30 Pages

Introduction: The politics of religious experience

In the age of the ‘knowledge economy’ (Drucker [1968] 1969),1 experience has been returned to its central paradox of knowing between the inner and outer worlds. It has been drawn out of the safe territory of modern interiority into the perplexing world of late modern social uncertainty. It is for this reason that the idea of experience requires constant re-evaluation, because the context and ground of its articulation marks out the complex relation between knowledge, truth and power in each different social, political and historical situation. The framing of experience, both in its theoretical use and its practice in everyday language, provides the mechanisms for both empowerment and disenfranchisement. Indeed, the semantic territory of experience and its philosophical analysis is contested precisely because it offers the possibility of facilitating and restricting individual and social action and related forms of knowledge.