The study of identity in narratives about religious experience
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Social constructivism, identity, individual religiosity, religious experience, mystical experience, religious institution, narrative, narrative interview, religious eclecticism

How to Cite

1. Шумкова В. The study of identity in narratives about religious experience // Journal of Frontier Studies. 2018. № 4. C. 110-121.


The following article is a result of empirical study conducted in 2017-2018. It is focused on narratives about religious experience, an outstanding intensive experience that individual interprets as a contact with transcendent reality. The object of our study are the ways the subjective reality of religious experience is transmitted into the language of everyday communication.

I have carried out a survey in order to find the respondents that believe they had a religious (mystical) experience. Next step I have conducted eight narrative interviews. For the present comparative analysis I have chosen two interviews from the corpus of collected data. The choice was designated by the respondents’ attitude to religion: an orthodox believer and a non-believer. The aim of the analysis is to compare how the respondents construct the narrative about religious experience and their identity. For this purpose I have examinde the general structure of the narratives; the notions of religious (mystical) experience and repertoires used; the categories connected to identification or opposition to social groups. All the above allows to define the implicit meaning of religious self-identification that respondents articulated.

The analysis of the examples demonstrates that individual religiosity resists the formal categorization. In the analyzed narratives the mystical experience can be described beyond religious context. The respondents give negative evaluation to religious institute and understand religious tradition as a resource that can be used pragmatically along with non-religious repertoires.
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