GENDER IN RELIGION? RELIGION IN GENDER? COMMENTARY ON THEORY AND RESEARCH ON GENDER AND RELIGION

Katarzyna Leszczyńska, Katarzyna Zielińska

Abstract


In recent years the concept of gender has become one of the key categories used in social sciences and in the field of religious studies and its varied dimensions (see: Avishai, Jafar, Rinaldo 2015; Calef 2009; Joy 2010; Woodhead 2007). According to Morny Joy (2010), as well as Afshan Jafar, Rachel Rinaldo and Orit Avishai (2015), we can point to special features and connotations of the concept of gender in this research. Therefore, gender is often understood in research on religion as a descriptive and historical category. This means that it depicts particular life situations of women (rarely men) in the context of religion, including their religious experiences, religious practices in everyday life and at varied levels of religious order (cultural, individual and institutional ones).1 Gender in this interpretation serves not as an abstract tool of sociological analysis, but as an empirical and very essentialist category (Joy 2010). It implies that the concept of gender describes the fates of a concrete community of religious women (and this community is understood as a homogenous and biological one), rather than patterns of the practices reproducing gender rules regardless of the anatomical sex of the social actors following them. 




DOI: https://doi.org/10.7494/human.2016.15.3.7-17

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