638.1 The value in using the extended case method for researching religion

Saturday, August 4, 2012: 9:00 AM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Oral Presentation
Zahraa MCDONALD , Sociology, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Michael Burawoy and his colleagues at Berkeley developed and demonstrated the value of the extended case method in Sociological research. The method is an attempt at increasing the efficacy of participant observation for Sociological theory. The work of Burawoy and his colleagues did however not focus on issues involving religion to a great extent. This paper describes a study conducted at an Islamic education institute for adolescent women in Johannesburg. The paper illustrates how, using the extended case method, it was possible to comment on broad processes related to the rationalisation of religion, even though only one institute constituted the site for data collection. At the same time the extended case method mitigated certain insider/outsider dynamics, making it, the paper argues, an ideal methodology to follow when qualitative methods, in particular participant observation is employed as a tool for data collection with respect to religion.