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IAHR congress ||| Paper

Lecture

Change we need. Dynamics in the History of Religions between semantics and Social forms

Volkhard Krech (CERES, KHK)

Social change in general is usually conceptualized as an ongoing process (e.g., as “modernization”). However, there could be no innovation if there was no continuity (e.g., “tradition”). The same holds true for the history of religions. It will be argued that the history of religions can be conceptualized best by considering the dialectics between process and structure, condensation and diffusion as well as dynamics and stability. The history of religions proceeds between these (and other) poles. The oscillation is based on the interplay between semantics and social forms. Free floating semantics are canalized in
special social forms (groups, currents, organizations), and social forms are legitimized by certain semantics.

This paper will be presented in panel Theorizing and Analyzing Religious Change (28-201 | 216)

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