“Religious Communities as Plural Subjects?”

Rota, Andrea (22 June 2017). “Religious Communities as Plural Subjects?” (Unpublished). In: Panel The (De)Construction of Group Solidarity in Religious Communities. University of Zurich. Annual conference of the Swiss Sociological Association.

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The question of defining community represents a thorny issue in the sociology of religion. In our everyday parlance it is not unusual to say that a religious group has taken a public position on a given topic, that a Church has been involved in a scandal, or even that a community has certain beliefs. This kind of phrasing suggests some kind of agency, intentionality or "subjecthood" on the part of the community. With respect to this question, sociological theory has been torn between “individuaualist” approaches that seek to “reduce” communities to the summation of interlocking, individual actions, and holistic approaches which can give rise to dubious ontologies. Drawing on the work of scholars in the field of the philosophy of social phenomena (among others, John Searle) and on empirical data from an ongoing research project on Jehovah’s Witnesses, this paper explores the contribution of collective intentionality theories to this discussion. In particular, it sketches a frame for the analysis of religious communities as “plural subjects.”

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute for the Science of Religion
06 Faculty of Humanities > Other Institutions > Walter Benjamin Kolleg (WBKolleg) > Center for Global Studies (CGS)

UniBE Contributor:

Rota, Andrea


200 Religion
200 Religion > 210 Philosophy & theory of religion




Andrea Rota

Date Deposited:

15 Nov 2017 14:37

Last Modified:

25 Jul 2018 11:59



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