This article proposes an interpretational strategy allowing us to study religious plurality in a variety of institutions based on the case of penal institutions. The matrix is a synthesis of various recommendations shared by many researchers working on religion in public institutions. To get beyond an approach limiting itself to an institutional, or even organisational, definition of the religious and its representatives and to take the importance of the power issues permeating it in this context into account, the author looks at three aspects: focusing on the religion of various people present in the institution; paying attention to the material and spatial arrangements; taking the ‘symbolic’ dimension of the institution studied into account; from a methodological point of view, making room for an ethnographic approach. Such an approach allows us to grasp the religious in the institution’s ‘grey areas’. This concept is defined and illustrated by the Swiss case.
Social Compass: Revue Internationale de Sociologie de la Religion/ International Review of Sociology of Religion – SAGE
Published: Jun 1, 2018
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