Posts Tagged ‘Brazil’

Dengah, “How Religious Status Shapes Psychological Well-being”

May 27, 2014

Dengah, H. J. François.  2014. How Religious Status Shapes Psychological Well-being: Cultural Consonance as a Measure of Subcultural Status among Brazilian Pentecostals.  Social Science and Medicine.  Early online publication.

Abstract: Research on subjective social status has long recognized that individuals occupy multiple social hierarchies, with socioeconomic status (SES) being but one. The issue, as such, has been to identify culturally meaningful measures of social status. Through cognitive anthropological theory and methods, I show that it is possible to identify multiple cultural models of “status,” and objectively measure an individual’s level of adherence, or consonance, with each—effectively placing them within the multidimensional space of social hierarchies. Through a mixed qualitative and quantitative study of 118 Brazilian Pentecostals carried out from 2011-2012, I show that dominant and limitedly-distributed cultural models of status operate simultaneously and concurrently in the lives of those who hold them. Importantly, each marker of cultural status moderates the other’s association with psychological well-being. I argue that the importance of a given social hierarchy is framed by cultural values. For Brazilian Pentecostals, their limitedly distributed model of religious status alters the influence of more dominant societal indicators on psychological well-being. The interaction between religious and secular lifestyle statuses on psychological health is stronger than the association of SES, effectively explaining 51% of the variance. This finding suggests that among some populations, limitedly distributed cultural models of status may be a dominant force in shaping measures of well-being.

Selka, “Black Catholicism in Brazil”

April 15, 2014

Selka, Stephen.  2014.  Black Catholicism in Brazil.  Journal of Africana Religions 2(2): 287-295.

Abstract: Studies of Afro-Brazilian religion have tended to focus on Candomblé and other African-derived religions, and this is especially true in studies focused on the northeastern state of Bahia. Indeed, Bahia has long been imagined as a kind of living museum where African culture has been preserved in the Americas, a place where Christianity appears only as a thin veneer. This article focuses on my work on the intersection of Candomblé and Catholicism and more specifically on the Afro-Catholic Sisterhood of Our Lady of the Good Death (Irmandade de Nossa Senhora da Boa Morte, or simply Boa Morte), whose members are women of African descent involved with Candomblé. Because of its grounding in African-derived religion, observers often wonder whether the sisterhood’s yearly festival is actually Candomblé ritual masquerading as a Catholic celebration. I argue that behind this question is the questionable presumption that Catholicism is somehow epiphenomenal in Afro-Brazilian religious life, a view that I contend is rooted in specific racial ideologies and cultural nationalisms and stems from certain ideas concerning the relationship between religion and belief.

Selka, “Demons and Money”

March 25, 2014

Selka, Stephen.  2014.  Demons and Money: Possessions in Brazilian Pentecostalism.  In Spirited Things: The Work of “Possession” in Afro-Atlantic Religions, Paul Christopher Johnson, ed.  Chicago, University of Chicago Press.

Excerpt: “…this chapter explores interrelated understandings of spiritual and material possession – “possession by” and “possession of” – in the [Universal Church of the Kingdom of God] and similar neo-Pentecostal churches.  Spirit possession is central to Afro-Brazilia religions such as Candombé and Umbanda.  yet many Pentecostal Christians believe that the spirits that possess the practitioners of these religions are demons, and the practices of the [Universal church] in particular focus on liberating people from demonic influence.  This influence is seen as the cause of afflictions ranging from physcial illness to depression and of misfortunes such as divorce or unemployment.

In addition, some Pentecostal churches, especially third-wave or neo-Pentecostal ones, espouse what is often referred to derisively as the “theology of prosperity.”  Also know as the “health and wealth” gospel in North America, its proponents preach that the acquisition of material possessions is possible through faith.  The [Universal church] and similar neo-Pentecostal churches combine their promises of prosperity with an emphasis on deliverance from demons.  At first glance the relationship between these two kinds of possession might seem spurious, but they are closely connected.  In the most explicit formulation of this connection, as we see in the [Universal church], liberation from spiritual possession opens the way for the accumulation of material possessions.  That is, demonic control (possession by) impedes our realization of the prosperity (possession of) that God desires for human beings.”

van de Port, “Golden Storm”

November 5, 2013

van de Port, Mattijs, 2013. Golden Storm: The Ecstasy of the Igreja de Sao Francisco, Salvador da Bahia, Brazil. In Religious Architecture: Anthropological Perspectives edited by Oskar Verkaaik. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, pp.63-82

Volume Abstract: Religious Architecture: Anthropological Perspectives develops an anthropological perspective on modern religious architecture, including mosques, churches and synagogues. Borrowing from a range of theoretical perspectives on space-making and material religion, this volume looks at how religious buildings take their place in opposition to the secular surroundings, how they, as evocations of the sublime, help believers to move beyond the boundaries of modern subjectivity, and how they, in their common sense definition, function as community centers in urban daily life. The volume includes contributions from a range of anthropologists working in the UK, Mali, Brazil, Spain and Italy.

Mayblin, “The Untold Sacrifice: The Monotony and Incompleteness of Self-Sacrifice in Northeast Brazil”

October 16, 2013

Mayblin, Maya. 2013.  The Untold Sacrifice: The Monotony and Incompleteness of Self-Sacrifice in Northeast Brazil. Ethnos: Journal of Anthropology (early digital release DOI:10.1080/00141844.2013.821513).

Abstract: There is no such thing as an accidental sacrifice. Sacrifice is always pre-meditated, and if not entirely goal-oriented, at the very least inherently meaningful as a process in itself. This paper is about how we might begin to understand sacrifices that do not conform to these rules. It concerns the question: does sacrifice exist outside of its (often) dramatic, self-conscious elaboration? Within the Brazilian Catholic tradition everyday life – ideally characterised by monotonous, undramatic, acts of self-giving – is ‘true sacrifice’. For ordinary Catholics, the challenge is not how to self-sacrifice, but how to make one’s mundane life of self-sacrifice visible whilst keeping one’s gift of suffering ‘free’. In this paper I describe, ethnographically, the work entailed as one of ‘revelation’ and use the problems thrown up to reflect upon both the limits and advantages of Western philosophical versus anthropological understandings of Christian sacrificial practices to date.

 

Medrado, “Community and Communion Radio”

August 28, 2013

Medrado, Andrea.  2013.  Community and Communion Radio: Listening to Evangelical Programmes in a Brazilian Favela.  Communication, Culture & Critique 6(3): 396–414.

Abstract: According to academics and regulators, Evangelical and community radio belong to different sectors. Yet, in the favela, the urban environment and set of airwaves were saturated with religious sounds and programmes. On the basis of an ethnographic study of community radio in the everyday life of a favela, this research indicates that the two are often one and the same as the community radio stations would frequently broadcast Evangelical programming. This article argues that rather than trying to discover community radio’s functions a priori, it is more helpful do so organically, step by step. What emerges is that such functions are multiple—religious, commercial, political—and not necessarily perceived as being paradoxical by their listeners.

Selka, “Cityscapes and contact zones”

July 25, 2013

Selka, Stephen. 2013. Cityscapes and contact zones: Christianity, Candomble, and African heritage tourism in Brazil. Religion 43(3): 403-420.

Abstract: In this article the author explores the ways in which Catholic, evangelical, and Candomblé actors produce competing framings that shape encounters taking place in the city of Cachoeira in the Brazilian state of Bahia. The framing of Cachoeira as a site of heritage tourism – one where local religious practices are read as part of the African heritage and attractions for African American ‘roots tourists’ – obscures as much as it reveals. This is not to suggest that this framing is entirely inaccurate or to deny that many visitors themselves describe their trips to Bahia this way. But I contend that the ‘heritage frame’ masks key issues that complicate diasporic encounters in Cachoeira, particularly different understandings of heritage and religion and their relationship to black identity that African Americans and Afro-Brazilians bring to these encounters.

Silva and Rodrigues, “Brazilian Missionaries in Barcelona”

July 25, 2013

Silva, Marcos de Araujo and Donizete Rodrigues. 2013. Religion, Migration, and Gender Strategies: Brazilian (Catholic and Evangelical) Missionaries in Barcelona. Religion and Gender 3(1).

Abstract: This article reflects on gender strategies developed by Brazilian Pentecostal missionaries linked to the Catholic Charismatic Renewal and the evangelical Universal Church of the Kingdom of God/United Family, in the city of Barcelona,Spain. From a comparative study of the daily life of the missionaries, the paper discusses how ‘feminized’ and ‘manly’ character, respectively, define important boundaries between Catholic charismatic and Evangelical groups.The ethnographic data demonstrate how certain religious particularities of immigrants can act as a source of social differentiation that highlights opportunities and specific doctrinal strategies for women and men, in the context of diaspora.

Carranza and Mariz, “Catholicism for Export”

July 3, 2013

Carranza, Brenda and Cecilia Mariz. 2013. Catholicism for Export: The Case of Cancao Nova. In The Diaspora of Brazilian Religions, eds. Cristina Rocha and Manuel A. Vasquez, 137-165. London: Brill.

Rivera, “Brazilian Pentecostalism in Peru”

July 3, 2013

Rivera, Dario Paulo Barrera. 2013. Brazilian Pentecostalism in Peru: Affinities between the Social and Cultural Conditions of Andean Migrants and the Religious Worldview of the Pentecostal Church “God is Love.” In The Diaspora of Brazilian Religions, eds. Cristina Rocha and Manuel A. Vasquez, 117-136. London: Brill.

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