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Religence: conceptualising posthuman religion

Scott, Michael W. ORCID: 0000-0002-2301-6924 (2024) Religence: conceptualising posthuman religion. Social Anthropology. ISSN 1469-8676

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Identification Number: 10.3167/saas.2024.022003


In this article I contribute to posthuman anthropology by developing two lines of thought. I first suggest that the post-Cartesian ontology integral to posthumanism accommodates a new scientifically informed version of apophatic, or negative theology. As a form of relational nondualism, posthuman ontology affords conceptualisation of an incomplete and unknowable god intimated in the performances of all things. I then explore how this new negative theology implies a posthuman religion. By unpicking the etymological threads of Michel Serres’s reconceptualisation of religion as the opposite of negligence and engaging with efforts to build on this thought by Tim Ingold and Bruno Latour, I develop a theory of posthuman religion I call religence. With the innovation of this term, I bring posthuman religion into view and, to show how religence may be approached anthropologically, I draw on Anna Tsing’s ‘critical description’ of the interdependence between Tricholoma fungi and pine trees. Religence, I conclude, is best understood not as a single pervasive and unchanging mode of relating that can eliminate negligence, but as a plurality of provisional and shifting religence-negligence complexes.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2023 The Author
Divisions: Anthropology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Date Deposited: 05 Feb 2024 15:18
Last Modified: 01 Apr 2024 08:40

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