Oddział zamknięty? Socjologia contra antropologia w badaniach nad życiem klasztornym
Closed Ward? Sociology Versus Anthropology in Studies on Monastic Life
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The aim of the paper is to discuss the achievements, problems, and methodology of two trends in the research on early medieval monastery life: the anthropological paradigm (legal anthropology, or New Constitutional History) and the sociological approach to monastic life. The author asks questions about the research problems that individual paradigms deal with (e.g. the relations of power in monasteries, the issues of subjectivity and identity of monks); about the kind of approach to the cultural or social truth of medieval sources they postulate; and about the consequences for the perception of early medieval monasteries as closed or even total (Erving Goffman) institutions or for their filtering into the layman’s world. The author postulates that, just as monastery life in the Middle Ages was a form of a social and psychological experiment, the area of research on this phenomenon and its relations of power may now become a territory for testing concepts and theories derived from anthropology, sociology, or political science.
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