Home and Exile: Dancing in the Mess of Contradictions

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This is a meta-reflection on the methodological and epistemological challenges of doing ethnographic theology in a context outside the church or religious communities. Particularly, it argues that in a multi- or inter-disciplinary setting theologians are placed in a precarious position when it comes to use of language, theories and concepts if they want to speak simultaneously to the people they encounter in the field and to their "own"scientific community. The article asks how a researcher can do theology in a secular environment without doing violence towards ones interlocutors and still be considered to "belong"in the theological community? Based on the lived experiences of ongoing research and particularly concerning the gathering and telling the stories of Women in the Natural sciences, the author weaves together Eileen Campbell-Reed's and Sarah Coakley's methodological frameworks in order to present her own method of contemplative dance. The author uses rich metaphors and the sensory experience of "Home"and "Exile"in relationship to the movements in a foot to bring forth her embodied insights about dancing in the messy entanglement of ethnographic research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to) 474-489
JournalOpen Philosophy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jun 2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Ethnographic research
  • Systematic Theology
  • Dance
  • feminist philosophy
  • Contemplative studies
  • embodied learning
  • Practical Theology
  • multidisciplinary research


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