Buddhism, Business and Believers
The objective of the collaborative research project Buddhism, Business and Believers is to inquire into contemporary relations between business and Buddhism through bridging language-based area studies, religious studies, anthropology and economics.
The aim is to gain novel insights into the manner that Buddhism mediates value within the exchanges of materiality and spirituality, opening up a new field of research approaching the correlation between religion and economics through triangulating the concepts of exchange, value and materiality. The aim is to explore how Buddhism as an emic concept is employed within the various contexts in which religious goods and services are bought and sold while paying attention to possible contradictions, contentions and contentment with Buddhist economic activity.
We focus on how Buddhism mediates distinctions between virtue and value, spirituality and materiality, gifts and commodities – and therefore also subscribes meaning to objects, actions and human relations: How does ‘Buddhism’ mediate value and meaning through economic exchanges? In other words: When are economic practices deemed ‘Buddhist’ and how does this contribute to the legitimacy and value of the people involved, the objects traded and the spiritual spaces where economic activities take place?
The first phase of the international collaborative research project Buddhism, Business and Believers was funded by the Danish Council for Independent Research | Humanities (Feb. 2016 – Aug. 2020).
Additionally, three projects that are organised under the BBB-umbrella have received external funding: The Carlsberg Foundation has granted funding towards a post. doc. position for Elizabeth Williams Ørberg (Sept. 2015—Feb. 2018) and The European Commission has granted funding towards a post. doc. position for Jane Caple as part of a Marie Skłodowski-Curie Research Fellowship (Sept. 2017—August 2019) and a post. doc. position for Yasmin Cho as part of a Marie Skłodowski-Curie Research Fellowship (September 2019—August 2021).
While the first phase of the collaborative project Buddhism, Business and Believers (2015–2020) examines the entangled relations between Buddhism and economy, and how Buddhism mediates value and meaning through economic exchanges, the second phase (commencing in September 2020) will investigate the waste that these exchanges produces.