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Editorial notices


journal for qualitative research

ISSN 1211-5770
Registration code MK ČR: E 8364
Published by the civil association Casopis Biograf
Krompach 26, 47157
ICO: 27003213
Two issues per year.
Editor-in-chief: Barbora Spalová (

Text detail

Biograf 2018/67

Who has a key to the black box? : Exploring mind in the anthropology of contemporary spirituality

Kateřina Horská; Jakub Novák

Who has a key to the black box? : Exploring mind in the anthropology of contemporary spirituality

This paper addresses two basic issues, the first being the problem of cooperation between anthropology and psychology, while the second pertains to the role of materialism in the inquiry into spiritual experiences, i.e. whether materialistic explanation of mental states and processes should become an integral part of anthropology. We consider an interdisciplinary approach to understanding religion indeed to be desirable; however, the specific nature of cooperation between anthropology and psychology remains an open question, especially in terms of the role anthropology should play therein. We also reject the notion that such cooperation must necessarily take the form of a materialistic explanation of mental processes and, by extension, of social reality – we point out that the exact nature and implications of materialism in relation to human mind are far from conclusively settled. We also address the question of whether the adoption of materialistic ontology is a necessary condition of the scientific approach and whether the scientific perspective forces us to shun the possibility that the emic concepts of the supernatural, “other reality”, or spiritual beings have their real counterparts in the outside world. We also discuss what makes contemporary occulture specific in this regard.


Anthropology, materialism, mind, spirituality, neo-shamanism, psychology, spirits.

Associated with texts:

BUŽEKOVÁ, T. (2018): „Čierna skrinka“ antropologického výskumu: Niekoľko poznámok k bádaniu súčasnej spirituality [„Black box“ of the anthropological research: Comments on the study of contemporary spirituality]. Biograf, 67-68: Available at

Biograf themes:

Religiosity, spirituality, religious communities; Methodology of qualitative research; Anthropology and ethnography


HORSKÁ, K. / NOVÁK, J. (2018): Kdo má klíč od černé skříňky?: Ke zkoumání mysli v antropologii současné spirituality[Who has a key to the black box?: Exploring mind in the anthropology of contemporary spirituality]. Biograf, 67-68: 71-81. Available at [last access22. 01. 2021]

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