Scepsis, veldwerk en de bestudering van hedendaags sjamanisme | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 20, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1385-1535
  • E-ISSN: 1875-7324


Scepsis, fieldwork and the study of contemporary shamanism

Scepsis, fieldwork and the study of contemporary shamanism

The author describes the way his first fieldwork experiences among contemporary shamanism in the Netherlands influenced his methodological stance in relation to his subject. His scepticism guided him towards moderate participation rather than active participation, concentrating on observation instead of participation. With the help of the conceptual framework of Bourdieu, he started to interpret the various forms of shamanism as products of people who take position in a specific field, wherein certain forms of capital are valued. His attention turned to their habitus, their self-legitimising imagination and the logic of their field. Ultimately, shamanism in the Netherlands became only a small part of his thesis, as his sceptical habitus guided him towards a genealogy of interpretations of shamanism. In this historical enterprise, academic interpreters are also contextualised within certain fields. Their habitus and self-legitimising imagination come into view because in academic as well as in religious fields, the real is relational.


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