Social formations of wonder: anthropology and awe

Jaap Timmer (Editor), Matt Tomlinson (Editor)

Research output: Book/ReportEdited Book/Anthologypeer-review


What can wonder engender in terms of religious, political, and broader social practice? Thinkers from Plato to Martin Heidegger and Cornelius Castoriadis; surrealists such as André Breton and Pierre Mabille; and most recently the religious philosopher Mary-Jane Rubenstein have all explored the ways that wonder is not articulated once and for all, but continuously worked upon. This book engages with anthropological explorations of wonder, responding to recent work by Michael W. Scott in order to bring the weight, colour, scent and sound of real ethnographic encounters to new ways of thinking about wonder. The question for contributors is how wonder works as an index of challenges to the known, the moral, the true, and the real. The case studies reveal how probing wonder can bring us closer to understanding the formation of social institutions as various ‘modalities of wonder’ destabilize old forms and articulate new ones.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon ; New York
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor and Francis Group
Number of pages139
ISBN (Print)9781138393844
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

First published as Journal of Religious and Political Practice 3(3), 2017.


  • anthropology
  • wonder


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