Kupari, “Lifelong minority religion: routines and reflexivity: A Bourdieuan perspective on the habitus of elderly Finnish Orthodox Christian women”

Kupari, Helena. 2015.Lifelong minority religion: routines and reflexivity: A Bourdieuan perspective on the habitus of elderly Finnish Orthodox Christian women. Religion DOI:10.1080/0048721X.2015.1104397

Abstract: Applications of the concept of habitus to research on religion have increased in recent decades. At present, Pierre Bourdieu’s interpretation of the concept is perhaps the most well known. Nevertheless, it has also met with criticism. This article utilizes Bourdieuan theorizations to discuss the habitus of elderly Finnish Orthodox Christian women. The author examines the women’s dispositions in relation to their changing minority position within Finnish society, and identifies the dynamic between reflexivity and routine practice as being central to their religion. The analysis demonstrates the value of Bourdieu’s understanding of habitus when studying the long-term effects of social power on subjectivity – as reflected, for instance, in lifelong minority religion. The author argues, moreover, that contrary to the claims of many critics, Bourdieu’s approach is suitable for inquiries into the conscious dimensions of practicing, in so far as these are conceived of as grounded in individuals’ past and present conditions of religious practice.

Sissons, “The Polynesian Iconoclasm: Religious Revolution and the Seasonality of Power”

Sissons, Jeffrey. 2014. The Polynesian Iconoclasm: Religious Revolution and the Seasonality of Power. New York: Berghahn Books.

Publisher’s Description: Within little more than ten years in the early nineteenth century, inhabitants of Tahiti, Hawaii and fifteen other closely related societies destroyed or desecrated all of their temples and most of their god-images. In the aftermath of the explosive event, which Sissons terms the Polynesian Iconoclasm, hundreds of architecturally innovative churches – one the size of two football fields – were constructed. At the same time, Christian leaders introduced oppressive laws and courts, which the youth resisted through seasonal displays of revelry and tattooing. Seeking an answer to why this event occurred in the way that it did, this book introduces and demonstrates an alternative “practice history” that draws on the work of Marshall Sahlins and employs Bourdieu’s concepts of habitus, improvisation and practical logic.