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Religious "Jewishness": Biographical narrative in a closed group


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"Religiosity" is one of the most popular and frequently used concepts in contemporary professional discourse of the sociology of religion. However, the study of this phenomenon is usually reduced to some quantitative surveys involving a multidimensional measurement model of religiosity or to polls concerning religious affiliation. Meanwhile, the content and structural components of religiosity of different groups elude the researcher's attention. Inclusion of biographical narratives in the methodological toolkit makes it possible to identify collective and individual components of religiosity. However, its use in studies of religious groups and actors involves a number of methodological difficulties, which are not always explained in corresponding manuals. This article offers a detailed analysis of the most complex aspects of the methodology of the biographical narrative: search for respondents, method of conducting such interviews, stages of interviewing. Each stage of explanation is illustrated by examples from the author's research of the religious Jews of St. Petersburg (2015). The analysis of biographical narrative procedures draws on the daily life of Jewish religiosity, the specific chronotope of its manifestations and the "us-them" disposition.



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Bibliographic Information

Ostrovskaya, Elena Religious "Jewishness": Biographical narrative in a closed group. Social Sciences. 2016: 89-98.  https://archive.jpr.org.uk/10.21557/SSC.48032573