anthrocybib, The Anthropology of Christianity Bibliographic Blog, features an interview with Matthew Engelke, author of the new UC Press book, God’s Agents: Biblical Publicity in Contemporary England. The book is a study of how religion goes public in today’s world. Based on over three years of anthropological research, Matthew Engelke traces how a small group of socially committed Christians tackle the challenge of publicity within what they understand to be a largely secular culture.
Engelke discusses the inception of the project, his methodology, issues around ethnographic investigation, and much more. Here, he describes the book’s key contributions to the field:
I think for me one of the primary contributions is to the ethnography of the secular, actually. Because so much of what the Bible Society staff were thinking about was faith in relation to the secular, to secularization as they understood it, to the idea of a secular state as they understood it, to the idea of a secular societyas they understood it. For me it’s putting some color into the picture that we have of the work on secularization and secularity within anthropology and the human sciences. I want this to be a living, breathing account of how the different ways in which the secular shapes modern life get played out on a day-to-day basis.