Plotting Belonging: interrogating insider and outsider status in faith research


Katie Aston, Helen Cornish, Aimée Joyce


Fifteen years ago an outpouring of new academic material asserted the value of being an insider in religious research. Conventional assumptions that linked objectivity with outsider status were challenged. This valuable burst of scholarship worked hard to critique the kind of research that preceded it, where faith or identity was seen to compromise research values, and undermine integrity and rigour. This special edition interrogates the legacy of the shift towards practitioner-research with religious-spiritual-magical-secular communities, particularly, but not only, when research examines broader social, historical and political concerns as well as the processes of faith and belief. It examines some more experiential dynamics of research to consider how the insider/outsider debate plays out from the inside of the research process.

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