Stories, Senses and the Charismatic Relation: A Reflexive Ethnography of Christian Experience (Routledge, 2020) offers a uniquely intimate and auto-ethnographic exploration of Christian experience, rendering a deep, phenomenological account of how devotional worlds become real – how they are experienced, shaped, constituted and performed by those who live them.
The book starts from a reflexive exploration of the author’s own experiences of the divine, considers the spiritual journeys of family members and the ‘spiritual community’ of which he was a part, and draws on ethnographic fieldwork in the southern Balkans where that community was based. Jamie Barnes considers three main elements: firstly, the role that sensory aspects of experience play in constituting one’s lived world and one’s ideas about the kinds of beings inhabiting it; secondly, how stories and metaphors are tactically employed, not only in the process of expressing aspects of past experience but also in shaping and forming both desired worlds and future pathways; thirdly, how such sensed, narrated and lived worlds are tentatively held together – in hope, trust and love – through charismatic relationships of devotion with a divine Other.
Tiatemsu Longkumer is a Ph.D. scholar working on ‘Anthropology of Religion’ at North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong: India.
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