Publication details

Experiments in local context: Hindu puja alleviates anxiety



Year of publication 2021
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description Localized manifestations of religious behavior, be they on central or peripheral areas, are of the primary importance for social study of religion. The aims of such an endeavor may be either to describe the patterns of behavior in its full richness or contribute to understanding of distant phenomena based on generalized patterns. Informed by the experimental research of anxiety and ritual behavior in the local Hindu culture of Mauritius, I will argue that sociologists seeking to uncover such a comparative patterns can indeed be empowered by hypotheses driven experimental setup of research. Experimenting in local places necessarily demands prior observations and contacts established at the site not dissimilar to those mastered by sensitive qualitative researcher. In fact, experimental research, if conducted with methodological rigor and with all ethical consideration in mind, demands step that are well known to all qualitative- oriented social researchers, but on the top of that also the expertise of experimentalist. So why bother with extra work? The presentation argues that merits of such work can be grasped under the purview of sociological method. It is the possibility of postulation of middle-ranged theory on societal-, ecological-, group- or physiological level with a predictive power that adds on the top of the knowledge obtained by a qualitative work. And that is far too promising to be ignored.
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