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15 Jun 2012
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DescriptionReviewsContentsAuthors

Thomas Csordas's eloquent analysis of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal answers one of the primary callings of anthropology: to stimulate critical reflection by making the exotic seem familiar and the familiar appear strange. Csordas describes the movement's internal diversity and traces its development and expansion across 30 years. He offers insights into the contemporary nature of rationality, the transformation of space and time in Charismatic daily life, gender discipline, the blurring of boundaries between ritual and everyday life, the sense of community forged through shared ritual participation, and the creativity of language and metaphor in prophetic utterance. Charisma, Csordas proposes, is a collective self-process, located not in the personality of a leader, but in the rhetorical resources mobilized by participants in ritual performance. His examination of ritual language and ritual performance illuminates this theory in relation to the postmodern condition of culture.


Description

Thomas Csordas's eloquent analysis of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal answers one of the primary callings of anthropology: to stimulate critical reflection by making the exotic seem familiar and the familiar appear strange. Csordas describes the movement's internal diversity and traces its development and expansion across 30 years. He offers insights into the contemporary nature of rationality, the transformation of space and time in Charismatic daily life, gender discipline, the blurring of boundaries between ritual and everyday life, the sense of community forged through shared ritual participation, and the creativity of language and metaphor in prophetic utterance. Charisma, Csordas proposes, is a collective self-process, located not in the personality of a leader, but in the rhetorical resources mobilized by participants in ritual performance. His examination of ritual language and ritual performance illuminates this theory in relation to the postmodern condition of culture.


Reviews

'A timely, well-written contribution to our understanding of a number of important phenomena in the contemporary world, this is also a contribution to debates over concepts and methods in anthropological and related scholarship.' - Erika Bourguignon, Ohio State University, USA

'Csordas is so familiar with the [Roman Catholic Charismatic] movement that he is to a large extent able to overcome the typical problem of the ethnographer - the assertion that his or her research may not be generalizable beyond the local situation.' - Peter Stromberg, University of Tulsa, USA

'This study of the Catholic charismatic renewal succeeds in the difficult feat of speaking both to specialists in a cluster of scholarly disciplines and to the general reader.' - R. W. Rousseau, University of Scranton, USA


Contents

PART I: MEANING AND MOVEMENT
Building the Kingdom
Religion in the Postmodern Condition
PART II: HABITUS AND PRACTIVE
A Communitarian Ideal
Ritualization and Radicalization
Interlude
Toward a Rhetorical Theory of Charisma
PART III: METAPHOR AND PERFORMANCE
Ritual Language: Speaking the Kingdom
Prophetic Utterance and Sacred Reality
Epilogue
Creativity, Constraint, and the Sacred


Authors

THOMAS J. CSORDAS Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, San Diego, USA. He is the author of The Sacred Self: A Cultural Phenomenology of Charismatic Healing (1994) and Body/Meaning/Healing (2002), and editor of Embodiment and Experience: The Existential Ground of Culture and Self (2004) and Transnational Transcendence: Essays on Religion and Globalization (2009).