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Book: Methods for the Study of Religious Change

Chapter: Chapter 4 Playing with Perspectives

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.24438


Chapter 4 discusses an underlying problem in these discussions, which is that very often the options regard two contrasting and exclusive positions. Thus the opposition is presupposed between science and religion, quantitative and qualitative approaches, neo-positivist and constructivist views of science, and many other sets of alternatives. Though the contrast is fuel for the debate engine, the arbitrariness of many standpoints must be acknowledged as well. As a way to deal with this aspect of the academic worldview, play is proposed as a way of dealing simultaneously with alternatives. This is not a plea for eclecticism, though it may result in such a position. However, the playful approach opens the possibility to better appreciate the other point of view. For example, in studying religion from a secular scientific perspective, the playful way of looking at phenomena can be fruitful. Using this “methodological ludism,” even a secular scholar may gain a more ample insight into what motivates a religious participant.

Chapter Contributors

  • André Droogers ( - book-auth-655) 'VU University, Amsterdam (Emeritus)'