Esoterogeni og aktiv forskjellsdannelse
Religion og identitetsskapning, i Stillehavet og andre steder
Esoterogeny and the creation of difference: Religion and identity making, in the Pacific and elsewhere
Taking its cue from Marx’ and Weber’s grand theorizing, a key narrative in Western modernity has been the inevitable dissolution of pre-modern identities. This thesis has informed both policy making and notions of global agency, and in effect caused a particular worldview in which everyone will become more or less the same – what I refer to as the Star Trek-vision of globalized culture and values. In this article, I borrow the linguistic concept of ‘esoterogeny’, the creation of the obscure, to address whether difference, far from being coincidental, serves a more fundamental experiential purpose and consequently is actively maintained. The empirical point of departure are church fissions and denominational dynamics in the Pacific island state of Vanuatu. I argue that in an age characterized by identity politics, in which recognition and attention are scarce resources, all keen observers of social systems should expect the outcome of ever more global interaction to lead to an increase in articulations of social and cultural difference.
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