Conceptualizations in previous research
In this article, I explore previous conceptualizations of ‘the paranormal’ within religious studies and the social sciences. Introducing some statistics on paranormal variables in Western populations, I argue that the empirical data make a strong case for future studies of paranormal variables, as well as warranting conceptual clarification. Sketching an outline of previous conceptualizations of ‘the paranormal’, I conclude that definitions tend to stress that purportedly paranormal phenomena transgress the boundaries of scientific explanation, as well as demonstrate a degree of tension towards both mainstream or institutionalized science and religion. Lastly, I present the main contribution of the article: an attempt at a new working definition of the term ‘the paranormal’ based on the conceptualizations reviewed, encompassing substantial and discursive components and, possibly, functional ones.
Copyright (c) 2020 Cristoffer Tidelius
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