Focus Group 'Transfer & Resistance'

The members of the focus group 'transfer & resistance' tried to identify and describe modes of religious transfer from the perspective of semantics and cognition. Prerequisites and repercussions of these modes were analysed as well. One question was how imported elements are translated - linguistically, but also culturally and medially. The other question was how imported elements are integrated with existing religious features. Together with these techniques of adoption, we discussed forms of resistance and their effects on religious dynamics.

Complementing Focus Group 'Dynamics & Resistance'

Via its focus on semantic-cognitive aspects of religious transfers focus group 'transfer & resistance' complemented focus group 'inclusion & demarcation', which rather concentrated on sociological aspects of said processes. There were several connections to the focus groups 'secret' and 'dynamics & stability', both regarding the underlying theoretical framework and certain concepts, e. g. blanket space.

The late cultural theory of Lotman has proved to be a viable theoretical and conceptual framework for describing religious transfers. Especially the concept schema turned out be a useful tool which allows to bridge approaches like cultural blending, metaphor theory, and anthropological theories.

Schemata as Key Concept

Because schemata map patterns of cognition and behaviour shared by groups and thereby condense religious symbols, they determine the reception of new data. At the same time, the schemata themselves are prone to constant modification and adaption, which enables them to represent both continuity and change. Differentiating between schemata and their underlying linguistic or iconographic texts grants access to the phenomena of appropriation and propagation overlaying each other – and to their failure and forms of deliberate resistance.