a religion without gender look like, if, indeed, such a religion were possible? Does such a religion exist? Can it exist? A genderless religion—if one were to conceptualize it—would not have different religious roles for men and women, nor religious rules or injunctions that applied differentially to men and women.

Her chapter investigates how young women with different religious backgrounds and sexual identities negotiate their religious belonging in response to the secularism of British society. Also Fedele and Knibbe’s chapter deals with a reconceptualization of gender and sexuality, but in contemporary spiritualities in various Catholic contexts. Here, the practitioners are facing a different challenge. Their spiritual practices are assumed to function as liberating and empowering, but, as the authors show, this is not always the case.

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