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ReligionMaterial Dynamics$
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David Chidester

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780520297654

Published to California Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520297654.001.0001

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(p.152) 12 Mobility

David Chidester

University of California Press

This chapter recalls how one theorist and historian of theory in the study of religion, Walter H. Capps, wrestled with the problem of religious change. Capps focused his research on studying the dynamics of contemporary religious change against the background of changing narratives of the history of the study of religion. At a meeting of the International Association for the History of Religions in 1973 in Finland, Capps delivered a paper in which he combined these interests by suggesting new ways to understand the “second-order tradition” of the study of religion and calling for new attention to dynamic processes of change in studying religion. Beginning with this presentation, this chapter examines how Capps imagined new ways of narrating the history of the study of religion that were characterized by dynamism, multiplicity, and flexibility and how he developed a theory of change based on the oscillation of binary oppositions.

Keywords:   binary oppositions, change, dynamism, Finland, history of the study of religion, International Association for the History of Religions, kinetics, mobility, oscillation, Walter H. Capps

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