Inadvertent offence: when ‘a little knowledge is a dangerous thing’

Maree Gruppetta

in Religion, spirituality and the social sciences

Published by Policy Press

Published in print September 2008 | ISBN: 9781847420411
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447303190 | DOI:
Inadvertent offence: when ‘a little knowledge is a dangerous thing’

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This chapter reflects on the lived results of working within a disciplinary tradition that marginalises religious knowledge. It also discusses the ways researchers and practitioners can inadvertently offend those with specific faith identities. In researches involving faith communities, there are ethical guidelines that must be heeded. Only through heeding these ethical guidelines can dilemmas be avoided and resolved. However, not all of these issues can be addressed so easily. Issues which are categorised as ‘macro’ issues are formalised and standardised issues within the faith traditions. These include food requirements, dress code, and appropriate terminology. These types of issues can be easily addressed as they can be researched in advance. Micro issues or the ‘day-to-day’ practices of religiosity on the other hand are quite difficult to address as they vary dramatically within faith traditions and they are not well documented. The chapter also includes a number of examples of micro issues that were at the centre of incidents of inadvertent offence.

Keywords: religious knowledge; faith communities; ethical guidelines; disciplinary tradition; faith identities; inadvertent offence; faith traditions

Chapter.  5280 words. 

Subjects: Sociology of Religion

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