Religião, conhecimento e racionalidade em igrejas africanas transnacionais

Religião, conhecimento e racionalidade em igrejas africanas transnacionais

Este projecto propõe uma linha de pesquisa assente nos conceitos de "conhecimento" e "racionalidade" em contextos religiosos. Usando como pano de fundo os debates acerca da oposição entre o conhecimento científico e religioso, e ainda os discursos sobre a hegemonia de "epistemologias ocidentais" em África, desenvolverei uma pesquisa que reflecte sobre a ideia de "cientificidade" e racionalidade do conhecimento e pensamento religioso. Esta proposta implica, portanto, a sua inserção numa linha de reflexão clássica na história da antropologia, que remete para os problemas da racionalidade e crença, discutidos desde as clássicas propostas de William James, Lucien Lévy-Bruhl, E.B. Tylor e Bronislaw Malinowski e retomadas por autores contemporâneos como Robin Horton, Stanely Tambiah, Talal Asad, Bruce Kapferer e muitos outros.

A minha contribuição para estes debates será feita através de pesquisa histórica e trabalho de campo com igrejas africanas (cristãs, proféticas, da região de Angola e Congo) nesse continente e em Portugal - a partir do pressuposto de que elas representam casos relevantes de "dialéctica" entre distintos regimes de conhecimento mediados por processos de mobilidade e migração. Utilizarei a minha pesquisa recente (e em progresso) sobre movimentos proféticos africanos - nomeadamente, a Igreja Tocoista de Angola - como ponto de partida.

A minha investigação seguirá duas linhas de reflexão: 1) os métodos de produção e transmissão de um conhecimento de carácter histórico e científico em contextos religiosos; e 2) as visões de mundo produzidas pela sua inserção e interacção no âmbito de enquadramentos mais gerais de pluralismo, ateísmo, etc. Analisarei os discursos e práticas destes agentes religiosos, e a criatividade e imaginação que os informa.

Estatuto: 
Entidade proponente
Financiado: 
Não
Keywords: 

Religião; Cristandade Africana; Conhecimento; Ciência  

 

Este projecto propõe uma linha de pesquisa assente nos conceitos de "conhecimento" e "racionalidade" em contextos religiosos. Usando como pano de fundo os debates acerca da oposição entre o conhecimento científico e religioso, e ainda os discursos sobre a hegemonia de "epistemologias ocidentais" em África, desenvolverei uma pesquisa que reflecte sobre a ideia de "cientificidade" e racionalidade do conhecimento e pensamento religioso. Esta proposta implica, portanto, a sua inserção numa linha de reflexão clássica na história da antropologia, que remete para os problemas da racionalidade e crença, discutidos desde as clássicas propostas de William James, Lucien Lévy-Bruhl, E.B. Tylor e Bronislaw Malinowski e retomadas por autores contemporâneos como Robin Horton, Stanely Tambiah, Talal Asad, Bruce Kapferer e muitos outros.

A minha contribuição para estes debates será feita através de pesquisa histórica e trabalho de campo com igrejas africanas (cristãs, proféticas, da região de Angola e Congo) nesse continente e em Portugal - a partir do pressuposto de que elas representam casos relevantes de "dialéctica" entre distintos regimes de conhecimento mediados por processos de mobilidade e migração. Utilizarei a minha pesquisa recente (e em progresso) sobre movimentos proféticos africanos - nomeadamente, a Igreja Tocoista de Angola - como ponto de partida.

A minha investigação seguirá duas linhas de reflexão: 1) os métodos de produção e transmissão de um conhecimento de carácter histórico e científico em contextos religiosos; e 2) as visões de mundo produzidas pela sua inserção e interacção no âmbito de enquadramentos mais gerais de pluralismo, ateísmo, etc. Analisarei os discursos e práticas destes agentes religiosos, e a criatividade e imaginação que os informa.

Objectivos: 
<p>Este projecto e investigação perseguirá os seguintes objectivos:</p><p>- Construir um corpo de dados empíricos sobre os temas alvo de investigação (movimentos cristãos africanos; religião na Angola contemporânea; migração e pluralismo cristão; cristianismo em Portugal, etc.) através de pesquisa qualitativa.</p><p>- Desenvolver uma colecção de referências bibliográficas sobre os tópicos de religião e ciência, de forma a produzir uma perspectiva histórica sobre os debates mencionados.</p><p>- Participar, através do estudo de caso em causa, em debates em curso na antropologia da religião e estudos sobre a ciência no que diz respeito a assuntos de conhecimento e crença.</p><p> </p>
State of the art: 
Recent debates in the anthropology of religion have stemmed from explicitly opposing heuristic and methodological views regarding its study and understanding. Namely, I am talking about an increasingly explicit opposition between a cognitive science approach - that focuses on the psychological and perceptive mechanisms that &lsquo;explain' religious behaviour - and a culturalist approach - that seeks to interpret religiosity in terms of broader social contexts (see Bloch 2009 for a recent approach on this divide). This difference could perhaps be phrased in terms of an opposition between efforts to &lsquo;explain' (Boyer 2002) and &lsquo;understand' or &lsquo;interpret' religion (Geertz 1966; or Asad 1983 on Geertz). Ultimately, this debate questions the validity of the anthropological science approach to religion, inasmuch as the cognitive religious studies, even when situating themselves as part of the anthropological discipline, search for universal psychological dispositions and accuse interpretive anthropology of being &lsquo;methodologically sloppy' (Whitehouse 2004), while apparently ignoring methodological relativism and suggesting pre-defined models to account for empirical phenomena - in what seems at a first glance to be contrary to the mainstream anthropological endeavour. One could argue that what is at stake here are quite opposing views of what &lsquo;anthropology as discipline' means. Be it as it may, the interesting fact about these debates is that they focus primarily on religious phenomena. &lsquo;Belief', &lsquo;experience', &lsquo;behaviour', &lsquo;memory', &lsquo;transmission' have become central concepts for the explanation and/or interpretation of religious experience, and simultaneously the loci for the heuristic opposition (see e.g. Whitehouse and Laidlaw 2004; Bloch 2005; Berliner and Sarr&oacute; 2008). <p>One immediate explanation for this could be that it is precisely in the religious sphere that forms of questioning, knowledge and, ultimately, rationality are debated. Both &lsquo;believing' and &lsquo;knowing' produce statements about the world and operate in paths towards &lsquo;truth'. Thus, the scientific approach to religion can also be understood as a way of provoking the questioning of method and statement. Yet, such an acknowledgement could also be interpreted as situating religiosity as irrevocably opposed to scientifism. Obviously, despite the recurrence of this opposition in public debates (e.g. regarding evolutionism, stem cell research, abortion or anti-conceptives, etc.), scholars of religion, as well as religious agents themselves, are well aware of the blurriness of this (nevertheless highly popular) fracture. Not only have we seen, throughout history, countless attempts of synthesis, merging, venture or conciliation between both spheres - from Averroes and Bah&aacute;'&iacute; Faith to the Buddhist Kalama Sutta, Theosophy, Kardecism, Scientology or more recent &lsquo;intelligent design' theories -, but also the scientific paradigm has been questioned (in particular by Thomas Kuhn and Michael Polanyi) in terms of being populated by conviction and belief (see also Nunes 2004). In anthropology, scholars have, since L&eacute;vy-Bruhl's Ethics and Moral Science (1905 [1902]) and Malinowski's Magic, Science and Religion (1948) also questioned the ambiguities of this frontier (i.e., the rationality of religious belief). Recently, we have seen a wide range of explorations in this topic - be it discussing the scientific approach to magic (Tambiah 1990), weighing religious and anthropological discourses on truth (Gellner 1992; see also Coleman 2008), studying the science of spirits (Hess 1991) or the rationality of &lsquo;irrational' religious practices (Palmi&eacute; 2002), demonstrating the ambiguity of the mutual exclusiveness of religion and science in key thinkers such as William James, Russell Wallace or Andrew Lang (Vasconcelos 2008)&nbsp; or addressing the &lsquo;critically repressed' condition of Christian theology in anthropology (Cannell 2006). These explorations in knowledge and belief - mediated by concepts of conviction (see Harding 2001; Lambek 2008) or meaning (Asad 1993; Tomlinson and Engelke 2006) - coincide in one problem: the rationality or &lsquo;logic' (or intuitiveness, see Sperber 1982; Boyer 1994; Bloch 2005 and others) of religious beliefs. </p><p>The focus proposed here will question: how religious people, even when positioning themselves discursively against the &lsquo;scientific truth', construct bodies of knowledge that are (apparently) dialectic to what is commonly perceived as &lsquo;scientific method'. In dialogue with Talal Asad (1993: 47 and ff.), I intend to question how &lsquo;religious knowledge' opposes, encompasses or assimilates a-religious scientific knowledge, proposing integrative or alternative (or rather, concomitant) models of rationality and methods of &lsquo;proof' (see Holbraad 2009), suggesting that in the production of certain regimes of knowledge, &lsquo;conviction' mediates belonging and, through the production of an epistemology (&lsquo;ways of knowing'), produces ontology (&lsquo;ways of being'). I am thinking, specifically, of four (interrelated) stances: </p><p>1) Methodology or how religious doctrine and practice produce &lsquo;proof', &lsquo;truth' and &lsquo;evidence' (Engelke 2009) through inquiry and research, invoking particular scientific (comparison, recurrence, induction, deduction, causality) or literary (exegesis, extrapolation) models and producing &lsquo;theory' or heuristic models. 2) Historicity or the way religious agents produce or negotiate an historical consciousness through methods of memory (Blanes 2009), invoking biography and historiography to suggest causality and demonstration, and also produce prediction. 3) Transmission: implicit or explicit modes of education and acquisition of religious ideas, concepts and routines that produce orthopraxy and orthodoxy (as well as creativity or imagination and heterodoxy - see Berliner and Sarr&oacute; 2008). 4) Pragmatics or the complex of communicational and active conditions that affect the individuals engaged in contexts and activities related to religious action. Namely, spatiality, materiality and the body (and senses), and the contexts of religious elaboration and action.</p><p>These stances are paths through which one finds, in religious contexts, &lsquo;alternative rationalities' - modes of production of evidence, proof, truth - that position themselves as symmetrical to scientific knowledge (see Horton 1967), be it through contestation, dialectic or encompassment. I believe that a good challenge to this theoretical framing is the context of migration and religious pluralism in multicultural settings, where religious agents (both those that arrive to a new religious setting and those who welcome foreign beliefs) are compelled to construct processes of reflexivity and recognition in the dialogue or &lsquo;conversation' (Comaroff and Comaroff 1991) between distinct forms of engaging (in) the world. It is precisely this process of reflexivity/recognition that is, I believe at the core of the production or revision of &lsquo;religious knowledge'. I am thinking more specifically in the context of African migrant churches and their recent involvement in the European religious landscape, which reconfigured perceptions of &lsquo;European Christianity' (Blanes and Sarr&oacute; 2008) while provoking novel understandings of &lsquo;African Christianity' and its place in the world both for African migrants in Europe and their homeland (Sarr&oacute; and Blanes 2009). With the migratory process - populated by &lsquo;double absences' (Sayad 1999), &lsquo;ideas of Africa' (see e.g. Mudimbe 1990, 1994) and belongings (Amselle 2001) - as background, religious subjects such as African Christians develop or renew their understandings of being in the world, and often transport them back and forth in the process of mobility. Such is the case, for instance, of African prophetic movements that are stemming &lsquo;out of Africa' (Palmi&eacute; 2007) and into Europe (see Sarr&oacute; and Blanes 2009). Churches such as Tokoism (Blanes 2008, 2009) and Kimbanguism (Eade and Garbin 2007, Sarr&oacute; 2008) were strongholds in previous theories pertaining politico-religious resistance to colonialism (Balandier 1963). Yet, in the postcolony, not only did they not disappear but reconfigured and transformed themselves into important religious actors in the Southern African region, as well as key examples of a &lsquo;southernised Christianity' (Jenkins 2002). In Portugal, for instance, both churches have been present since the early nineties. In the Tokoist case, for example, it was precisely from this country that a diasporic religious network developed throughout Europe. This presence (as in the Kimbanguist case) has provoked a double reaction in the protagonists: on the one hand, they question the religious setting they recognise in their new home; on the other, they are forced to re-think their own heritage by comparison. This in turn has produced two concomitant effects: the development of a &lsquo;migrant Tokoism' that is forced to deal with categories of &lsquo;integration', &lsquo;multiculturalism', etc., in a context of Roman Catholic (and, in a different level, secularised) predominance; and the self-perception, in the homeland, of the church as a &lsquo;universal venture' (Blanes 2009). As I have argued elsewhere (Blanes 2009b), one of the key factors in these prophetic reconfigurations has been the process of mobility that has led these churches into the European continent (see also Sarr&oacute; and Blanes 2009). </p><p>&nbsp;</p>
Parceria: 
Não Integrado
Coordenador 
Data Inicio: 
01/08/2010
Data Fim: 
01/03/2013
Duração: 
31 meses
Concluído