Questioning the boundaries of ‘religious’ and ‘non-religious’ actions and meanings

Authored by: Carlo Genova

Routledge International Handbook of Religion in Global Society

Print publication date:  November  2020
Online publication date:  November  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138182509
eBook ISBN: 9781315646435
Adobe ISBN:


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Believing, belonging and behaving are often considered as three fundamental aspects of the relationship between individuals and religion. Moreover, a close connection among them is often established: belonging to a religion entails believing in a doctrine, which requires specific forms of behaviour. Thus individual religious practices and involvement in collective religious rites are often seen as a direct result of doctrinal prescriptions. But can this connection be taken for granted? Is it instead possible that individuals involved in these forms of action, usually intended as ‘religious,’ attribute to them meanings that go beyond the boundaries of the religious? The chapter aims at reflecting upon this question, on the basis of the most recent research into prayer, religious rites, pilgrimage and religious tourism carried out in different territorial contexts.

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