Afterword: Configuring interiors

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    A key step in any comparative analysis of these dynamics is to pay close attention to fractally recursive relations, in which “a distinction repeats a pattern within itself” (Abbott 2001: 9). Russian Orthodoxy is reconfigured as a “life choice” with “sins” newly identified; Iranian Muslim women develop their ability to concentrate in prayer; ultra-Orthodox Jewish authorities embrace therapy and clamp down on the Internet; Lutheran missionaries gradually redefine what counts as vernacular. The cultivation of interiority takes place in a world of hard benches, cold train cars, and icy pavement; and also in a series of refusals, things resolutely kept outside, like alcohol, sausages offered by the well-meaning anthropologist, and a free ride on a bus which, despite the priests’ reassurances that it will not cheapen the pilgrimage, is rejected by elderly pilgrims who seem about to collapse. Haeri notes that the generic division between formulaic, five-times-a-day Islamic prayers and spontaneous, informal prayers should not be overstated, as both require a sincere approach manifest in concentration.1 Moreover, her interlocutors observe that a formulaic prayer will change its meaning day by day as contexts shift. For the ultra-Orthodox Jews in New York described by Ayala Fader, the exterior is clearly identified, ever-pressing, and decidedly threatening: it is the goyish world “off the path” of Jewish faith, represented most urgently by the Internet. In attending to interior and exterior to refine understandings of such terms and concepts as sincerity and subjectivity, they show how each term and concept is employed by particular...
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)229-233pp
    JournalHAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory
    Volume7
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2017

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