Eye-glazing and the anthropology of religion: the positive and negative aspects of experiencing and not understanding an emotional phenomenon in religious studies research


  • Edward Dutton University of Oulu




This article will look at the phenomenon of 'eye-glazing' and the impact, both positive and negative, that this unsettling phenomenon, sometimes observed in religious studies research, has had on my own development as an anthropologist working with Evangelical groups. It will examine the experience of being unable to understand and structure a particular 'culture shock' in one's own research, focussing on eye-glazing, and will examine both the positive and negative consequences for the anthropologist from a personal perspective, placing its findings within the broader anthropological discussion. It will also aim to provide detailed descriptive examples of a fascinating phenomenon of which there has been relatively little discussion in the anthropology of religion.

Author Biography

Edward Dutton, University of Oulu

Edward Dutton completed his BA in Theology at Durham University, and was then a Guest Researcher at Leiden University, before writing his PhD thesis at Aberdeen University on the relationship between student Evangelical groups and liminality at universities. He lectures on the anthropology of religion at Oulu University in Finland. His research interests include Evangelical groups, modern rites of passage, and nationalism. He can be contacted at ecdutton(AT)hotmail.com.