The Insider/Outsider Debate
Russell McCutcheon’s The Insider-Outsider Problem, written in 1999, tends to be regarded as the definitive work on the topic, and relatively little has been written since then. It has become apparent, however, that the distinction between “insiders” and “outsiders” is unduly simplistic, and that there exists a range of stakeholders in religious and spiritual movements with different positionings and testimonies requiring evaluation.
This volume furthers the discussion of insider/outsider issues by commissioning a variety of new essays from an international group of scholars, discussing a number of points that stem from the different positionings of religious adherents as well as scholars. The questioning of these boundaries has many implications for numerous methodological issues in the study of religion, such as the emic/etic distinction, the distinction between religion and spirituality, the notions of “believing without belonging”, the claim to be “spiritual but not religious” and the existence of multiple, complicated, contesting religious identities. A particular focus of the volume will be in providing critiques of these methodological issues within the most recent academic approaches to religion - particularly models of lived and vernacular religion.
Unlike McCutcheon’s volume, which is a collection of previously published essays, this proposed volume consists entirely of new material, drawn from an international range of scholars, spanning a variety of disciplines and approaches to the study, including ethnography, anthropology, theology and education. The book is accessible and readable, while remaining scholarly.
Published: Oct 1, 2019