September 27, 2015

Lived Religion: Part 1

Religious Studies often distinguishes religion as preached and religion as lived, in the sense that some aspects of religion are contained in static, literary and dogmatic forms, where others are experienced directly by the individual, and imply the mind, the body, faith and practices as interconnected phenomena. In her most recent book, Dr. Meredith McGuire shows how Lived Religion, a concept she has coined, is at the core of this distinction and offers a way of understanding religious experiences as creative, innovative and often unique enactment of power. This can be seen, as shown in one chapter of her book, within gendered spiritualities, as much as in the way she approaches the object of her studies.

In this interview, McGuire draws on her vast experiences on the field to talk about how religion is an embodied phenomenon that ultimately can’t be separated from the cognitive and the social. She also touches on issues of authenticity, normativity and authority in religious and ritual contexts, as well as important methodological aspects of her research.

This is Part 1 of a one hour conversation between Martin and Meredith. Part 2 will be published on Wednesday. You can also download this interview, and subscribe to receive our weekly podcast, on iTunes. If you enjoyed it, please take a moment to rate us . And remember, you can use our,, or links to support us at no additional cost when buying academic texts, incense sticks, light bulbs and more! Listeners might also be interested in our previous podcasts on The Changing Nature of Religion, Believing in Belonging, and Religious Experience.


2 replies to “Lived Religion: Part 1

  1. Mark Donato

    I love this podcast. Thank you! At the end of this one, you mention Mircea Eliade in a disparaging way and I hear dismissive things said about Eliade in academic circles. What is the issue with Eliade? I read some of his work as texts for my religious studies coursework 20+ years ago. Could you sum up the criticisms?


    1. David Bell

      Eliade is now considered a ‘perrenialist’ who believed there was some sui generis essence to religion, and thus hsi argument that humans are by nature religious, means that ‘reliigon’ is something uniquely real across all cultures and times.


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