Paul Sorrentino's research aims at developing a pragmatic approach to religious practices based on a fine-grained ethnography that takes individuals‘ capacities for critique and judgement into account. This object and this approach constitute an entry to the study of Vietnamese society‘s transformations through the great changes that have occurred in the country in its recent history, i.e., colonization, wars of extreme violence, the creation of a socialist state, and the latter‘s conversion to a market economy. His previous work has focused on spirit possession and the relations between the living and the dead in Vietnam. His project at MPI-MMG opened the scope to the broader context in which these changes have occurred, and focused on the diverse negotiations surrounding rituals in Vietnam, where different forms of authority come into play at the crossroads of science, spirituality, and nationalism.
- Negotiating rituals in contemporary Vietnam (completed)