Polemical Comparisons in Discourses of Religious Diversity: Conceptual Remarks and Reflexive Perspectives
Keywords:Comparisons, polemics, postcolonial scholarship, comparative religion, history of religion, religious diversity, conceptual history
Using comparisons to disparage others is a technique we all know from everyday life. In discourses of religious diversity, such polemical comparisons also play a prominent role in the making and unmaking of inter- and intra-religious boundaries and hierarchies. Linking polemical comparisons to more general methodological questions, this conceptual piece provides an analytical framework for the different case studies to follow. It takes up the call for a “double hermeneutics” in addressing comparing both as historical and scholarly practice. By adopting such a reflexive perspective, the analysis of polemical comparisons is situated at the interstices between emic and etic perspectives on the religious field. I briefly outline the current state of debate on comparisons in general and in religious studies in particular and situate polemical comparisons within these debates. I then move on to provide a typology of polemical comparisons, proposing some basic terms and perspectives for studying such comparisons in different constellations.
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Copyright (c) 2020 Christina Brauner
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