Limits of Religious Analogy: The Example of Celebrity
Focusing on celebrities is often compared to a religious behavior, be it by the actors when describing their own practices or by scholars when using analogies with â€œcultâ€, â€œsacralizationâ€ or â€œsanctificationâ€. Such comparisons appear to be both obvious and hardly convincing, since they merely evoke, without analyzing or explaining. Moreover, they ignore the normative effectsâ€”be they positive or negativeâ€”produced by any kind of religious analogy. This paper proposes several paths toward a reasoned use of comparison with religion: extending comparison to differences and not only to resemblances; passing from â€œreligionâ€ in general to the plurality of religions; deconstructing the said â€œreligiousâ€ phenomenon into several functions depending on contexts; replacing discontinuous categories by continuous typologies and, finally, â€œreligionâ€ conceived as an original matrix by â€œreligionâ€ conceived as a contextual configuration. â€œReligionâ€ thus appears as a common sense notion rather than as a conceptual instrument, and analysis may then fully develop without being restricted by religious analogies, while comparison may be used as a real tool.
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