The Discourse on Primal Religion

Disentangling Regimes of Truth

in Method & Theory in the Study of Religion
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This article presents a formalized way to distinguish different regimes of truth in the historiography of religion. By focusing on the nineteenth-century European discourse on the origins of humanity and its (primal) religion in Africa, I will show how narratives of the origin always oscillate between a scientific and a religious regime of truth. The article further outlines a possible method to formally differentiate between insider and outsider positions by redefining them as the assignment to a certain way of organizing a discourse or a semantic field according to a regime of truth. A discourse analysis and sociology of knowledge approach reveals possibilities to distinguish different constructions of insider perspectives by heuristically identifying codes, rarefactions, rules of formations, and regimes of truth.

The Discourse on Primal Religion

Disentangling Regimes of Truth

in Method & Theory in the Study of Religion



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See e.g. Bayart (2005) on the ambiguous role of missionaries in the creation of colonial myths.


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