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Working Paper No. 15/2014

UCL Anthropology Working Papers Series


UCL Anthropology
University College London
14 Taviton Street, London
WC1H 0BW, U.K.

ISSN 1759-6688
Editorial Board: Lucio Vinicius, Luke Freeman

Working Paper No. 15/2014
Published online 27 January 2014
© Copyright rests with the authors

THE MINGLED SPIRIT OF THE BLENDED BODIES:
NON-DUALISM AND “THE CHURCH IN NOTTINGHAM”

GARETH BREEN

Dissertation submitted in 2012 for the BSc Anthropology

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ABSTRACT

In this dissertation I analyse the practices of a group of Christians living in Nottingham who cosmologically and pragmatically tie themselves in with an expanding worldwide Christian Group. I present their “vision” of the Body of Christ as a tangible, analysable reality. I argue that this socio-conceptual reality affords a “nondualistic” (Evens 2008) transfiguration of self and I explore the cosmological and practical contexts through which this transfiguration takes place, showing specifically how it is “imprisoned in [particular types of] action” (Evans-Pritchard 1937:82 in Evens 1982:384). I use my analysis to critique recent moves within the anthropology of Christianity which reduce Christian lives to overcoming the dualistic paradoxes of a “virtual” (Bialecki 2012) or a-contextual (Engelke 2010) research object. I reconsider “the embodiment paradigm” (Csordas 1990; Vilaça 2006) in light of “the Body” of which my informants enter into and become. Lastly, I attempt a modest nondualistic transfiguration of the recursive anthropological self (Holbraad 2012) in light of my ethnography. By comparing the praxis of my informants with recursive analysis I highlight the inescapability of self-sameness when anthropologically engaging with otherness and suggest using “evocation” not as a tool of representation per se but in order to “capture” more otherness for the on-going recursive transformation of the analytical self.


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