Past events

Reviewer Meets Reviewed: Believing in Belonging
Thursday 14 February 2013
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REVIEWER MEETS REVIEWED

SEMINAR SERIES AT THE BRITISH MUSEUM'S ANTHROPOLOGY LIBRARY AND RESEARCH CENTRE

Believing in Belonging: Belief and Social Identity in the Modern World

Thursday 14 February at 10.00 am (tea & coffee served from 9.30 am)

Anthropology Library and Research Centre, British Museum

THIS IS A FREE EVENT

The British Museum’s Anthropology Library and Research Centre, in conjunction with the Royal Anthropological Institute, is pleased to present the third seminar in the 2012-13 series of ‘Reviewer meets Reviewed’, a discussion between Dr Abby Day, author of ‘Believing in Belonging: Belief and Social Identity in the Modern World’, and Jonathan Benthall, who reviewed the book for the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute.

‘Believing in Belonging’ draws on empirical research exploring mainstream religious belief and identity in Euro-American countries. Starting from a qualitative study based in northern England, and then broadening the data to include other parts of Europe and North America, it explores how people ‘believe in belonging’, choosing religious identifications to complement other social and emotional experiences of ‘belongings’. The concept of ‘performative belief’ helps explain how otherwise non-religious people can bring into being a Christian identity related to social belongings.

What is often dismissed as ‘nominal’ religious affiliation is far from an empty category, but one loaded with cultural ‘stuff’ and meaning. The book introduces an original typology of natal, ethnic and aspirational nominalism that challenges established disciplinary theory in both the European and North American schools of the sociology of religion that assert that most people are ‘unchurched’ or ‘believe without belonging’ while privately maintaining beliefs in God and other ‘spiritual’ phenomena.

Bookings/enquiries: Ted Goodliffe ( TGoodliffe@britishmuseum.org)