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Religions 2018, 9(9), 261;

Worldview Analysis in a Comparative Context: Fishing for Data in Muddy Waters

Department for the Study of Religions and Environmental Program, Wake Forest University, 3400 Wake Forest Drive, Winston-Salem, NC 27109, USA
Received: 20 June 2018 / Revised: 17 August 2018 / Accepted: 22 August 2018 / Published: 3 September 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ethnographies of Worldviews/Ways of Life)
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Drawing on the five-fold revision of the concept of “worldview” offered by the issue editors, I investigate whether some nonreligious modes of cultural production might be profitably investigated using such a typology. In my comparative study of religious and secular sustainability-oriented social movements I offered skeletal definitions of the categories “religion” and “sustainability,” and suggested ways in which public deployments of such terms might offer fertile ground for collaboration between individuals and groups with different value sets. In more recent work among particular rock music and festival scenes, I have found it necessary to offer a dramatically different understanding of the category “religion.” In a sort of thought experiment, I imagine whether the revised concept of “worldview” might be applicable, and indeed whether it offers some advantage over the category “religion.” My conclusions are that in general, in some cases the category of worldview may have some advantages, but it may also gloss over or ignore important cultural contestations over terms such as religion, and at best underplay important affective activators of belonging and identity. The notion of “ways of life,” or “lifeways” may offer a term which avoids some ethnocentric impositions, but would require greater elaboration to be broadly useful to ethnographers. View Full-Text
Keywords: worldview; religion; sustainability; jam band worldview; religion; sustainability; jam band

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Johnston, L.F. Worldview Analysis in a Comparative Context: Fishing for Data in Muddy Waters. Religions 2018, 9, 261.

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