Play and Power in Religion: Collected Essays 3110259508, 9783110259506 - EBIN.PUB (2023)

Andre' Drooger's play and power in religion

Religion and Reason Founded by Jacques Waardenburg Edited by Gustavo Benavides and Michael Stausberg

Band 50


Andres Trockner

Game and Power in Religion Collected Essays


ISBN 978-3-11-025950-6 e-ISBN 978-3-11-025951-3 ISSN 0080-0848 Library of Congress Publication Cataloging Data Droogers, A.F. Play and Power in Religion: Collected Essays / Andre' Droogers. p. cm. ⫺ (Religion and Reason, ISSN 0080-0848; v. 50) Includes bibliographical information and index. ISBN 978-3-11-025950-6 (hardcover: alkaline paper) 1st work ⫺ Religious aspects. 2. Power (Social Sciences) 3. Anthropology of Religion. I. Title. BL65.P6D76 2011 2011.7⫺dc23 2011029144

Bibliographic information from the German National Library The German National Library lists this publication in the German National Bibliography; Detailed bibliographic data is available on the Internet at 쑔 2012 Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin/Boston Printer: Hubert & Co. GmbH & Co. KG, Göttingen ⬁ Printed on acid-free paper Printed in Germany

Contents Introduction: From Contingency to Continuity. . . . . . . . . . . . . 1. What makes a career? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2. First parameters: religious pluralism, power and ambiguous position. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3. The Congo experience: play, margins, ritual and eclecticism. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4. The Brazilian experience: power, commitment and a syncretic laboratory. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5. The Dutch Experience: Pentecostalism, Secularization and Luddism. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6. Add. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7. About the structure of this book. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . detection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . references . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

1 1 2 5 11 18 26 27 30 30

Part I Marginality, Gambling, and the Margin of Power Chapter 1 Symbols of Marginality in the Biographies of Religious and Secular Innovators: A Comparative Study of the Lives of Jesus, Waldes, Booth, Kimbangu, Buddha, Muhammad, and Marx. . . . 1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.Jesus. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3. Forests (Hardmeier 1960, Wakefield 1974: 43-47). . . . . . . 4. Post (Sandal 1947, 1950) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5. Kimbangu (Martin 1975, Ustorf 1975). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6. Buddha (Saddhatissa 1976). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7. Mohammed (Guillaume 1968, Rodinson 1973). . . . . . . . . . 8. Marx (Banning 1961, Blumenberg 1965, McLellan 1973, 1975). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9. Conclusion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . note . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . references . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

35 35 36 37 38 39 40 42 44 46 49 50



Chapter 2 The playful seriousness of Brazilian religiosity: Mario Quintana on religion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2. Contradiction is the norm. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3. Poetry and Religion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4. Without a doubt. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5. morals. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6. God. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7. Official Religion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8. Conclusion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Thanks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . references . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

51 51 52 53 56 59 60 63 64 66 67

Inversion Chapter 3 Paradise Lost: The Taming of the Religious Imagination. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2. Human clothing. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3. Simultaneity and schemas. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4. Play. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5. Play, power, modernity. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6. Religion, Power, Game. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7. The conditions for the game in religion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8. Paradise Regained? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Thanks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . references . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

69 69 70 72 74 76 80 84 87 89 89

Chapter 4 The popular use of folk religion: power and importance in three Brazilian folk religions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2. Umbanda. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3. Pentecostalism. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4. Basic Church Communities. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5. A comparison at the end. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . note . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . references . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

92 92 93 96 98 100 103 103



Game and Ritual Chapter 5 Enjoying an emerging alternative world: Ritual in its own playful right. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2. The Wagenia initiation ritual. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3. Social axes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4. Stages of comic ritual. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5. Ritual Games. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6. Repertoires of schemas. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7. Conclusion: a playful ritual repertoire. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . references . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

105 105 107 109 112 117 118 123 124

Chapter 6 Festivals: a view from cultural anthropology. . . . . . . . 1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2. A significant case. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3. A cultural event. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4. Party and ritual. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5. The playful. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6. Conclusion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . references . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

125 125 125 129 132 137 140 140

Power and Meaning Chapter 7 The dimensions of power in the Christian community: An anthropological model. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2. The Anthropology of Religion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3. Culture, repertoire, scheme. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4. The faith-oriented dimension. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5. The inner dimension. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6. The external dimension. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7. The ethnographic dimension. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8. Conclusion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . references . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

143 143 143 148 154 156 159 160 165 166

Chapter 8 Identity, Religious Pluralism and Ritual in Brazil: Umbanda and Pentecostalism. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 169 1. Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 169



2. A frame. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3. Brazilian religious pluralism. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4. Umbandists and Pentecostals. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5. Umbanda, Pentecostalism and Religious Pluralism. . . . . . . . 6. Conclusion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . references . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

169 175 178 182 188 190

Part II Two-Field Syncretism Chapter 9 Syncretism: The problem of definition, the definition of the problem. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2. The changing meaning of the term. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3. The available options. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4. The possible subjectivity of objective definitions. . . . . . . 5. Syncretism and power. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6. The symbolic dimension of syncretism. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7. Conclusion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8. Epilogue. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . references . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Chapter 10 Comparison of Syncretists, Fundamentalists and Scholars. 1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2. Inappropriate comparisons? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3. Definition of syncretism and fundamentalism. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4. Syncretism and fundamentalism in comparison. . . . . . . . . . . . . 5. The three-dimensional model. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6. Power relations in fundamentalism and syncretism. . . . . . 7. Positivism and fundamentalism, constructivism and syncretism. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8. Conclusion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . references . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

195 195 196 201 203 204 207 209 211 212 215 215 216 218 222 225 227 229 232 232

Chapter 11 Joana's Story: Syncretism and Gender at the Acting Level. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 234 1. Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 234 2. Joana's story . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 238


3. Discussion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4. Conclusion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . note . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . references . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

IX 245 250 251 251

Pentecostalism Chapter 12 Paradoxical Perspectives on a Paradoxical Religion: Models for Explaining Pentecostalism in Brazil and Chile 1. Introduction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2. Theoretical Diversity. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3. An ambivalent religion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4. Anomie and Pentecostal Growth. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5. Class and Pentecostal Extension. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6. Failed modernization and Pentecostal growth. . . . . . . . . . . 7. Conclusion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8. Epilogue 1996. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Thanks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . references . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

253 253 256 258 261 267 271 275 276 280 281

Chapter 13 Globalization and Pentecostal Success. . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2. Some theoretical questions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3. Some Common Features. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4. Pentecostal diversity. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5. Contextual Factors. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6. Globalization. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7. Globalization and Pentecostal Fellowship. . . . . . . . . . . . . 8. Globalization and Pentecostal Diversity. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9. Conclusion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . references . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

285 285 286 289 291 293 296 298 302 304 305



Part III Methodological Applications Methodological Luddism Chapter 14 Methodological Luddism: Beyond Religiosity and Reductionism. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2. The problem. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3. Religion and reductionism: the options. . . . . . . . . . . 4. Experiences and Opportunities. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5. The playful. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6. Interdisciplinary perspectives. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7. Playfulness, Religion and Declaration of Religion. . . . 8. Conclusion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Thanks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . references . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

311 311 314 316 319 321 322 330 335 335 336

Chapter 15 The Third Bank of the River: Wild, Methodical Luddism and Religion Definition. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1. Introduction: definitions and dichotomies. . . . . . . . . . . . . 2. Game and Religion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3. Game, power and religion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4. A preliminary definition. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5. The play and study of religion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6. Conclusion: a definition of religion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Thanks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . references . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

339 339 345 352 355 356 360 361 362

Religion and Science Chapter 16 Religious Knowledge and Religious Knowledge: The Cultural Anthropology of Religion and an Anthropology of Religion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2. The Academy and Religious Studies. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3. Recent changes and their consequences. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4. Connectionist community. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5. The fragmented local and the unified global. . . . . . . . . . 6. The gift of the game. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

365 365 367 369 372 375 377



7. Game and Religion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8. How Christian is the playful perspective? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9. Conclusion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . references . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

381 384 385 386

Chapter 17 As Close as a Scholar Can Get: Exploring a Single Field Approach to the Study of Religion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2. Ambiguity in religious studies. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3. Methodological Consequences. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4. Incorporated religion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5. The case of Pentecostalism. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6. Conclusion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . detection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . references . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

388 388 390 394 398 402 405 408 408

Bibliography Andre Droogers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 411 original publication of the chapters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 424 Table of Contents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 427

Introduction: From contingency to continuity 1. What constitutes a career? Looking back, I can't say that my career was the product of conscious planning: there are too many vicissitudes, coincidences and contingencies. Consequently, the topics of the essays collected in this volume cover a fairly wide range of issues. And yet there is also some consistency and, I hope, a plausible story to tell. As field workers who tell their life stories know, those who tell their life stories often turn the chaotic into order and meaning. And me too. How did I get from Casual to Plan? How did I develop? In my case, what were the ingredients that enabled me to organize my academic life? And how did I get from being idiosyncratic to what others might also find relevant? Very concrete experiences led to generalizations, but how? Which way between induction and deduction did I go? Unforeseen circumstances played an important role in my career, but how did I translate them into a kind of systematic reflection on a range of issues? Life seems to juggle myriad alternatives in no apparent order. And yet there was a certain order as I struggled to make sense of what had happened to me. An introduction to a volume of collected essays should show this order. It's not just my problem. Any scholar of religion will, in retrospect, recognize how arbitrarily the family in which he grew up, the education received, the discipline chosen, the jobs and funding applied for, the interdisciplinary contacts and international events influenced his career out, the religion or religions studied , the regions and groups studied, the influential professors, authors, colleagues and informants, and the events that would become exemplary. These will be the components of my story in this autobiographical introduction, not only to justify the choices I've made from what I've written over the past thirty years, but also to provide the unexpected common thread of my personal and demonstrate an academic career. So it becomes clear why gambling and power have become the two lenses through which I observe religious trends and phenomena.


Introduction: From Contingency to Continuity

I'll start by telling a little bit about my personal story. I went from job to job, from research project to research project, from game to power and back again. The different sections of this introduction describe my journey through the discipline from one continent to another, each stage bringing new challenges and inspiration.

2. Early Parameters: Religious Pluralism, Power, and Positional Ambiguities Without being immediately apparent, one's religious or secular history influences the way one views religion. I grew up in the Netherlands in an environment shaped by the Protestant-Reformed tradition. At that time, Dutch society was still pilaster-like, divided into self-sufficient sub-societies according to religious and ideological points of view. Each of these pillars contained strong beliefs that defended the holistic human being in all aspects of life, seven days a week, 24 hours a day. In my case, the claim was less convincing as my parents came from two different Reformed churches that were a mainstay in their own right. These churches have long been involved in a structural conflict because my father's Gereformeerde church was formed from a split in my mother's Hervormde church in the 19th century. Interestingly, the two Dutch terms Gereformeerde and Hervormde mean the same thing: reformed. My parents came from a town in the south-west of the Netherlands, part of the Orthodox Reformed Bible Belt. My mother's father opposed his daughter's marriage to a man from the dissenting church. As a result, my parents did not have a church wedding, contrary to the custom among Dutch believers to have a church wedding immediately after the civil wedding in the town hall. While my father hoped his future wife would follow him into his church, his father-in-law made his daughter promise not to transfer her membership to another church. After this incomplete rite of passage, my parents left their village and moved to Rotterdam, where my father had already found a job as a police officer. Although his six children, I was number four, were baptized in my father's church, at home the religion was mainly present in its divided form. There was no common subculture and religious discourse, and no strict identification with a sector in the Dutch 'pillar' system. From what I remember the atmosphere was actually quite secular, avoiding the subject of religion. was only as present

2. First parameters: religious pluralism, power and ambiguous position


Ritual: My father says thank you before and after dinner and reads the Bible during dinner between main course and dessert. We receive our religious education outside the home: in school and in church. My parents lived with a constant bone of contention when it came to religion, and as children we were sort of free to find our own way in religious matters. Although we experienced the power churches then had over the lives of their members, there was still room for our own play with alternatives. When my parents were many years old, the irony of Dutch church history created a situation where their two churches started a process of merging. For them, this meant that they could finally attend the same service together. There was also a personal irony, as two of her children, of which I was one, had found their significant other in my mother's church. In my case this meant that I developed an ecumenical attitude even as a student. My wife-to-be and I have been very supportive of efforts to unite the two churches since the 1960's. When we got married there were two pastors involved in the service, one from each church. However, our request to have Holy Communion as part of the service was not met. My wife's parents, following the example of her grandfather, requested that after we got married we should join their church in Hervormde. We both happened to feel at home in this church. All these family facts made me consciously or unconsciously aware of the power processes in religious matters. There was another aspect of my father's church that influenced me. As a minority church with a mixture of mostly lower-class members and few upper-class members, emancipatory education was a major goal from the start, even when building its own "pillar" that included schools and a university. the Vrije Universiteit (VU). As a child, I attended an elementary school of this denomination and the Sunday school of the church. I later became a member of the Children's League, where we were trained to give faith talks from the age of 12. I was a secretary for a year, which taught me how to take minutes of meetings. This boys' society introduced me to a more rational way of living the faith that was primarily doctrinal, i. My. right teaching. The speech was apologetic and controversial. He intended to convince us of the correctness of our views. The indirect result was that we learned to study and discuss texts. This type of religious education was intended to contribute to the emancipation of this part of the Dutch population, justify and indirectly provoke the resulting division.


Introduction: From Contingency to Continuity

Upward mobility for members of the Church who belonged to the lower classes. In our family, this meant that the children were encouraged to go to secondary school and then to university, while my sisters were mainly trained for their future roles as mothers and housewives. And that's why I went to university in 1959, but not to VU. Under the influence of my excellent geography teacher A.C.W. Korevaar, I decided to study human geography with the intention of becoming a high school teacher. He referred me to his old public university, the University of Utrecht, because it has the best geography department in the country, better than the VU. Incidentally, my teacher was a member of my mother's Hervorm congregation. Coming from a family where there was no academic experience in the previous generation, I had to learn to study at university level. Even though I learned the basics of human geography and discovered how people use their living space, I still didn't show the academic credentials I was supposed to have. My first attempt at the BA level oral exam ended with the President known to say the least for his unexpected questions. He asked me about the color of one of the newspapers in the reading room, where apparently not enough time had been spent. I later found out that I had made the mistake of choosing an ethnological subject when choosing a topic for my bachelor's thesis, since I liked ethnological courses, and thus disqualified myself in the eyes of the geography teacher. At the repeat three months later, he "recommended" that I do my master's degree in anthropology. I followed his advice, which radically changed my life. In the Anthropology department, I learned a lot from Jan van Baal, who held the first chair in Anthropology of Religion in the Netherlands. The lectures he gave during my student days were later published in his introductory book on anthropological religious studies (Van Baal 1971; see also Van Baal 1981). I was so impressed by his unique scholarship that, to be sure I understood what he meant, I took the same course twice. Not only did Van Baal provide an interdisciplinary view of the study of religion, but he also developed his own theory of religion. I think their insights are still valuable, also because they later proved to be regularly useful in analyzing my own field research experiences. Van Baal defines man as a symbolizer: for him man is on the one hand the symbolizing subject and on the other hand part of the symbolized reality. This puts people in a traumatically ambiguous position. They want to feel part of their reality and their group, but because of their symbolization

3. The Congo Experience: Play, Space, Ritual and Eclecticism


Activity, are also highlighted. However, the symbols are not only the cause; You are also the solution. "Symbolizing is not only an act of objectification, it is also an act of communication" (Van Baal 1971:222). Symbols are used, among other things, to conjure up a sacred world for people to communicate with. Religions explore the possibilities of a sacred or divine world as a reality in itself but interfering with human reality. Another application of the symbolization ability is in play, which allows people to confront two versions of reality simultaneously, each with their own way of using symbols to classify that particular lifeworld. The obvious examples are sport and play, but in this definition religion can also be seen as a form of play. Art is another way of using symbols to create a different reality. It's also a way of playing with possible realities. In a small book in Dutch, Van Baal compared religion, play and art and showed that all three create a different reality, divine, pleasant or beautiful respectively (Van Baal 1972). Much later, towards the end of his life, after having spent most of his academic life approaching religion in a reductionist way and explaining it in terms of human qualities, he made a startling claim about the possibility that the sacred in the Life manifests people (Van Baal 1991). He confessed that he himself had a crucial mystical experience when he was interned as a Dutch colonial-era civilian administrator in a Japanese camp in what would become Indonesia during World War II. After repressing this event for decades, as an old man he accepted its consequences by writing his memoirs. This caused quite a stir in Dutch religious studies circles, as not everyone found the idea attractive, as became clear during a symposium that resulted in a small volume of which I was the editor (Droogers 1996a). The central question in this book was how one deals with one's religious beliefs in the study of religion and religions. I'll get back to that in a moment.

3. The Congo Experience: Play, Separation, Ritual and Eclecticism Unfortunately, when I was doing my master's degree in anthropology, the curriculum did not allow for time for field research. This opportunity came about through my first job abroad as a professor at the Université Libre du Congo (ULC) in Kisangani, Eastern Province of the Congo. This university was recently founded by the Congolese Council of Protestant Churches.


Introduction: From Contingency to Continuity

churches. When I graduated from college in 1967, my wife and I decided that we would spend some years of our lives working in what we envisioned at the time in a developing country (the term used in the 1960s was "underdeveloped"). . We failed to understand that what we understood by “giving” meant that we had access to a wealth of experiences that enriched and defined our lives academically but also personally. Again, some arbitrary decisions were involved. We had offered our services to a Dutch interchurch organization that acted as an agency for teachers, doctors, nurses, etc. who wanted to work in a developing country for a few years. We had offers to go to Thailand and Sudan and at one point Professor Van Baal suggested we go to Madura, Indonesia. But in the end we chose Congo. Since there was a riot by white mercenaries in Kisangani when we were about to leave, we decided to wait a while longer until everything was calm again. In order to use the time that was suddenly available, I was allowed to spend three months in the ethnological department of the VU to prepare for my later work. There was an agreement between this university and the ULC of Kisangani, since both were of Protestant background and also shared the same name: Free University. Another random election took place during this period. The head of the department, Professor Herman Schulte Nordholt, suggested that I start field research during my stay in the Congo. Behind this proposal were not only scientific interests, but also a practical concern: the possibility of staying in the university pension fund. The Congolese government would pay me a modest salary, so I couldn't afford to be part of a pension plan. Schulte Nordholt found out that I could remain in the pension scheme while I was working in the Congo, as long as my work there was relevant to my previous employer, i.e. the VU. Consequently, he invented for me, with himself as supervisor, a PhD project that would become part of the department's research program at the time. This program focused on Christian groups in different parts of the world. But what did we know about the Christian groups in or near Kisangani? Practically nothing. Then I came across a travel book by the Belgian writer Karel Jonckheere (Jonckheere undated), who had traveled to the Congo in the 1950s when it was still a Belgian colony. Writing about Kisangani (then Stanleyville), he mentioned the Wagenia, a small tribe of fishermen who lived near the town at the falls of the Congo River and were called Stanley at the time of his visit.

3. The Congo Experience: Play, Space, Ritual and Eclecticism


falls. At the end of the 19th century, Henry Morton Stanley visited and claimed Wagenia territory on behalf of the Belgian king. As a result, a colonial fort and later a nearby town were built, and the town was named Stanleyville. Shortly after reading Jonckheere, I met a Dutch Salvation Army officer who was working in the Congo and told me that there was a Salvation Army chapel near the falls. So, while still in the Netherlands, to convince the pension fund of the relevance of my work to my former employer, I wrote a research plan to study the Wagenia branch of the Salvation Army, focusing on religious change under the influence of the mission. My connection to the pension fund was accepted and the insurance company was kind enough to pay my contribution. And so I knew even before I left that I would be doing field research with the Wagenia, although – or perhaps because – I knew very little about them. When we finally reached Kisangani in January 1968, a preliminary survey of the Wagenia area revealed the presence of at least three other churches, a Roman Catholic, a Baptist and a Kimbanguist church, the latter originally being an independent African church. I changed my research plan to include these churches as well. I started to visit Wagenia's villages and churches regularly. After some time, a house in the traditional style (mud walls, large leafy roof) was built in one of the villages. My wife and I spent weekends and holidays there. I used to go there in the afternoon after I gave my lectures at the university. After some time I found a small number of regular informants and two high school children who acted as translators. After a more general orientation, I began researching religious change. In doing so, I have acquired sufficient knowledge of the language to check the translations of my assistants. During my field research, I heard persistent rumors that there should be an initiation for boys for the entire Wagenia tribe. But the clan, which lived further up the right bank of the Congo and traditionally took the initiative, kept putting off the decision. After the 1964 rebellion and the 1968 mercenary uprising, they feared further military action. The problem they faced was that once the boys were isolated in the initiation field, they could not come out before the ritual was over. So peacetime was needed. Thus, during Holy Week 1970, the clan living further upriver on the left bank decided to start the initiation, and the same day or the next other clans followed, including the one who should have started the process. Almost 1,300 over a period of five months


Introduction: From Contingency to Continuity

Children were initiated into 14 camps. At first I thought I would observe what happened during the initiation with the intention of writing an article about it and after that I would come back to the PhD topic about religious change. But it quickly became clear that there was too much work to fit into one article. So, after consultation with my supervisor, I changed the topic of my doctoral thesis to the initiation of children. One of the first results of fieldwork was that I hated the theory for a while. In writing my research plan, I succumbed to pressure to provide a theoretical framework. When I first wrote such a plan, I had problems with the theory, and indeed my colleagues in the department heavily criticized my proposal as being theoretically weak. In practice, however, I found myself doing the real thing, far removed from the theoretical fads of university faculty, and discovered the utter uniqueness of an African culture. Cultural creativity was greater than theoretical models could ever be! What mattered was the idiosyncrasy. Although I later accepted that theory could be useful and, moreover, would exist even if ignored because it was in fact indispensable, I have always believed in the relative nature of theoretical frameworks and concepts. This led me to take an eclectic position on theory (Droogers 1985c), even at a time when colleagues were enthusiastic about structuralist, neo-Marxist, poststructuralist or postmodern theories. While I have undoubtedly developed my own theoretical leanings, as will become clear below, I still prefer to deconstruct seemingly exclusive approaches. One goal was the functionalist theory. From the initiation of the boys I learned that the functionalist approach, which explains institutions like religion and initiation as contributing to the maintenance of society, is taken too seriously. The playful aspect was much closer to the people than the type of functionalist explanations, which presupposed a reflection at the institutional level, which moreover explains the origins from the effects. Functionalist writers ignored the fact that people can be motivated to devote time and energy to religion or an initiation ritual primarily for fun. Of course, almost like lay functionalists, my informants explained to me that the initiation ritual was aimed at turning the boys into men and permanently integrating them into the father's kinship group. But it was clear that enjoying the ritual was also very important to them. The emphasis on ritual fun does not mean that the initiation was all joy and full of experiences of communion. Power was exercised in sometimes uncomfortable and cruel ways by men over children

3. The Congo Experience: Play, Space, Ritual and Eclecticism


older children over younger. But the game was the most striking feature of the initiation. Another outcome of the initiation fieldwork experience was that I came to reject some ideas about African religion that were prevalent at the time. African cultures were commonly viewed as incurably religious (e.g. Thomas 1969:5). This was also a popular position among theologians developing an African theology (cf. Droogers 1977a). In fact, he had gone into the field with that image in mind. Desiring to study religious change, he was keen to find out how religion had changed in a society where everything was supposed to be influenced by religion. However, the initiation ritual, designed to pass all these religious traditions from one generation to the next, turned out to be not so religious after all. In fact, it was quite difficult to detect religious references to what was happening. The only clue was that the boys in the camp had to cover their bodies with lime water twice a day to turn them white, the color of the ancestral spirits, which they would not recognize as living people and therefore would not disturb them. . So what I learned was that instead of assuming everything is religious, we need to ask ourselves: to what extent is religion a factor in an African tribal society? In this sense, a strong aspect of the boys' initiation was the enactment of a sort of sham religion by the men of Wagenia with the women as a flock. The initiation tradition included certain power animals, such as a giant bird and a giant elephant. Humans "created" these animals at certain moments of transition, primarily through the use of instruments that produced the sounds made by these animals. Women who have been confined to their homes or kept at a safe distance should believe in the presence of these power animals. In reality, they joined the men's game, dutifully playing their part, formally showing fear but informally enjoying themselves. Seeing this made me ponder the possibility that religion might have evolved out of a male fantasy game and explored the possibilities that the idea of ​​a sacred world offers for dominance over the opposite sex. The learning experiences from the initiation field work and later from the preparation of the diploma thesis led me to fundamental decisions in anthropological and religious-scientific questions. While writing the dissertation (Droogers 1974, 1980c) I rediscovered the theory through the work of Victor Turner, particularly The Ritual Process (1969). This work complemented Van Baal's views on religion and gambling and so on


Introduction: From Contingency to Continuity

human dilemma of being a part and yet feeling separate. He was also associated with the structuralism of Lévi-Strauss, with which both Van Baal and Schulte Nordholt sympathized. Together these sources of inspiration provided a multifaceted framework that helped me to understand what I had seen during the Wagenia boy initiation. Turner's emphasis on liminality and communitas served to open one's eyes to the particular social conditions prevailing at the time of the initiation ritual and to the tension between power and play. It also showed the abundant symbolic structure in the context of transition, as the work of Lévi-Strauss further illustrates. Despite my interest in communitas, I also included the dimension of power in the ritual process, thereby softening the contrast to the social structural hierarchy. Furthermore, I was fascinated by the dynamics of the initiation ritual over time: the Wagenia retained a basic symbolic structure that was repeated in their other rites of passage, while adapting it to the changing colonial and post-colonial times. . A lot of space was given to the Van Baal symbol at the inauguration. From then on, power, play and symbolism were integral parts of my work. Looking back, I sometimes wonder what would have happened if we had gone to Sudan, Thailand, or Madura, or if the Wagenia had never performed their children's initiation ritual again. Though acquired under random circumstances, he had acquired an academic worldview that seemed to survive beyond the conditions under which he had acquired it. After my return from the Congo in 1971, I was employed at the VU as a research assistant at the newly founded Institute for Interdisciplinary Religious Studies. At the same university I defended my doctoral thesis in 1974 with Herman Schulte Nordholt as my supervisor and Jan van Baal as one of the committee members. To my surprise, I was awarded cum laude, the highest possible grade in the Dutch system. This seemed to push me towards an academic career. In 1976 we returned to Wagenia as a family of four to do a year of field research on the project I had started: religious change, and in the years that followed I published the results of that research (Droogers 1977a, 1980a, 1980b, 1981b) . One of the insights was that it was better to talk about the "Wagenization" of Christianity than to talk about the Christianization of Wagenia. They had made their own versions of the Christian contribution, differing both by church and by person. Here, too, the symbolizers were in action.

4. The Brazilian experience: power, commitment and a syncretic laboratory


4. The Brazilian Experience: Power, Commitment and a Syncretic Laboratory Another coincidence brought me to Brazil. The director of my institute, Professor Dick Mulder, was also the chairman of the mission committee of one of the Reformed churches. As part of the growing tendency to work together, the two Reformed churches had several joint missionary projects. Ecumenical initiatives are often preceded by joint missionary efforts. In addition, missions had shifted from conversion to supporting churches in the third world. For example, a Dutch church historian had worked for several years at the theological school of the Lutheran Church in Brazil (IECLB [Igreja Evangélica de Confissão Luterana no Brasil, Evangelical Church of the Lutheran Confession in Brazil]) in São Leopoldo, in the very south of the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul. The church had about 700,000 members, most of them of German descent. When the church historian returned to the Netherlands, the school expressed an interest in another Dutch teacher, this time for the study of religion. As we met in the university elevator one day in 1978, my rector casually informed me that the Mission Council was looking for a candidate for the position. He added that it probably wouldn't be for me since I'm focused on Africa, but maybe he could think about it. My wife and I did that. Despite colleagues arguing that this would squander my burgeoning career as an African studies scholar, after much deliberation we decided to apply for the position and we got it. The African influence in Brazil was a good excuse for an equally attractive opportunity. The Congo experience had made power, play, fringe and symbolism an integral part of my work. My time in Brazil reinforced the relevance of these issues. The Brazilian manifestations of the game enhanced my experience of the concept. In addition, syncretism became an abiding interest. Brazil has also included Pentecostalism as a topic in my list of research topics. The power dimension was emphasized more than before. Power was an inevitable element as Brazil was then still under a military dictatorship. In addition, the IECLB was critical of the regime; Several of his pastors were arrested and interrogated because of their criticism. The Brazilian authorities delayed our visa processing and we had to wait six months before we finally received visas.


Introduction: From Contingency to Continuity

and a work permit in 1980. We had enough time to learn Portuguese and I was able to read about Brazilian religions. Since the late 1960s, most of the staff and students at the theological college had been inspired by liberation theology, and the associated left-wing image of society had inevitably led to a dispute with the military. With regard to religion, the liberationist perspective meant that Marxist criticism of religion was taken seriously, but without abandoning religion as such. Class consciousness and consciousness of power determined the analysis of religion and society. The poor were redeemed by his wisdom. Because of their way of reading the Bible, which was said to have been shaped by their teaching experience, they were regarded as teachers of exegetes. Arriving in Brazil, it quickly became clear to me that my fellow theologians, because of their liberation theological practice, not only expected me to lead the religion courses, but also wanted the support of the social sciences for their type of analysis. More specifically, I had to focus on power as a factor in religion. This perspective meant that there was a genuine interest in the Brazilian religious market, particularly the religious forms that appealed to the poor: popular Catholicism, Afro-Brazilian religions, and Pentecostals. The religious and prophetic movements that were part of Brazil's history were also discussed in classes and seminars, including one that arose in a Lutheran context, that of Mucker (1872-74). Folk religion was seen as an example from which we could learn a lesson in the liberation struggle. This was not primarily raised from a Marxist, religion-critical perspective or from an exclusively Lutheran interest, but rather authentically, in that popular religion was viewed as a form of popular wisdom. This perspective fundamentally changed the exegesis of biblical texts. Questions of power and class were constantly on the agenda. This had consequences for my own research. Looking for an interesting place, I decided to do fieldwork in a rural area of ​​Espírito Santo state. Although I was far from São Leopoldo, I had the advantage that another Dutch couple, employed by the same missionary council, was working in that region and could introduce me. They were part of a regional Lutheran pastoral team working under the inspiration of liberation theology. Most of the team members were graduates of the São Leopoldo School. To organize their flock, they employed the Catholic model of ecclesial base communities (Comunidades Eclesiais de Base, also known as CEBs). The team applied the didactics of "consciousness" elaborated by the Brazilian educator Paulo Freire in his "Pedagogy of".

4. The Brazilian experience: power, commitment and a syncretic laboratory


the oppressed (Freire 1970). His pastoral approach was to promote Bible reading from the perspective of the poor. They paid special attention to the marginalized in their community. Furthermore, the team did not limit its activities to the church, but consciously sought to influence local politics and elections by teaching and preaching against local rulers, including some wealthy Lutheran families. This shifted the class struggle into the community itself. Land rights and tenure conditions were important issues in pastoralist discourse and practice. In my research in Espírito Santo, I first looked at popular Lutheranism. Much had been written about popular Catholicism, but little was known about popular forms of Protestantism. In doing this fieldwork, I was soon confronted with the traditional power of the shepherds, particularly the German shepherds, who had worked in the region. Ironically, some of them had wielded their power in chronic conflict with the power of wealthy Lutheran families structurally present in church councils. Through this project I also discovered the creativity of lay people to produce their own version of the Lutheran faith despite clerical power (Droogers 1984c). In a follow-up project, I took a local Lutheran congregation in a small agricultural town, Santa María de Jetibá, as a case study. I observe the church's longstanding involvement in local politics (Droogers 2001g, 2010a). Finally, the regional pastoral team broke up due to ideological conflicts. After a decade, wealthy families returned to power in both the church and local politics. At school, as an anthropologist providing a social science framework for understanding phenomena and events in Brazilian society, I emphasized how culture works. This coincided with an interesting development in liberation theology. Liberation theologians gradually discovered that culture was a blind spot in their models. For a long time, the focus on class analysis was so strong that once a classless society was established, all problems were thought to be solved. This was in fact a denial of important cultural and religious differences in the country. In part, these differences were ethnic: Afro-Brazilian and Native Americans each had their own distinct cultural and religious identities that would persist after the compensatory social liberation. The renewed attention to cultural and religious aspects made my contribution to the school curriculum even more relevant. Part of the growing interest in culture and religion has involved syncretism, another topic that piqued my interest. When I arrived at the São Leopoldo school, I was invited to an inaugural lecture. I decided


Introduction: From Contingency to Continuity

discuss syncretism (Droogers 1981c). He later defined syncretism as “religious interpenetration, either taken for granted or a matter of debate” (Droogers 1989d:21), placing syncretism in a power context. In general, the clergy reject forms of folk religion that mix elements from different sources. In Brazil, at least in academic circles, Afro-Brazilian religions are best known for being syncretistic in nature (e.g. Bastide 1978; see also Droogers 1985b). The distinction between popular and official religion that underpinned my interest in popular Lutheranism also pointed to the role of power and dispute in the formation of religious beliefs and practices. The liberation theology framework, with its reversal of the roles of theologian and layperson, made clear the role of power in the production of religion. But syncretism also pointed to play, as people easily and playfully combined elements from vastly different sources, despite the objections of the clergy. Power, syncretism and play were interrelated phenomena. In addition to researching the Lutheran folk religion, I began field research that led me to syncretism. This centered on a rather idiosyncratic form of Spiritism or Kardecism at the Casa do Jardim (Garden House) healing group in Porto Alegre, the state capital of Rio Grande do Sul. Kardecists readily combine Christian ideas with beliefs in karma and reincarnation and can therefore be classified as syncretic. However, syncretism might have its own orthodoxy. Within the local official Kardecista organization, the Casa do Jardim group was considered heterodox because, among other things, it used elements and benign spirits from Umbanda, itself a syncretic Afro-Brazilian religion. The leader of the group, a physician, José Lacerda de Azevedo, developed much of the healing approach used in the group himself (Lacerda de Azevedo 1997). The method not only mixed religious elements in a syncretic way; he also attempted to combine religious and scientific elements. He worked with the energetic frequencies of spirits and people, increasing their level, systematically counting and giving a boost at each count, or, conversely, taking the energy from evil entities, counting backwards. Lacerda presented it as the medical science of the 21st century as a synthesis of religious and scientific ideas, effectively blurring the distinction between the two fields. The group achieved impressive results and attracted many people to its Saturday morning sessions. An interesting application was that Brazil could be treated as a whole as well as individual patients (Droogers 1991f). The Spiritualists of Casa do Jardim saw their activities as part of

4. The Brazilian experience: power, commitment and a syncretic laboratory


a great spiritual war involving not only men but countries and vast spiritual armies, both evil and kind. I interpreted this type of syncretic spiritualism as a form of play, since it invoked a dramatic spiritual reality to solve problems of human reality. In contemplating the spiritual reality that Dr. Studying Lacerda's group, I remembered the Wagenian men and their quasi-religious giant bird and elephant, although contrary to the general impression of their culture and society, the Brazilian spiritualists were much less playful. . . For them, the spirits they received were real. Each treatment by a healing team was a bit of drama, with the media calling on spiritual reality to help explain the patient's problems. This was done in a different and personal way each time, but always following a fundamental process. Thus, a vengeful spirit manifested through one of the mediums and confessed that it was the cause of the patient's problem because it sought revenge for an act that that patient's spirit had committed against him or her in a previous incarnation. Although different mediums could come with conflicting information about and from the spiritual reality, there was always some consensus, especially through the team coordinator's interpretations. After finding a diagnosis, the coordinator attempted to convert the vengeful spirit, sometimes in the name of Jesus, into accepting a new incarnation on a higher moral level. Higher spirits from advanced hospitals in the spirit world, as well as the benign spirits of Umbanda, could be asked to help solve the case. In some cases, the cause is said to have been "black magic" (black magic) rather than a vengeful spirit. This included a racist element, reinforced by the fact that negra means both black and black. It was said to have originated in Afro-Brazilian religions and always led to anti-witchcraft treatment. The experience at Casa do Jardim was also important because it brought me into contact with the anthropologist Sidney M. Greenfield (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee), with whom I would develop a strong academic collaboration in the study of syncretism as a staff of friendship. A male patient walked in on one of the teams in the group during Saturday morning's healing session. As usual, he was asked to lie down on a bed, the team members sat around him. In fluent Portuguese but with an American accent, he explained his problem. The team then followed the usual procedure. The patient was then introduced to me as an anthropologist researching spiritualistic healing in Brazil. As a result of that first meeting, Sid Greenfield and I stayed in touch,


Introduction: From Contingency to Continuity

and in 1989 he invited me to attend a session on healing he organized during the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association (AAA). This was the beginning of a long-term collaboration, which culminated in a joint AAA seminar in 1995, which in turn resulted in a jointly edited volume on the subject of syncretism (Greenfield and Droogers 2001, cf. Droogers 2001a, b, c, d) . Once again, coincidence ensured continuity. My Brazilian experience meant a strong impetus for my interest in the game, also in terms of performance. Gambling seems to be a hallmark of Brazilian culture and society. It is also a theme in the work of Brazilian anthropologists such as Roberto DaMatta (DaMatta 1991). Carnival is of course the most obvious expression of this, but so is the Brazilian style of football. The game was not only explicit in transitional or borderline moments, but also more enduring. In contacts between and with Brazilians, a joking relationship is quite common and easy to establish. The game is at the service of a horizontal and balancing trend that is an important part of Brazilian codes of conduct. However, this playful side is accompanied by its counterpoint: an emphasis on power. Brazilian history and society also feature a vertical line expressing a hierarchy and a dominant social structure. For example, the long period of military dictatorship was clearly an expression of the vertical axis, just as the hierarchy in the Roman Catholic Church, to which the majority of Brazilians belong, is characterized by an enduring vertical emphasis. Power and play coexist and compete for supremacy. Liberation theology was a factor in trying to strengthen the horizontal axis in both society and the church. Another playful example here was the democratization movement that led to the end of the military dictatorship, which sometimes used playful elements in its election campaign. As DaMatta (1991:198-266) has shown, the work of Brazilian novelists and poets is a source for illustrations of these two souls in the Brazilian breast. One of my own contributions to the study of Brazilian play is the article on the work of Brazilian poet Mario Quintana, read from the perspective of the playful seriousness of Brazilian religiosity (Droogers 1990f, Ch. 2 of this book). My best teacher about Brazil and its way of combining play and strength was an excellent student I had at the São Leopoldo school, João Guilherme Biehl. It helped me a lot to get acquainted with this inner tension in Brazilian society, culture and religion. It also helped me navigate Brazilian music, film and theater as a portrait of the national dilemma. In his letter he shows himself equipped with a

4. The Brazilian experience: power, commitment and a syncretic laboratory


very playful and creative personality. After studying theology, journalism and history in Brazil, he was able to continue his studies in Berkeley and earn a doctorate in religion and anthropology. I am proud to have contributed to his conversion from theology to anthropology. After working at Harvard, Biehl is now a professor of anthropology at Princeton. He is known for his award-winning work in medical anthropology on marginalized people in Brazil (Biehl 2005, 2007). In addition to the topics of power, syncretism and gambling, Pentecostalism inevitably turned out to be an important topic for me. At the time of my stay in Brazil, two-thirds of Brazilian Protestants were Pentecostals. Their churches were in a strong process of expansion. That was new to me. In the Congolese situation of the early 1970's I had not seen Pentecostal churches, while they are now found all over the country. The Kimbanguist church I met in Congo is now sometimes categorized as a Pentecostal because of its emphasis on the Holy Spirit. At the time of my research, lay members were beginning to refer to the church's indigenous founder, Simon Kimbangu, as the Holy Spirit incarnate (Droogers 1980b), a view that later became part of official church doctrine. The Brazilian Pentecostal movement took a slightly different form and was initially an established missionary product from 1910. But a second wave of expansion in the 1950s was mainly descended from native Brazilians, as was a third wave beginning in the 1970s. In addition, since the 1960s charismatic movements had emerged, first in the Catholic Church, sometimes encouraged by the clergy as a counter-movement to liberation theology. Later, charismatic movements also emerged in the major Protestant churches, including the IECLB. Belief in the Holy Spirit functioned playfully as a rehabilitation of the initiatives of lay believers, but it attempted to honor the laity differently than liberation theology did. The inspiration here was not class consciousness, but the idea of ​​the Holy Spirit being available to all. As a result, access to the sacred became direct and the faithful could evade clerical power. Everyone was free to play with the possibilities offered by the gifts of the Spirit. The horizontal axis was particularly dominant in the early stages of church development. However, if this first step was successful, an organization became necessary, and then the vertical axis was strengthened, limiting the freedom of the believers. In all varieties of Pentecostalism, therefore, power was an element that required vigilance, whether because, as in the first generation


Introduction: From Contingency to Continuity

Churches, did not yet assume a prominent role or because it was increasing in importance, as in the second and third generation churches. The freedom to experiment with the gifts of the Holy Spirit became restricted as processes of power began to play a role. The horizontal axis gradually lost importance compared to the vertical organizational form of the believers. In most cases, this also meant that women were subordinate to male authority. It was often the case that a third or fourth generation of believers rediscovered the origins of the church, created a schism, and started the cycle all over again. Such a division was indeed an increase that helped spread Pentecostalism. After five years in Brazil, it was difficult to leave Brazil. The family of four was infected by their vibrant and attractive culture and society. All four had sunken roots. It was difficult to make the decision to return to the Netherlands. I sometimes compare it to a basketball game between Brazil and the Netherlands, which the Netherlands narrowly won 90-89. Once again, my career depended on an almost arbitrary decision.

5. The Dutch Experience: Pentecostalism, Secularization and Luddism When I returned from Brazil in 1985, the Institute for Interdisciplinary Religious Studies at the VU, where I had worked in the years between my tenures in Congo and Brazil, was in trouble. because he had not lived up to the high expectations placed on him. In the end it was closed by the university management. I was transferred to the Department of Anthropology, where I became a professor. In 1989, when the chair of the Department of Cultural Anthropology of Religion, African Matthew Schoffeleers, retired, I applied for the position and was appointed. Going back to basics also meant going back to basics. Holding the chair for cultural anthropology of religion meant that I could and should set my own accents in teaching and research. It was an invitation to define "my" anthropology of religion. As a consequence, new insights into old and fundamental topics were presented. Various questions flowed into one another, as if the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle fitted together. After the stays in the Congo and in Brazil, the experiences I had gathered were able to flow into my reflections on the foundations of my type of religious anthropology. An important source of inspiration at the time was Sherry Ortner's article "Theory in Anthropology

5. The Dutch Experience: Pentecostalism, Secularization and Luddism


since the 1960s” (Ortner 1984) because it provided a framework for understanding cultural practice in the context of power and meaning. I felt validated and inspired to continue working on the topics that were now on my academic agenda. The Chair of Anthropology of Religions offered a platform on which I could further develop the ideas I had collected over the past two decades. As a first product, my inaugural lecture (Droogers 1990b) presented a pilot version of the three-dimensional model of religious groups that I later refined (see also Droogers 1995b and 2003d, both included here as Chapters 8 and 7, respectively). I distinguished between an inner, outer, and transcendental dimension, each with its own pattern of power relations, but contributing to a particular constellation of the relationship between making meaning and exercising power. Gradually I began to use the chair to stimulate research on changing worldviews in the Netherlands and on Pentecostalism. I also tried to explore the implications of the game concept, e.g. Gramm. for the delicate relationship between religion and science, also in religious studies. This prompted me to propose "methodological Luddism". I also wanted to show how much fun religion can be. I shall briefly discuss these issues, beginning with the situation of the Dutch worldview. The dynamics of worldviews in the Netherlands became a subject that I and the graduate students I had to supervise studied. In the committees that decide on research funding applications, this topic has not been in high demand for a long time. I made several attempts in the 1990s, all to no avail. Apparently, these committee members lived with the impression that religion had fallen into secularization and that religious research should therefore not be subsidized. But around the turn of the century, the secularization thesis that predicted the end of religion turned out to be wrong. Religion had changed and individualized, but was still very much present. Around this time I designed and coordinated the research program Between Secularization and Sacralization (BSS) (see Droogers 2007b; Droogers and Van Harskamp forthcoming). The VU University was willing to finance it. Statistically, the Netherlands was considered one of the most secularized countries in the world, depending of course on how one defines secularization. From an unchurched perspective, this seemed like a correct conclusion. The puzzling fact was that the exodus from the churches had not increased the percentage of atheists. These ecclesiastical yet non-atheists make up about two-thirds of the Dutch population today. This


Introduction: From Contingency to Continuity

The trends had been more or less documented by quantitative research, but little was known about exactly what happened to the people who left the churches. The BSS program was organized to examine five aspects of this process using qualitative methods: identity, ritual, experience, language and morality. He had a dual task: to study what could not be expressed in numbers and to devise methods by which to discover the transformations taking place. Projects on Islamic religious education and neo-paganism were added over time. A few years later, the Dutch Council for Scientific Research launched a well-funded programme, The Future of the Religious Past, as a sign that religion was indeed being revived as a topic of interest, although it still required an ambiguous reference to the past. . secularization thesis. Although the theme of secularization inspired the Council, I took the opportunity to reinforce my President's role in the study of the second theme mentioned above, Pentecostalism. I became the lead applicant and coordinator for a program on conversion careers and cultural politics in Pentecostalism: A comparative study across four continents. With projects in Nicaragua, Mozambique, Japan and the Netherlands, our program focused on the theme of power and meaning in the context of Pentecostalism. Pentecostalism is an interesting and relevant subject for several reasons. First, her global count sevenfold in 30 years, resulting in an estimated 500 million followers in 2005, is reason enough to pay attention to her. Churches can range in size from a hall fellowship of a dozen people to a multinational megachurch with millions of members. Pentecostalism also serves as a laboratory for observing a constellation of interconnected problems and tensions (Droogers 2005f). In this sense, the dynamism of its horizontal and vertical axes was important, as was its gender dimension. In their first-generation groups, the genesis of a religious movement can be examined in detail. What is striking is the presence of a number of paradoxes (Droogers 1998b, included in this volume as chap. 12), such as simultaneous emphasis on body and soul, horizontal and vertical tendencies, freedom of expression and strict control of the 'world' and yet model citizens, a Focus on the afterlife and the apocalypse as well as the here and now. The transnational and global framework of Pentecostal expansion has attracted the attention of scholars (see Droogers 2001e, included in this volume as Ch. 13). A challenge for me in studying Pentecostal growth is the question of the combination

5. The Dutch Experience: Pentecostalism, Secularization and Luddism


the role of external factors such as modernization, urbanization and feelings of anomie; and the role of internal characteristics, including a set of specific beliefs and practices. The latter have often been neglected in examining Pentecostal expansion, as if external social reasons provided a sufficient explanation (Droogers 2005f). The initial interest in explaining the Pentecostal expansion has recently been followed by more specific studies, e.g. Gramm. Focusing on health or on the presence of Pentecostals in the public space. Immigrant Pentecostal churches are also receiving attention, particularly in their inverted mission to re-Christianize secular Western Europe. When I started my work in the Department of Ethnology at the VU, I was already familiar with the subject of Pentecostalism. Pentecostalism had been part of the department's research program on Christian groups, which was one reason for my study of Christianity among the Wagenia. My colleague Hans Tennekes (Tennekes 1978, 1985) had previously dealt with the subject. I began coordinating a study group that met regularly for over a decade, with a rotating composition made up mostly of masters and graduate students who had been doing field research on a Pentecostal theme somewhere in the world. In 1988 a symposium was organized which resulted in two volumes: a smaller one in Spanish (Boudewijnse 1991) and later an enlarged version in English (Boudewijnse 1998). My article in the last volume (Droogers 1998b) is included in the present collection of articles (chap. 12). Later, I took the initiative to set up a think tank and start an electronic diary. These are now known as the Hollenweger Center and PentecoStudies, respectively. At the turn of the century, my university worked with the Universities of Birmingham (UK) and Heidelberg (Germany) to found GloPent, the European Network for Research on Global Pentecostalism, of which Uppsala University has now joined as the fourth member. Penteco Studies is currently published under the auspices of GloPent and also appears in print. GloPent has proven to be an important platform for research initiatives, including research grant applications. He also produced a handbook on the study of Pentecostalism (Anderson 2010). The GloPent infrastructure was helpful when applying for funding for the Future of the Religious Past program and also when the European funding agency NORFACE launched a program with the central question: The resurgence of religion as a social force in Europe? Our NORFACE project was a comparative study of a successful Nigerian church in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands. That's how I became a director


Introduction: From Contingency to Continuity

Applicants for two major research programs on Pentecostalism, with several postdoctoral and doctoral students working in different countries and on different continents. These colleagues have contributed significantly to my understanding of Pentecostalism. I also felt challenged by interdisciplinary contacts, as was the case in Congo and Brazil. Although I worked in the Faculty of Social Sciences, some of my research was conducted in the Department of Religious Studies in the Faculty of Theology. As in Brazil, my social science approach was well received as a complement to the research interests of my colleagues. My role was to emphasize the real and popular versions in that his speech referred only to the ideal and official religion. Therefore, the discovery of power mechanisms in syncretism (Droogers 1989d, chap. 9 of this book), which I discussed earlier, was my contribution to a volume on syncretism (Gort et al. 1989). The involvement of the Hollenweger Center and GloPents was a joint venture with other colleagues in the theological faculty. I have also participated in international interdisciplinary conferences such as the UK's Society for Latin American Studies (SLAS). A seminar I conducted with Susanna Rostas at one such conference resulted in a volume based on the idea that people could popularize even folk religions (Rostas and Droogers 1993). My contribution to this volume is included here (Chapter 4). The British Sociology of Religion Study Group was another inspirational framework to present and test the results of the BSS program (Droogers 2007b). My interest in the game helped me think about the basic problem of how to study religion scientifically, considering that science is also a secularizing factor. How can religious opinions and practices be fairly evaluated? In the social sciences, Peter Berger (Berger 1967) has suggested distinguishing between methodological atheism, theism, and agnosticism as possible scientific positions (rejection, acceptance, or omission of an opinion) in relation to religious truth claims. Academics can choose a different position in private life, but in academic work they must choose one of these three positions. I felt that these options were not exhaustive, especially as they represent the perspectives of researchers rather than acknowledging the perspective of believers. Methodological theism has yet to settle the issue of many truth claims, of which there are as many as there are religions. Furthermore, this position seems to have been added only to complete the triplet, as a counterpoint to methodological atheism. In my opinion, methodological atheism is simple

5. The Dutch Experience: Pentecostalism, Secularization and Luddism


and uncritical acceptance of the worldview that came with modernization and positivism. And methodological agnosticism may express uncertainty about the truth claims of religions, but in practice it is no different from the position of methodological atheism, which maintains the same distance from religious beliefs and practices. Inspired by what I had learned about the game, I proposed another position: methodological Luddism (Droogers 1996e, included in this volume as Ch. 14). Luddism naturally refers to homo ludens, and methodological Luddism invites scholars to use play as a tool to understand believers' claims to truth. My starting point for the notion of methodological Luddism was the definition of play as "the ability to engage simultaneously and conjunctively with two or more ways of classifying reality" (Droogers, 1996:53). The reference to the subjunctive comes from Victor Turner, who distinguishes it from the indicative (Turner 1988: 25, 169). Religion is a field in which human play ability finds application. But also participatory observation, the anthropologist's methodical trademark. Methodological Luddism is a variant of participant observation applied to the study of religious truth claims. Anthropological fieldwork on religion is fun on at least two levels: first, when believers play with the possibilities of a sacred reality, and second, because the anthropological fieldworker blends her own reality with that of the people she meets, examining them, including their relationships to the sacred reality. The field worker shares the gift of the game with the people under investigation. By combining participation and observation, the field worker journeys through these realities, attempting to understand the codes and experiences that are part of them. According to objectivist (neo-)positivist criteria, participatory observation is a questionable method. Instead of maintaining a safety distance as in the laboratory model in order not to change the situation under investigation, the field worker acts as a participant. However, the ethnographic literature amply shows that this approach produces interesting results. In methodological Luddism, this position, which uses the field researcher as a research tool, is taken a little further to break new ground in religious studies. But then the question is how the objective and subjective elements relate to each other. An important aspect in the search for an answer is that a secular view of religion easily coincides with an objective and distanced attitude. Religious studies, to the extent that it had to emancipate itself as a new discipline from Christian theology, often its field of origin, easily incorporated this objectivity into its identity as religious studies. But was this distance conducive to understanding religion?


Introduction: From Contingency to Continuity

Methodological Luddism challenges the researcher to adopt the believing view of reality. Even if it were only for twenty seconds, the field researcher could seek to learn what the people being the subject of his study find in their religion and truths. Rather than focusing on the position of the researcher, methodological Luddism includes the position of the researched. It is therefore more helpful for understanding truth claims than the triad introduced by Berger. The believer's inner vision tells us more about religion than how scholars approach a problem they have placed on their agenda of modernization—defined here as the application of science and technology in society. It would be helpful if scientists recognized the provisional nature of their budgets, even when they are adorned with the prestigious label of 'modern' or 'scientific'. Methodological Luddism, and interest in games more generally, could be justified in other ways as well. Constructivism, as a vision of the social sciences that incorporated much of the critique of (neo)positivist influences, emphasized the interaction between the researcher and the researched to find relevant knowledge (Guba 1990:27). As a result, even "hard" scientific knowledge became significantly softer. With regard to the relationship between science and religion, instead of the usual contrast, there are similarities, since human play is used in both forms of knowledge. This is most evident in the use of metaphor, since this type of symbol always works with two independent domains, one domain being made clear by the obvious and commonly accepted properties of the other. Whether one proposes that God is father or mother, or that society is an organism or a pyramid, one is playing a two-sphere game. The current "God debate" then becomes a rearguard action due to modernization, which is based too much on a (neo-)positivist mentality. Even staunch atheists enjoy lustful uses of playfulness, as in novels, theatre, opera, films, etc., even though these conjured realities are in principle as illusory as the damned religious realities. The other side of the coin, of course, is that both believers and methodological theists can be invited to become aware of the variances in religious belief and practice, and thus the relative nature of religious knowledge. Here the game can be contrasted with power, another human ability, but one that isn't as common as it is reserved for a few who can influence other people's behavior. In my opinion, religions are subject to power processes from the very beginning, which make demands that are derived from the needs of those in power.

5. The Dutch Experience: Pentecostalism, Secularization and Luddism


What is emerging on the fringes of society - a fertile zone for creative religion - will soon be brought under the control of powers that tend to occupy the center of society. Every successful religious movement suffers this tragic fate. Religious beliefs and practices are then altered from the start, reflecting the qualities of the powerful rather than the qualities originally ascribed to the holy. Atheists commonly address precisely the problematic dimension of power in religion, be it in its divine or human form, and with good reason. If believers, and especially their leaders, understood how power works, they would be able to enhance the human quality of their religion and encourage free meaning making. My search for play made me see a fundamental tension in the human role between the free creation of meaning as seen in play and the need for a constraining social structure to create continuity. I am not suggesting that there is a choice between meaning or continuity, play or power, but one could look for situations in which power is subordinate to meaning and allows for some degree of social structural continuity. Power then returns to its role as a means and ceases to be a self-sustaining end. Hard power then becomes soft power. I also don't want to imply that the game is "just" a game. On the contrary: sincerity is an integral part of the game. The spoilsport sins against this principle. The religious game should also be made serious, but it should also include humor: after all, this is a game with potential for the sacred, a serious game, but a game. So the truth can no longer be capitalized. It serves religious purposes as long as the religious game is active, but in the globalized world it is clear that there are other games, each with their own merits. The syncretists have known this for a long time and have been criticized for it by their clergy. The power mechanisms seem to have given so much space to seriousness that the game has often disappeared from view. In the religious realm, my approach represents a plea for unobtrusive forces that simply facilitate the primal play of ideas and practices that help people make sense of their dynamic lives. The exclusive tone, not to mention the fundamentalist attitude that accompanies strong powers, can then be toned down, allowing for openness to interfaith communities. This puts the question of truth claims in a different light and at the same time makes the application of methodological Luddism much easier. Moreover, interreligious dialogue can then be practiced on a broader scale and with greater participation than


Introduction: From Contingency to Continuity

currently done. The role of religions in causing, but also in solving, the problems humanity is currently facing (poverty, violence, environmental pollution and ethno-religious conflicts) can then be fruitfully discussed. When these views on gambling, power, methodological Luddism, and religion are combined, religion can be redefined for academic purposes. The constructivist perspective makes believers and researchers part of the same field. Interestingly, in both categories, play refers to similar dual options that structure their respective mental frameworks. Recognizing that both believers and scholars are symbolizers, particularly playing with metaphors and the realities they conjure up, and doing so in a powerful context, justifies this unification of what was considered separate under the influence of modernization in our industry (Droogers 2010h ). This makes the area of ​​religion a meeting place for believers and researchers. This is how I arrive at this definition of religion (Droogers 2008b:463): Religion is the field of experience of the sacred in the body, a field in which both believers and scholars engage, each category limiting the human ability to play applies mechanisms of power to articulate basic human dichotomies, adding an extra dimension to his vision of reality.

6. Summary At the beginning of this introduction I asked myself how I developed and how I got from chance to planning, from contingency to continuity. What did the agreements mean for the consistency of this set of pooled studies? Was there unity in the variety of themes? A preliminary answer can now be formulated. Looking back, it seems I played with the different possibilities (autobiographical, ethnographic, thematic, theoretical, academic) that I encountered in my professional life. This idiosyncratic constellation specified my itinerary to the exclusion of other possibilities. There were important people along the way who acted as guides to tell me how to proceed. The first encounter with the game, in the classroom with Jan van Baal, at the initiation of the Wagenia boys and while reading Victor Turner's work, was crucial. The Brazilian experience reinforced this interest in the game and added the dimension of power. The Dutch experience helped to synthesize the different aspects and to unify the game and the power in a single framework

7. About the structure of this book


when it comes to studying religion. The Dutch situation also required exploration of the boundaries between the secular and the religious in people's beliefs and practices, as well as in the study of religion. Since my field of study was to be characterized in the field of tension between freedom and structure, between play and power, my quite different experiences were able to lead to plausible generalizations and a common denominator. I have also learned to be critical of exclusive opinions and to deconstruct them whenever possible. Gradually I went from a distanced, more or less objectivist position to a subjectivist and compromised position. I now advocate a type of engaged scholarship that uses the study of religion with believers to contribute to religious freedom and an important role for religions in solving world problems (Droogers 2010h). Power, once it becomes an end in itself, seems to contaminate everything it begins to dominate. This fact should be an invitation to religious scholars to go beyond simply documenting the role of religions in world society and recommending ways in which the dominant and exclusive religious power can be transformed into a subservient and inclusive power. The playful side of religion, present from the beginning, can then be rehabilitated. Your creativity can be used to serve people's quality of life. Humanity can then move from contingency to continuity. The prerequisite is that strength and play are placed in a healthy symmetrical relationship.

7. The structure of this book The content of this volume reflects the author's itinerary described in this introduction. In designing the book, I tried to work from the pole of consistency rather than contingency. In fact, given the heterogeneous nature of the material, it was not easy to construct a coherent index. First, I had great difficulty deciding what to include and exclude, and how to organize the material that survived the selection. I had to discard some points that were close to my heart. Of course, every text I wrote had its own fieldwork, writing, and publication context. However, I tried to stay as true as possible to the idea of ​​organizing the book as a plot. This was of course an illusory goal as the only chapter I wrote specifically for this volume was this introduction. All other chapters were recycled from


Introduction: From Contingency to Continuity

other debates and other intentions. The book therefore does not claim to be a monograph. The articles I eventually compiled were written over a period of thirty years, during which time I have refreshed my mind on several occasions. Each of these texts represents a specific phase of my development and career. Sticking to religion, power and games was therefore an important decision to organize the shortlist and find some order in the chaos of lyrics that resulted from the selection process. I also found that I was repeating myself more often than I knew. Apparently the same idea can be used in different contexts and debates. Therefore, there is an unavoidable redundancy. The advantage, however, is that each chapter can be read independently of the others. Therefore each chapter contains its own bibliography and there is no general bibliography at the end. I hope that the reader can experience the repetition as somewhat didactically meaningful. In several cases, minor editorial changes were made if the text related directly to the context in which it was originally published. I was tempted to update my lyrics and incorporate newer literature and ideas. A lot has happened in the field of cognitive science, for example, from which I have taken connectionism as a useful approach. However, I resisted the temptation, mainly because the volume would no longer contain my complete essays, but would be a whole new book that I could continue to write in the future. So I accept that some of the ideas collected here are outdated, maybe even outdated. Nonetheless, the chapters illustrate the path my thinking has taken over three decades. Coming now to the structure of the book I decided upon, the three parts reflect the distinction between the general theoretical approach (I), the study of two specific areas (II) and methodological applications (III). Part I, entitled Marginality, Play and Power, comprises eight of the seventeen chapters and covers half of the book. The four sections of Part I are designed to present the major theoretical themes and concepts that have progressively become the focus of my work: “Edge,” “Reversal,” “Play and Ritual,” and “Power and Purpose.” . The approach I have taken is illustrated in two chapters per theme. The first section on "Margin" begins with a chapter (first published in 1980) that looks for symbols of marginality in the biographies of religious founders. The second chapter (1990) is a study of the religious elements in the work of the very playful and witty Brazilian poet Mario Quintana, who observed his society from its fringes.

7. About the structure of this book


The next section, entitled 'Inversion', begins with a chapter (2001) on the taming of the religious imagination. The reversal indicated here relates mainly to the rehabilitation of play in religion, which implies a concomitant reversal of power relations, which is expressed in symbolic reversals. The other chapter of this section (1993) deals with Brazilian folk religion. Here the reversal refers to the opposition to the official religion as well as the tendency of ordinary believers to make their own version of the popular religion. In the third part of Part I, "Play and Ritual," Chapter 5 (2005) presents ritual as a transitory emergence and playful representation of a shadowy reality. It's my way of saving a much discussed and criticized concept. The other chapter of this section (2001) takes as its starting point a church party in a small Brazilian town and uses this case to discuss a range of issues related to play, power and ritual. The last section of Part I is entitled "Power and Meaning". Chapter 7 (2003) introduces a three-dimensional model for studying this issue in religious groups and illustrates it for Christian communities. The dimensions relate to internal and external power relationships, with the third dimension being the relationship to divine or transcendental power. The other chapter of this section (1995) applies the same model to two Brazilian religions, Umbanda and Pentecostalism. It shows how the three dimensions of this model affect religious identity, an important feature in a pluralistic society like Brazil. Part II, "Two Camps," applies the ideas presented in Part I to two specific camps: syncretism, which is discussed in three chapters, and Pentecostalism, which is elaborated in two chapters. Chapter 9 (1989) offers a definition of syncretism that explicitly integrates the power dimension. Chapter 10 (2008) draws a comparison between syncretism and fundamentalism. The third chapter of this section (2001) shows how syncretism works on an individual level. A Brazilian tells the story of her journey through different religions. The other section in Part II is devoted to Pentecostalism, currently the fastest growing sector of Christianity. There are an estimated half a billion Pentecostals in the world now, mostly in the southern hemisphere. Pentecostals are strong at playing with their values ​​when adapted to the contexts in which they operate. Their practice includes idiosyncratic power processes. Chapter 12 (1998) discusses theories that purport to explain the spread of Pentecostalism in the Latin American context. This chapter is also intended to be a reflection on non-reduction


Introduction: From Contingency to Continuity

Zionist explanation of religious growth. Chapter 13 (2001) examines the connection between the growing number of Pentecostals and the process of globalization in which people experience the world as a place. Part III summarizes the "Methodical Applications". The first section presents my views on "methodological Luddism," while the second section explores the relationship between religion and science. Chapter 14 (1996) reprints one of the first texts in which I coined the term "methodological Luddism". The basic idea is that play is not only a crucial part of religious attitudes, but can also be part of the scholar's tool kit when trying to understand religion and its concrete expressions. The second chapter of this section (1999) analyzes the consequences of this approach for the definition of religion. The final section on "Religion and Science" attempts to unravel their problematic relationship, which is part of the scholarly study of religion, also recognizing that science was a secularizing factor. Chapter 16 (2005) is the result of a very personal reflection on this problem and its implicit dualism. Again, play is called for as the simultaneous presence of two types of knowledge. The last chapter of this section and the book (2008) could have been included in the Investing section as I am experimenting with the idea that the scholar and the believer are engaged in the same field when it comes to the study of religion, thereby reversing the usual spacing between the two. This essay covers almost all of the topics in this volume in an effort to arrive at a more effective way of studying religion and religions. The book closes with my bibliography. This bibliography is intended as an invitation to read the texts that did not make it into this volume.

Acknowledgments I would like to thank Henry Jansen for editorial advice.

Bibliography All references in this chapter to publications by André Droogers can be found in the separate bibliography at the end of this volume.



Anderson, Allan, Michael Bergunder, André Droogers and Cornelis van der Laan (eds.) (2010). Studying the Global Pentecostal Movement: Theories and Methods. Berkeley, etc.: University of California Press. Bastida, Roger (1978). The African Religions of Brazil: Towards a Sociology of Interpenetration of Civilizations. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press. Berger, Peter (1967). The Holy Canopy: Elements of a Sociological Theory of Religion. Garden City, New York: Double Day. Biehl, João (2005). Vita: Living in a zone of social abandonment. Berkeley, etc.: University of California Press. Biehl, João (2007). Will to live: AIDS therapies and the politics of survival. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press. Boudewijnse, Barbara, André Droogers and Frans Kamsteeg (eds) (1991), Something More Than Opium, An Anthropological Reading of Latin American and Caribbean Pentecostalism. San Jose, Costa Rica: DEI. Boudewijnse, Barbara, André Droogers and Frans Kamsteeg (eds.) (1999). More Than Opium: An Anthropological Approach to Latin American and Caribbean Pentecostal Practice. Lanham: Scarecrow. Da Matta, Roberto (1991). Carnival, villains and heroes: an interpretation of the Brazilian dilemma. Notre Dame and London: University of Notre Dame Press. Freire, Paulo (1970). pedagogy of the oppressed. New York: Ongoing. Gort, Jerald, et al. (Eds.) 1989. Dialogue and Syncretism: An Interdisciplinary Approach. Amsterdam/Grand Rapids: Rodopi/Eerdmans. Greenfield, Sidney M. and André Droogers (eds.) (2001), Reinventing Religions: Syncretism and Transformation in Africa and the Americas. Lanham, etc.: Rowman and Littlefield. Guba, Egon C. (1990). The dialogue of the alternative paradigm. In: Egon C. Guba (ed.), The Paradigm Dialogue. Newbury Park, etc.: SAGE, pp. 17 to 27. Jonckheere, Karel, (s.f.). Congo met het blote oog. Amsterdam and Antwerp: Meulenhoff and Diogenes. Lacerda de Azevedo, José (1997). Mind and Matter: New Horizons for Medicine. Tempe, Arizona: New Falcon Releases. Ortner, Sherry B. (1984). Theory in anthropology since the 1960s. Comparative Studies in Society and History, 26(1), 126-166. Rostas, Susanna and André Droogers (eds.) (1993). The popular use of folk religion in Latin America. Amsterdam: CEDLA Tennekes, J. (1978). Le movement pentecôtiste Chilien et la politique. Social Compass, 25(1), 55-80, Tennekes, J. (1985). Pentecostalism in Chilean Society. Iquique: CIREN. Thomas, Louis-Vincent, René Luneau, and J.-L. Doneux (1969). Les religions d'Afrique Noire: Texts and traditions sacrs. Paris: Fayard Denoel. Turner, Victor W. (1969). The ritual process: structure and antistructure. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. Turner, Victor W. (1988). The anthropology of action. New York: PAJ Publications.


Introduction: From Contingency to Continuity

Van Baal, J. (1971). Symbols for Communication: An Introduction to Anthropological Religious Studies. Axes: Van Gorcum. Van Baal, J. (1972). The Message of the Three Illusions: Reflections on Religion, Art and Play. Axes: Van Gorcum. Van Baal, J. (1981). Man's Search for Union: The Anthropological Foundations of Ethics and Religion. Axes: Van Gorcum. Van Baal, J. (1991). Message of silence / mystery as revelation. Barn: Have Have.

Part I Marginality, Play and Power

Marginal Chapter 1 Symbols of Marginality in the Biographies of Religious and Secular Innovators: A Comparative Study of the Biographies of Jesus, Waldes, Booth, Kimbangu, Buddha, Muhammad and Marx 1. Introduction With his books The Ritual Process (1969) and Dramas, Fields, and Metaphors” (1974), Victor Turner greatly stimulated the study of marginal or borderline situations. His field research among the Zambian Ndembu led him to search for the general characteristics of these situations. Many of his examples come from the realm of religion. In this article I will follow the path taken by Turner and develop the almost universal presence of marginal symbols in the biographies of religious leaders. My inspiration comes from Turner and from my own field research, also in an African context. In studying the initiation ritual for children and other initiation rites among the Wagenia (Congo), I discovered the recurring presence of a number of symbols indicating the temporary marginalization of people undergoing the ritual (Droogers 1980). I was surprised that some of these symbols were also used in the biographies of religious leaders. Despite their diversity, cultures seem to use the same type of symbols to indicate people's marginalization. These symbols can be factual, but they can also be artificial, constructed. Biographers may have based their writing on fact, but sometimes they also introduced margin symbols to standardize reporting style. For our purposes, however, this distinction does not seem to matter. This chapter examines boundary symbols, whether drawn from historical reality or not. The marginal symbols examined here, as I first encountered them in the Wagenia rites of passage, are: nature (versus culture), travel


Chapter 1. Symbols of marginality in biographies

and provisional accommodation (vs. sedentary life), nonviolence (vs. violence), solidarity or central concept of Turner communitas (vs. hierarchy), anonymity and humility (vs. name and fame), isolation and seclusion (vs. life in society), deprivation and trials (vs. comfort), filth (vs. purity), poverty and begging (vs. wealth), fasting (vs. food). Each of these border symbols is an inversion of the normal, of the universal. Temporal and spatial boundaries are also suitable transition symbols (e.g. night vs. day, water vs. land). In summarizing the biographies of some religious innovators, I will focus on the presence of these marginal symbols. Ironically, it is the leader's marginality that has often made him popular, despite his underhanded way of life. Sometimes the leader stays on the fringes, other times he moves into the center of which his fringe position was a negation and inversion. The religious innovators examined and compared here are: Jesus, Waldes, Booth, Kimbangu, Buddha and Muhammad. The comparison extends to the biography of a secular innovator: Marx.

2. Jesus Almost all of the marginal symbols mentioned above are present in the life of Jesus as presented by the evangelists. His birth is surrounded by reversals. He is born of a virgin. That doesn't happen with his parents, but during their absence, and even then not in an inn, but between the animals in a stable. Its presence is observed only by marginalized groups: shepherds and wise travelers from the East. When he is brought to the temple to be circumcised, only Ana and Simeon, two people on the border between life and death, understand its meaning. He has to flee abroad, to Egypt. Throughout his life he remains a marginal person. He is not married and does not belong to any faction within the theological elite. He wanders the land with the fishermen as his followers. His first public appearance is a visit to another marginal figure: John the Baptist, who baptizes him in the Jordan. His first miracle is performed during a wedding feast, a rite of passage. He has a soft spot for people outside of society: children, whores, innkeepers. He doesn't seem to like rich people. He is tempted when he fasts in the desert, and on that occasion he rejects absolute power. From time to time he provokes reversals: he picks ears on the Sabbath, heals the sick, and brings back the dead.

3. Waldes (Hardmeier 1960, Wakefield 1974: 43 – 47)


children back to life. In the Beatitudes, the suffering minorities are declared blessed. It tells stories about God who is represented absent, a man who has gone abroad. Even the universal law of reciprocity is subject to an inversion: "an eye for an eye" is replaced by "turn the other cheek". Hating the enemy will love him. Power is subordinated to solidarity. The master himself serves as a slave and washes the feet of his students. He claims he has no rock to lay his head on. He enters Jerusalem on a donkey, for a king is an unfit beast. After a last dinner he visits a garden. He dies on a cross, under the authority of a foreign ruler, between two criminals, marginalized people. Although the sign above his head states that he is the king of the Jews, he wears a crown of thorns. The final element in the investment chain is your resurrection. He will live forever. The first witnesses of his resurrection are women, not men.

3. Waldes (Hardmeier 1960, Wakefield 1974: 43-47) On a beautiful spring day in 1173, Waldes, a wealthy French merchant from the city of Lyon, saw a friend suddenly die during a pleasant conversation. This fixes his thinking on the question: What would become of me if I appeared before God so unexpectedly? Turn to a theologian who quotes Jesus: “If you want to be perfect, go, sell all you have and give to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven; and come follow me Waldes decides to follow this advice. You take steps to make sure your family doesn't suffer because of your behavior. He returns the interest paid by his debtors. Three times a week he distributes food to the poor, who gladly accept it because of the famine. Waldes becomes a preacher and appeals to the people to follow his example. "I have served creation instead of serving the Creator." In his opinion, the laity should also follow the ideal of the monks. He orders a translation of the Psalms and the Gospels into the language of the people. With nothing left of his former wealth, Waldes begins to beg, much to the annoyance of his wife, who begs the archbishop to let her husband order food just for his wife. In 1182, Waldes had to go into exile because the church authorities did not like his sermon. Waldes is considered a competitor of the clergy and is not even educated or called. He also continues to criticize the Church's wealth. As a result, Waldes and his followers have


Chapter 1. Symbols of marginality in biographies

to travel the country. They preach wherever they go. In 1184 they are excommunicated for heretics. So pursued and forced into hiding, they retreat to remote areas like the valleys of the Italian Alps. Their way of life is very simple. It is their habit to sleep in basements in simple beds. They refuse to join the army. Women can serve as ministers. The Waldensians reject the priestly monopoly on salvation.

4. Booth (Sandall 1947, 1950) On a June afternoon in 1865, William Booth, then 36, an independent evangelist of Methodist origin, was on the streets of London's East End listening to a group of other evangelists preach. They are on the vacant lot in front of a pub called The Blind Beggar. His interest in converting people makes Booth listen intently. These evangelists are Huguenots, refugees from France. When they're almost done with their show, the audience is invited to give testimonies. Booth jumps at the opportunity and goes public. The Huguenot group then invites him to join them in their campaign. The group has a tent in an old Quaker cemetery. A former pawnbroker, Booth knows the type of people who live in the East End and has a knack for catching their attention. During this campaign he makes converts. He eventually decides to stay with this team. Like Waldes, Booth is critical of the church. He is convinced that the working class cannot be reached through or through the churches. That's why he uses all sorts of profane spaces for his work: theaters, dance halls, even a horse stable. And of course there are outdoor meetings. He and his friends are often met with contempt and hatred. Almost from the beginning, women played an important role in the movement. Booth sees himself as an apostle to the Gentiles of East London. His group also distributes food and clothing. In the aftermath of the Civil War in the United States, an economic depression worsens the misery of the people. In 1866, a cholera epidemic claimed numerous lives. At first, converts are referred to churches, but it becomes clear that they seldom go and when they do, they are often not welcome. Also, Booth needs employees. The mediation movement thus became an institution in its own right: from 1878 it was called Salva-

5. Kimbangu (Martin 1975, Ustorf 1975)


National Army. Booth, once the "General Superintendent", becomes the general of a nonviolent army. Since this age is full of war and rumors of war, the symbolism was obvious. It was around this time that the hymn "Forward Christian Soldiers" was composed. Additionally, Booth's authority is strong and befitting the hierarchical position he holds. The uniforms had been in use for some time and now became standard attire.

5. Kimbangu (Martin 1975, Ustorf 1975) Marginality also dominates the life of Simon Kimbangu, a Congolese prophet who, in 1921 at the age of 32, founded a religious movement that now exists under the name Church of Jesus. Christ on earth through the prophet Simon Kimbangu. As a young man, Kimbangu had worked for some time as a teacher at a Baptist missionary school. In 1918 he repeatedly heard a voice telling him: "I am Christ, my servants are unfaithful." I have chosen you to testify before your brothers and convert them. feed my flock. Kimbangu flees this call by moving to the capital. But the calls keep coming. After some time he has to return to his hometown. Times are tough, the flu is rampant and after the First World War there is an economic depression. In April 1921, Kimbangu accepts his mission and manages to heal a sick woman. Various other healings follow. Kimbangu preaches to spark a religious and moral revival among Christians. In addition, his behavior reflects his concern for the plight of the city. His biographers disagree on whether he explicitly spoke out against whites. Nevertheless, his success as a preacher and healer is enormous, and that certainly has political consequences. People understand that the message has political implications. Eschatologically, liberation from colonial oppression is expected. When people don't show up for work to see the new prophet, their white employers complain to the authorities. A manager comes to Kimbangu village. Kimbangu is now depicted as a leader wielding a staff as a sign of his authority, a symbol of his own culture where prophetic leaders were not unknown. As part of the reception, Kimbangu reads the story of David and Goliath to the white steward. A few weeks later, an attempt is made to arrest Kimbangu. During the skirmishes, he manages to escape. For three months he hides, partly in the bush. He sometimes


Chapter 1. Symbols of marginality in biographies

he has to sleep outside. After hearing the voice of God again, he returns to his city, where he gives himself voluntarily and without violence. He is sentenced to death, but the death sentence is commuted to life imprisonment. He lived in exile until his death in 1951 without ever seeing his family again. During his exile, the movement he started reappeared from time to time, often with a distinctly anti-white stance. In the 1950s, in a church, the children of Kimbangu organize the various groups claiming to follow their father's tradition. After the country's independence in 1960, this church loses its political character and becomes an independent church. In 1972 there was a revival within the Kimbanguist church through a retreat in the forest lasting several days.

6. Buddha (Saddhatissa 1976) Leaving the religious innovators in the Christian tradition, we now turn to a religious leader from a different time and cultural tradition. Marginality is not limited to Christianity. In the year 560 BC The Buddha is born prematurely while his royal mother is on her way to give birth to her son in his parents' palace. She is drawn to a garden where she wants to rest for a while, and her son is born there. The name given to the baby is Siddhartha. He is to become king, but some sages predict that the prince could become a Buddha instead. This will only happen if the prince later witnesses four special characters represented by four people (clearly marginal): an old man, a sick person, a dead person, and an ascetic. His father, the king, does everything to avoid these encounters. Meanwhile, Siddhartha leads a happy life. He marries and his wife becomes pregnant. It was around this time in his life that Siddhartha, almost 29 years old, encountered the four individuals mentioned above, despite his father's precautions. The first three make him wonder if suffering is inevitable, and the fourth answers that question. He decides to follow the ascetic's example. At the very moment when Siddhartha decides to leave the palace, he becomes the father of a son and is thus subject to a transition that is doubly contradictory. He falls asleep during the celebration of his son's birth. He wakes up to find everyone asleep, and at midnight (a time limit) he leaves the palace. When he reaches the frontier of his father's kingdom, a river (a frontier in space), he shaves his head and dresses in orange. His name is changed to

6. Buddha (Saddhatissa 1976)


Gautama, with his family name. So he sets out in search of a way to escape the eternal return of suffering, wanders the land, lives as a beggar and strives to free himself from misery through meditation. However, he is not satisfied with his ascetic teachers. He searches independently. Your life is full of reversals: you eat raw food, you fast, you hold your breath for long periods of time. In summer it is exposed to the sun, in winter it takes icy baths. He is dressed in ragged clothes. At the new or full moon he sits alone in the burial grounds, unafraid of spirits or wild animals. Gautama leads this life for six years and then collapses. A shepherd finds him, gives him milk and takes care of him. Then comes the day of enlightenment. Gautama sits under a tree to meditate. Believing him to be a god, a woman who has just given birth brings him a thank offering in a golden bowl. Gautama takes this bowl to the river, bathes and eats. He places the bowl on the water and says, "If I want to attain full enlightenment today, let this golden bowl swim against the current." Happens. Gautama spends the rest of the day in the forest along the riverbank. At night he sits under a ficus tree, later known as the tree of enlightenment. The day is her birthday and so is the full moon as it was then. The Buddha, as he is now called by his biographers, proclaimed his message until his death, forty-five years after this date. Suffering will end when one ends one's attachment to the world. The ideal is to be free from desires and have no fixed home. One of the rules given by the Buddha is the prohibition against killing. Trade in weapons, living beings, meat, drinks and poisons is also prohibited. It is striking that Buddha and his disciples often prefer to stay in gardens, parks and forests. They are removed during the rainy season. Among her followers are untouchables who are marginalized in their own society and have had to clear up dirt, excrement and animal carcasses for a living. The Buddha rejects the caste system and is therefore disliked by the Brahmins of the time, who see him as dangerous and subversive. Seven years after Siddhartha became Gautama, he returns to his father's town and goes begging on the streets. His father is irritated and the son gives in. However, the father becomes a follower of the son. Buddha's seven-year-old son is ordained as a monk. Buda's half-brother, who is to be named his father's successor, also becomes a monk, a decision he makes on his wedding day.


Chapter 1. Symbols of marginality in biographies

Again, two contrasting transitions occur. At the exact age of 80, the Buddha died. The moon is full.

7. Muhammad (Guillaume 1968, Rodinson 1973) Accounts of Muhammad's life are not without symbols of reversal and transition. The moment Mohammed is conceived, a white light shining between his father's eyes disappears. Around the time of his birth, around the year 571, his father died. Therefore, it is more difficult to find a nurse for the child, since the absence of the father does not guarantee the salary. Halima, a member of a nomadic group suffering from hunger and at the moment not even having milk for her own child, nevertheless decides to become Muhammad's wet nurse. As soon as she lets Mohammed drink, her breasts overflow with milk, and she has enough for her own child. His old camel is also giving milk again and his donkey, which was extremely slow, is now running so fast that the others cannot keep up with her. For Halima's group, the famine is over. She nursed Muhammad for the first two years of his life. He stayed with her until he was six years old, a city boy among nomads. When Mohammed was six years old, his mother died and he moved in with his father's relatives. He grows up, becomes a businessman, stays single for a while and finally marries his employer, a wealthy widow. Wars are raging these days and some prophets are proclaiming the end of time. Mohammed, who is now in his 30s, is concerned about these developments. He adopts the custom of holding nightly retreats in a cave on the outskirts of Mecca in an inhospitable area. After some time he experiences the presence of God in visions. He hears a voice: 'You are the messenger of God.' There are more messages and visions. At the age of 39, Muhammad began to recite inspired texts. This is a physically painful experience, all the more so since Muhammad is unsure of the value of his experiences. Visions are common in those days, but Muhammad's visions differ from those of other prophets in his criticism of the current religious and social situation. He favors monotheism, while polytheism was normal at the time. Muhammad's messages pity those who are victims of the rich and leaders. Allah's overwhelming omnipotence is above and against the vain human might. Man is subject to the final judgment. Then your fortune will not do you much good, and you may regret not having done it

7. Mahoma (Guillaume 1968, Rodinson 1973)


given more to the poor. One of the messages is a reproach to Muhammad himself for being unkind to a blind beggar when he himself was speaking to a rich man. According to tradition, Muhammad once made a miraculous night journey to Jerusalem while his body remained in Mecca. Archangel Gabriel is your guide on a visit to heaven. The message of the prophet is accepted and more and more people believe in his words. Most of his followers appear to have been young and socially disadvantaged. The messages imply that God is interested in human beings regardless of wealth, kinship, or tribal affiliation. The leaders of Meccan society do not value Muhammad's message, particularly his monotheism. His followers are persecuted. Mohammed himself is protected by his clan. The news keeps coming. A ritual unfolds. The attitude during prayer is one of total humility. The prayers at this time are said at night, at sunrise and at sunset. Muhammad's message also has moral aspects. The Arab ideal of the arrogant, unkempt, clumsy and violent man does not fit the new faith. The value of a human life increases. Endless hospitality turns into organized charity. Those who fear no one should fear Allah. In 619, Muhammad's wife and adoptive father died. He loses the protection of his clan. The people of Mecca are adamant against this man posing as the Messenger of Allah. Meanwhile, new converts were being made in the oasis of Medina. More and more followers are hiding there and finally in the year 622 the same prophet goes there too. On the way to Medina, the Prophet and his two companions have to hide in a cave for three days. They then travel via a detour to Medina. Muhammad's presence in Medina ended the internal conflicts between the local tribes inhabiting this oasis. The new faith brings with it a new solidarity. From now on, Mohammed will live a less marginal life. The conflict with Mecca is deliberately sought. When a battle ensues, Muhammad and his followers win. This is seen as a sign that Allah is with them. Medina's society is becoming more and more like a state with a fairly absolute ruler. Military activities are normalized, laws are enacted, taxes have to be paid and the police enforce law and order. The movement is slowing towards institutionalization. The prophet becomes the politician. Islam fills the gap left by the defeat of Byzantium at the hands of the Persians. Finally, in the year 630, Mohammed is also worshiped in his hometown. But when staying in Mecca, the Prophet always lives in a tent, thus retaining marginal features. Messages continue to be revealed in this part of your life, but they are more prosaic and practical than your ears.


Chapter 1. Symbols of marginality in biographies

More poetic and spiritual texts. 632 Muhammad dies in the midday heat.

8. Marx (Banning 1961, Blumenberg 1965, McLellan 1973, 1975) When defining religion (Yinger 1970:3–16) in a substantive way, considering what it is and using terms such as the supernatural, Marx should not be included in this list of religious innovators. A working definition that focuses on what religion does, e.g. Gram. Solving “last” issues would allow to discuss his biography here. But even leaving that question aside, the mere presence of marginal symbols in Marx's biography justifies their inclusion here. Karl Marx was born in Trier in 1818 to Jewish parents. Marx's father just tried to escape anti-Jewish discrimination by becoming a member of the Evangelical Church. Marx grows up as a talented but troubled son. A secret engagement at the age of 18 sparks a conflict with her father that is still unresolved when her father dies two years later. For a long time, relations with his family suffered from this quarrel. As a student, Marx is strongly influenced by Hegel's philosophy, although he gets into polemics with the Young Hegelians. With his radical criticism of religion, the church and the Prussian government, Marx ruins his chances of a successful academic career. For a while he worked as a journalist for a Rhenish newspaper, but went to Paris when the newspaper fell under Prussian censorship. He married after seven years of courtship. In Paris he lives in a commune for a while, but this experiment fails. He begins to combine his philosophical interests with studying economics. He gets to know the French socialists and meets Friedrich Engels. After a year, Marx is expelled from France at the request of the Prussian government. Move to Brussels. He has since given up his Prussian citizenship. He will later try in vain to become a naturalized British citizen. Until the end of his life he has to live as a stateless political refugee. As Shaw pointed out, Marx stands outside the normal German and English societies of his time. It doesn't belong anywhere. As a result of the 1848 revolution in France, Marx is allowed to return to France. Revolutionary times also welcome Marx in Germany. He has been living in Cologne for almost a year, where he runs an editorial office.

8. Marx (Banning 1961, Blumenberg 1965, McLellan 1973, 1975)


Paper. He is then exiled again on the grounds that he is stateless. He returns to Paris but travels to London, where he will remain until his death in 1883. All these voluntary and involuntary journeys teach him what deprivation and poverty are. For him it is "a long night of sleepless exile". Your family's shaky financial situation is not only the result of unbalanced spending, but also of carefree generosity. Engels is a lifelong friend and financial help. Marx patronized the pawnbroker for a long time, until he was sometimes unable to leave his house for lack of decent clothing. The family goes through several crises. Three little children die. When the maid becomes pregnant, Marx is assumed to be the biological father, but Engels acts as the father at the registry office. By the end of the 1960s, the financial difficulties had been more or less overcome. But then sickness is a new cause of misery. In the last year of his life, Marx traveled extensively in search of a cure for his ailments. Even in a marginal position within European society, he also writes about people who are permanently excluded. The worker is alienated from his product, from his human nature, from those around him and from himself. The lowest stratum of society is the lumpen proletariat: “people without a permanent job, vagabonds, people without a home or home”. This involuntary marginality is replaced by a voluntary marginality: "Hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, raise cattle at night, criticize after eating, as I imagine, never become a hunter, fisherman, herdsman or critic". Hegel's dialectic even influenced Marx in his style. Reversals are a popular way of expressing yourself. After a period of transition from the dictatorship of the proletariat, capitalist society will have turned into a classless solidarity society. It is "a categorical imperative to destroy every constellation in which man is a humiliated, enslaved, abandoned, despised being". "It is not people's conscience that determines their being, but vice versa, their social being determines their conscience." "Just as it is not religion that makes man, but man makes his religion, so it is not the constitution that makes the people, but the people the constitution."

In general, Marx no longer experiences his work as he had planned it. The system is so huge that it can only write down the beginning. His way of working is restless. Sometimes after a month you no longer agree with what you wrote.


Chapter 1. Symbols of marginality in biographies

Marx never founds a party, and when French socialists make free use of his ideas, he says: "As far as I'm concerned, I'm not a Marxist." During a certain period of his life Marx was active in all sorts of organizations, mostly underground. But there are also phases in which he and Engels are completely isolated from what is happening in socialist circles. His favorite motto is "de omnibus dubitandum" - "doubt everything". In 1871 he wrote to a friend: "I have the honor of being the most abused and threatened man in London at this time." He continues to proclaim his ideas without caring that no one is listening to him anymore. It was only after his death that Marx's ideas became popular.

9. Conclusion Most of the marginal symbols found in the initiation ritual of the Wagenia children also appear in the biographies of the six religious innovators and one secular innovator, as summarized above. The results of the comparison are included in an attached table. It is clear that not all Wagenia symbols can be found in the lives of the people discussed here. Human meaning-makers can draw from a common pool, but they are certainly free to make their own choices. Making laws for the culture seems to lead to failure. The universal and the unique belong together. We find different types of investments. Most of the men discussed here did not follow the predictable course their lives seemed to take. Some of them began their religious leadership with a period of seclusion, others later had to pay for their public activities with isolation and exile. They all met with rejection from the established leadership. They all had among their followers people from the fringes of society. In all cases, solidarity was part of the message. As far as we know, these innovators often lived in a time of crisis, in a political, economic or medical sense. In a way, this supports Musgrove's thesis that “countercultures emerge with rapid population growth and intense migration associated with major economic transformations. Under these circumstances, traditional social ties are broken and old statuses are called into question” (1974: 196). Turner writes similarly when he notes that "millennialist and rejuvenating movements ... have their origins in periods when societies find themselves in a frontier between major arrangements of social structural relations" (1974:53).

9. Conclusion


In the lives of all these men, poverty played a role at some point. In five out of seven cases, the traveling and wandering was characteristic of a particular point in the life of the leader. Not all of them were left in the marginal position they occupied at a pivotal moment in their lives. Mohammed's success took him from the fringes to the center of his society, leaving the others partially marginalized, if partially institutionalized. Almost all had their defining moment in their thirties: perhaps a transitional period in a man's life. For our purposes, the content and style of the biographies were more important than their veracity. What counts is the image people have of the lives of their leaders, not life itself. One observation must be made, however. From the lives of relatively recent innovators, we can see that marginality is not just some sort of artificial literary symbolism. It's kind of a real presence in her life, even accidental at times. It is significant that these sometimes seemingly unimportant details have been remembered and found their way into the chronicle. This becomes particularly clear in the biographies of Booth and Marx. The experience of reality is a source of inspiration for rituals and myths. The local narrative amplifies the transformation of historical facts into legends and stylized myths. Innovations thrive on the fringes of society. It is clear from the life of Marx that this does not necessarily lead to religious innovation. Yet religion often thrives on the fringes, largely because it deals with the fringes of existence itself. It is often expressed in negative terms and concepts that express an alternative to the "normal" way of life. These religious innovators lived not only on the fringes of their society, but also on the frontier between human and deity. Durkheim (1912:65) identified the sacred as forbidden and separate. According to a working definition of religion, Marx is not a complete stranger to the society of religious innovators, although he did come to an anti-religious conclusion. Like the others, he occupied himself with the ultimate problems of human life. If Van Baal (1971: 219ff.) rightly asserts that religion offers a solution to the fundamental contradiction of being human, namely that man is both subject and object, then it follows that marginality is almost a defining characteristic of being human is . Man. Man is a solitary observer, distant from the observed and at the same time part of the universe, even its product. Not only are anthropologists


Chapter 1. Symbols of marginality in biographies

Participant and Observer: This position is fundamental to human beings. You can feel at home in society and even in nature, but you can also experience your universe as outside, above and against it. At some point in their lives, the innovators whose bios we've discussed felt that basic human loneliness. According to Van Baal, religion offers the opportunity to restore communication. In a personal relationship with his God, human beings belong to creation in a unique way and as creatures together with their fellow human beings. By giving names and meanings to his universe, man feels at home. Through the use of symbols he builds a bridge between himself and his universe. Symbols ensure communication. Communication creates participation. However, this bridge is vulnerable. Disagreements about accepted meanings destroy consensus. New bridges must be built. Man's ability to ascribe meaning to symbols can provide him with a spiritual home, but also unsettles him when new symbols and meanings are presented. The further a person moves away from the mainstream of his time, the more likely he is to be confronted with innovations. When these innovations are accepted in their society, the innovator's loneliness is ended, but the risk involved is that the innovator may no longer experience their ideas being accepted. But even accepted ideas can one day be the subject of criticism when a new cycle is announced. New innovators reject the tried and tested. Repetition is replaced by creativity, routine by a new language. When religious innovation thrives on man's fundamental marginality, it is no longer surprising that ritual passers-by and innovators are surrounded by the same symbols. Religious innovators must go through their private rite of passage to be initiated into their new role. Cultures make economic use of the means by which they express marginality. Since life itself provides the raw material for cultural expression, the supply of symbolic media is not unlimited. Despite cultural differences, there is still relatively little repetition of symbols, although the optimal place for the creative individual is on the fringes of society.



Note I would like to thank Matthew Schoffeleers and my colleagues at the Institute for the Study of Religion for their help and insight. Our thanks also go to Ms. Maartje Bonda for her secretarial support and Ms. Sheila Vuysje for her editorial advice.

Mohammed +

















Nature, outdoors, gardens, parks





hike, travel

















anonymity, modesty





Isolation, seclusion




Difficulty, Calvary






special clothing


poverty, begging






shave head hair


limits/margins in time



Boundaries/edges in space





Contact with marginalized people




Fringes among the followers



Age of Crisis


strained relations with the establishment




Buda +








It is easy

Table. The appearance of marginal symbols in the Wagenia ritual and in the lives of religious and secular innovators

+ +










+ +

























Chapter 1. Symbols of marginality in biographies

References Ban, W. (1961). Karl Marx: Leven, read in betekenis. Utrecht: classroom. Blumenberg, Werner (1965). Hetlev van Karl Marx. Utrecht: classroom. Droogers, André (1980). The Dangerous Journey: Symbolic Aspects of Children's Initiation among the Wagenia of Kisangani, Zaire. The Hague: Mouton. Durkheim, Emil (1912). Les formes lmentaires de la vie religieuse: Le system totmique en Australia. Paris: Alcan. William, A. (1968). The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ishaq's Sirat Rasul Allah, with an Introduction and Notes by A. Guillaume. Lahore etc.: Oxford University Press. Hardmeier, Rud. (1960). Little Waldensian story. The Wanderer from Country to Country, 34(1), 1 – 24. Martin, Marie-Louise (1975). Kimbangu: an African prophet and his church. Oxford: Blackwell. McLellan, David (1973). Karl Marx: His Life and Thought. London: Macmillan. McLellan, David (1975). marx. London: Fontana. Musgrove, Frank (1974). Ecstasy and Holiness: Counterculture and Open Society. London: Methuen. Rodinson, Maximus (1973). Mohammed. Harmondsworth: Penguin. Saddhatissa, H. (1976). Buddha's life. London: Mandala. Sandall, Robert (1947, 1950). The History of the Salvation Army, Vols. 1, 2. London etc.: Nelson. Turner, Viktor (1969). The ritual process: structure and antistructure. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. Turner, Victor (1974). Dramas, fields and metaphors: symbolic action in human society. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press. Ustorf, Werner (1975). African Initiative: The Active Suffering of Prophet Simon Kimbangu. Berne/Frankfurt: Long. Van Baal, J. (1971). Symbols for Communication: An Introduction to Anthropological Religious Studies. Assen: Van Gorcum. Wakefield, L. (1974). Heresy, Crusade, and Inquisition in Southern France 1100–1250. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. Yinger, Milton (1970). The scientific study of religion. New York and London: Macmillan and Collier Macmillan.

Chapter 2 The playful seriousness of Brazilian religiosity: Mario Quintana on religion “I've always been a metaphysician. All I think about is death, God, and how to live out a comfortable old age” (Quintana 1980: 54). "We must listen to the voice of religion, even if it is closer to poetry than to science" (Alves 1984: 82).

1. Introduction Mario Quintana, a Brazilian poet, was born in Alegrete, a city in the interior of the southernmost state of Brazil, Rio Grande do Sul, in 1906 and has lived in this state all his life. He worked as an editor and translator for a publishing house and as a journalist. From 1940 he published several collections of poems and aphorisms. He also wrote children's books. Several anthologies of his work have been published. He is known as the poet of Rio Grande do Sul, but has also made a name for himself nationally since the 1960s. He died in 1994 in the state capital, Porto Alegre. Over the decades, his style has become increasingly simple. He says of his own poetry that it is "natural and simple like water cupped in the hand" (1989:26).

He is a master of wordplay, he says a lot with few words. He always manages to show the other side of the coin in a brilliant way. His favorite themes are: time, love, death, religion, everyday life, poetry and his own youth. In this article I will discuss Quintana's views on religion. Religion is very present in his work, although other topics seem to be discussed as well. Some of the titles of his works have religious connotations, such as "Magic Mirror" (1948), "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" (1950), "Notes on Supernatural History" (1976) or "The Color of the Invisible" (1989). . . . It is not easy to give a systematic overview of the ideas of an author who said this


Chapter 2. The playful seriousness of Brazilian religiosity

"A poet is essentially a dramatic being, which means contradictory, which means true... Yes, an author who never contradicts himself must lie" (1983:21).

However, as I will show, precisely in this paradoxical and ironic attitude towards serious religious questions, Quintana is a representative of Brazilian religiosity. That he does not only speak for himself can be seen from this statement in an interview: "By expressing my feelings as honestly as possible, I express the feelings of all people" (Turiba 1987: 116).

In the first section, Quintana's views on contradiction and paradox are presented. Then I look at how he combines poetry and religion. In a separate section I will discuss how Quintana plays with alternative views. Special sections will be dedicated to Quintana's views on morality and the concept of God he uses. It's interesting to see what Quintana has to say about the official religion. In conclusion, the connection to Brazilian religiosity is discussed. I will also explore the relevance of poetry to anthropological research on religion. Throughout the text, I let Quintana speak for himself as much as possible, showing his signature style.

2. Contradiction is the norm Joy is very evident in the way Quintana scoffs at overly serious rationality and logic. Straightforward thinking is not paramount for an author who, under the heading A Bit of Geometry, says "a curve is the most comfortable path between two points" (1983:105). The little poem (or aphorism?) 'On Contradiction' (1985:85) puts it this way: 'If you've contradicted yourself and they accuse you... smile. Because nothing really happened. It was your thought that found the other pole of truth by itself.'

As mentioned above, the poet is not only allowed to contradict himself, but also defines himself through the inconsistency of his opinions. “Simultaneity” is the title of this dialogue (1989: 67): “- I love the world! I hate the world! I believe in God! God is absurd! I will commit suicide! I want to live!

3. Poetry and Religion


- You're crazy? - No, I'm a poet.

Similarly, he comments: "A lie is a truth forgotten to have happened" (1986:65).

And again (1983: 94): “I'm not one of those people who think one thing one day and completely different the next. I think both at the same time.

Contrary to established scientific methodology, he comments: "A fact is a secondary aspect of reality" (1983:124).

and that "the right answer is not important: the essential thing is that the questions are right" (1983:54).

Regarding the difference between poetry and prose, he comments: "If poetry has progressed, it has been to avoid logical explanations, the expository style typical of prose" (1983:161). “The function of the poet is not to explain himself. The poet's function is to express himself” (1988: December 7).

Hence “if anyone asks an author what he means, one of them must be an ass” (1980a:57).

Also, opinions must be distinguished from poems: "When you have an opinion, never forget to put the date... But why date a poem?" (1983:167).

3. Poetry and Religion Quintana believes that poetry and religion have much in common. When he talks about religion, it must be taken into account that Christianity is usually meant. However, the meaning of the observations is often broader. Poets are familiar with creativity and with the eternal. According to Quintana, in Genesis, the biblical creation story, a verse was accidentally omitted: "And behold, when God rested on the seventh day, the poets continued the work of creation" (1983:6).


Chapter 2. The playful seriousness of Brazilian religiosity

Poetry is "a kind of chronicle of eternity" (1986:110).

Quintana sings of the poet's beauty, affirming: "The poet is beautiful because his rags are made of the stuff of eternity" (1980b:115).

For Quintana, poetry and Christian ritual have something in common. He uses the image of the Eucharist for communion between the poet and his readers, the poem being his bread and wine (1989:125). In the poem "If I were a priest" Quintana says that in that case he would not speak of God or sin, nor would he quote saints or prophets, he would quote poets (1984b:39). Poetry was there from the beginning (1983: 148): “In the beginning was poetry. In the human brain there were only images... Then came the thoughts... And finally philosophy, which ultimately is the sad art of remaining outside of things.

Poets were instrumental in the rise of religion. Quintana referred to the notion that "poets created the gods and demigods to personify things visible and invisible..." (1983:154). “…the poet humanizes things: hesitates the leaves, covets the wind. Perhaps God will give man such a soul...” (1988: August 20). “For something to really exist, a god, an animal, a universe, an angel, someone has to be aware of it. Or that he simply made it up” (1983: 15).

This even leads to the question: "If man were to disappear, what would become of things, what of God?" (1983:31).

To the question "Are there angels?" Quintana replies: "They must surely exist, given the insistence with which they appear in my poems" (1983: 69).

If poetry has this role, then it is said: "Outside of poetry there is no salvation" (1985: 9).

However, the poet is not alone in his sensitivity to the divine.

3. Poetry and Religion


"Heaven and children understand me" (1984b:18).

Under the title “Meditation for Christmas Day” Quintana (1983:37) writes: “Ah! The trust that a praying child has... Innocent trust. Happiness. Who among us prays with joy? It seems there really is only the God of children... God is unfit for adults.”

And elsewhere (1984b: 16) other marginal categories are also mentioned: "Among the mad, the dead and children I sing our common wishes and hopes in a never-ending dance!".

According to the poem "Communication" a prophet can be a fool (1985: 120): "... but the Great Message, who would say it? It was really from that prophet who everyone thought was a fool just because he walked the streets naked with a huge all-white shield..."

A corollary of poetry's role in religious experience is that one need not seek another world to discover the mysteries: "Please leave the other world alone!" The mystery is here” (1986:119).

In a poem "Canción de Domingo" (1986:34), Quintana asks: "Was heaven on the road? Was the road in heaven?

In another text he refers to these verses and says (1980a:113): 'Because the poet's kingdom... well, don't tell me it's not of this world. The poet does not limit this world and the other: he unites them. The poet's kingdom is a kind of united kingdom of heaven and earth.

Poetry, and thus religious interest, distinguishes man from other creatures. In the following statement (1983:162), Quintana uses the word bicho for animal, which in Brazilian Portuguese can also be used colloquially among friends: “There is a world for every kind of animal. But for every animal of the human species there is a different world."


Chapter 2. The playful seriousness of Brazilian religiosity

It should be read in conjunction with the poem "As covas", "Los hoyos" (1985:156), "covas" also means "tombs". The word "cu" used here for firmament can also mean "sky". “The animal makes a hole in the ground when it wants to flee from others. In order to flee from himself, man has made a hole in the firmament.

Religion and poetry must be counted among the universals (1983:156): "All ancient civilizations...always began with the discovery of three things: poetry, drink, and religion."

4. Beyond Doubt One should not think that poetry is the maximum expression of the other reality: "...Poetry lives between the lines, it lives in the pure white of the paper" (1989: 98).

Words often fail precisely because of their inconsistency. Therefore writing is something sad (1984a: 149): "Every word is a dead butterfly pricked on a leaf: therefore the written word is always something sad..."

Writing about his death (1986:22), Quintana says: "What I would like is to preserve some deformed poems which I have tried in vain to correct... How beautiful is eternity, dead friends, for the slow torments of expression... '

Referring to another picture, he affirms (1989: 84): "The painter's palette, confused, restless, multicolored, is almost always more beautiful than what is painted on the canvas."

Elsewhere (1980a: 63) the problem of expression is formulated as follows: "One thinks one thing, and ends up writing the other."

4. Without a doubt


and the reader understands a third thing... and while all this is happening, the thing itself begins to suspect that it was not itself.'

And again (1983: 80): "Once the matter is explained, the mystery disappears!"

The poem "Interrogations" (1984a:18) shows the connection of this open ending with religion: "No question needs an answer. Every verse is a poet's question. And the stars... the flowers... the world... are the questions of God.”

Therefore (1983:171) "...when they corner you about what you meant to say with a poem, ask them what God wanted to say with this world..."

This attitude leads to a permanent misunderstanding. The poem "On the Eternal Mystery" (1985:40) refers to the last perennial question: "There is another world...another life..." But what's the use of going there? Just like here, your perplexed and lost soul will not understand anything...

Under the title "Parenthesis" (1985: 50) only these words appear: "(In the middle of the maelstrom of the world The Poet prays without faith)"

A short sentence entitled "Camouflage" (1980a:54) suggests: "Hope is a vulture painted green".

Proselytism is viewed with skepticism (1983: 71): "Why changedoubts?".

However, it is not an attitude of atheism or even agnosticism, but a game of alternatives, of ways of defending the mystery. Quintana criticizes scholars who are infidels:


Chapter 2. The playful seriousness of Brazilian religiosity

The trouble with those who study superstitions is that they don't believe in them. This makes them just as suspect when discussing the subject as a biologist who doesn't believe in microbes."

Religion ist nicht das Opium des Volkes: „I would say that the opium of the people is work“ (1983: 29).

Or also (1983: 158): “Poets are the only ones who cannot speak against the absurdities of religion. Even those who see themselves as materialists are cleverly mistaken: poetry is a symptom of the supernatural.

A paradox can also be found in the following statement (1983: 101): "The soul is that which asks us whether the soul exists."

In the end, poetry seems to outlast religious doubts and even religion itself, as in the poem “El Camino” (1980a: 96): “The king passes by with his entourage. The god goes past the coffin in his procession. And thousands of years later, only the wind blows in the blooming apple trees on this road.

Oder auch (1986: 47): 'The only forever things are the clouds...'

All these elements and some more can be found in the poem "I look at my hands" (1986: 126, 127): "I look at my hands: they are not strange, Just because they are my. But it's so strange to stretch them so slowly, like those anemones on the bottom of the sea... Suddenly close them, fingers like carnivorous petals! However, I only catch with them that intangible sustenance of time that sustains and kills me, continuing to shed thoughts as spiders weave webs. Which world do I belong to? In the world there are stones, baobabs, panthers, water hums, the wind blows And above the clouds endlessly improvise. But none of it says "I exist". Meanwhile, time begets death, and death begets the gods And full of hope and fear we perform rituals, we invent

5. Moral


Magic words, we make poems, bad poems that the wind mixes in the air, confused and scattered... Neither in the sky star nor in the starfish That was the end of creation! But who then eternally plans the intrigues of such old dreams? Who guides this questioning in me?

5. Morality Due to the lack of clear and definitive answers, ambiguity and paradox are also very evident in Quintana's statements on moral issues. This short section introduces some of them. A statement entitled "Inquiry into Unconsciousness" (1983:151) states: "There are nights when I cannot sleep because of regret for what I have failed to do".

In a poem On Good and Evil (1988: February 17) he put it this way: “Everyone has their charms, both the saints and the corrupt. Nothing in life is all bad. You say that truth bears fruit... Have you seen the flowers that give lies?

So this sin has its attraction (1988: Dec. 12): “If God, like Satan, seeks to attract souls...why does he leave sin by this smooth path, this deadly sweetness, and making good a bitter fruit? '

In these circumstances heaven loses its attractiveness, as the poem On Restless Hope (1988: December 16) suggests: “You know well, Lord, that the highest good is that which may not go beyond an illusory desire . Never give me heaven... what I want is to dream it In the happy turmoil of purgatory.'


Chapter 2. The playful seriousness of Brazilian religiosity

A similar message is conveyed in the "Poem for Julian the Apostate" (1984a: 63). Julian the Apostate was one of the last Roman emperors to try to stop the spread of Christianity. “In the days of the gods, everything was simple like them and natural and human and they ruled the world. But a usurper and unique god came and made the world incomprehensible because his kingdom was not of this world. And to this day no one has understood why he then drove out the other gods and reigned alone and made all men to sin, which they had never done before, for to sin in innocence is not a sin... And men knew the wondrous horror of the Sin - and so the new God brought them a new lust.'

Consequently (1988: December 5) Quintana asks, "Who knows if the devil is not God's Mr. Hyde?"

But in relation to the poor and the rich he affirms (1988: June 1): “It is difficult for a rich man to get into heaven (so the people say, and they are not mistaken), but much more so is is for a poor man to stay on earth.'

6. God It is interesting to note how many of the verses and phrases in Quintana's work speak of God with religious references. This is surprising since Brazilian religions, with the exception of Protestantism, rarely speak of God and refer much more to Mary, saints, spirits or oryx (West African gods popular in Afro-Brazilian religions). In Quintana's opinion, the existence of God is not questioned, as can be seen in this fable (1985:109): "The fly debating: 'No! God does not exist! Only coincidence rules earthly existence!

6. Good


The Spider: "Glory to you, Divine Providence, that you have lured this fly into my humble web!"

Under the title Wrong Question (1983:168), Quintana writes: “Do I believe in God? But what value could my answer have, yes or no? What matters is knowing if God believes in me.”

God exists, but the image of God that Quintana alludes to is, as might be expected, quite contradictory. The common image of the old man with a beard is present in one of the poems (1980a:6), although the beard is special: it resembles the beard of Emperor Dom Pedro II, whose portrait is known to most Brazilians. But there are other, more confusing allusions, like this one from the poem “La construcción” (1980a:114): “They built the Tower of Babel to ascend to heaven. But God wasn't there! He was among them and helped build the tower.

In the “Poem for Julian the Apostate” quoted in the previous section, God is presented not only as a god who promotes sin, but also as a usurper who, once one among many, ruled over the other gods (1984a:63). ). However, in the same anthology, Quintana inserts a poem entitled “El Dios vivo” (1984a:64) immediately after this poem, in which he adds other elements to his concept of God. God is not in heaven. God is at the bottom of the pit into which he was cast. - Cain, what have you done to your god? His blood-stained nails scratch in vain on the slippery walls. God is in Hell... It is necessary that we give him all our strength, all our efforts, to at least bring him to the face of the earth. And then put him at our table and give him our bread and our wine. And don't let it get lost again. Not even to lose myself in heaven again!

Similarly, the poem "Mundos" (1988: February 6) focuses on this world rather than the other world:


Chapter 2. The playful seriousness of Brazilian religiosity

“God created this world. However, man began to become suspicious, pensive... He certainly didn't like what he saw very much... And soon he created another world."

In one of his poems about death (1980b:73), Quintana also refers to God: "- to die is simply to forget the words. And we will perhaps recognize God without the terror of the word GOD!”

It is difficult to understand God (1983:18): "A soul without a mystery would not be a soul... Just as an understandable God would not be a God".

Its uniqueness precludes understanding. This uniqueness alone implies that only God "could say what solitude is" (1983:20).

Although Quintana at one point uses the phrase "sever like God" (1983:16), God is also described as tolerant and understanding. So when he claims that the church bells in small towns don't ring mass, but the pretty girls in the church square, he adds that God doesn't care, for those girls are life itself, and in these small towns He is still called "Lord our God" (1980b:81). Similarly, when the child grows up, it forgets what it used to pray for, but at this stage God is still listening to those early prayers (1989:33). "Prayer is a lack of faith: our Lord knows very well what he is doing..." (1983:168).

The following “Dialogue” (1989: 50) uses other images for God: “- What did God do before creation? - He slept. - And then? - He kept sleeping. - But shouldn't he care about the world? - The world dreams: it even dreams that we both have this conversation... - Heavens! Be quiet! - Speak softer...'

Similarly, time is called "the sleeplessness of eternity" (1983:179). The mocking tone is much stronger in 'Sabotage' (1985:35):

7. Official Religion


"They ruined the great spectacle of Judgment Day by detonating every H-bomb in existence before the verdict and left in the middle of the desert -- mysteriously smiling, the false teeth of Jehovah."

Despite these kinds of jokes, Quintana warns us elsewhere (1983:74): "Our Lord has not the slightest sense of humor: he takes everything seriously... He does not toy with him."

7. Official Religion Quintana does not have a very high opinion of established religions. The poem 'Dogma and Ritual' points out (1980a:90): 'Dogmas terrify like thunder, and how frightening to err in the order of rites! For this, God is simpler than religions.

In a related epigram, Quintana links established religion to class (1980a:112) using the savage/civilized distinction: 'At first contact with the savage, how afraid we are of violating ritual, violating a taboo ! Everything is a meticulous ceremonial, transgression of which they will not be forgiven. Did he speak of the savages? But it's the same with the civilized. Or even worse. If you ever associate with "society" people, you must be very careful: they are so primitive...

Regarding religion, Quintana is very critical of the "Subtle Doctors" who will ask after an enlightenment experience, "How is it possible without indoctrination?". (1984b:18).

He wants to refute them, even though they call him the village idiot (1984b: 79). In a note entitled "The Eternal Problem" (1983:79) he comments: "Deliver men from the demagogues, yes... But how do you deliver God from the theologians?"

Theology is described as


Chapter 2. The playful seriousness of Brazilian religiosity

"the longest way to reach God" (1983:89).

Of intermediaries Quintana (1983:129) says: "I do not get used to priests, critics and drinking straws... Nothing replaces the taste of direct communication."

However, lay believers can be worse than priests. Writing about boring people, Quintana says, after mentioning some categories (1983: 146, 147): “Ah! I almost forgot the converts of all religions. Secular converts are the worst. As for the priests I know, it speaks in their favor that they always talk to me about other things. Either they take me for a hopeless case or a guaranteed case... Well, either way, they leave me alone.

8. Conclusion What is the significance of this private worldview for research into Brazilian religiosity? One could say that the opinions described above are quite idiosyncratic. They represent a man's religion. However, Quintana is very popular and widely read. Breathe in the Brazilian culture too. This culture has been described as ambiguous (DaMatta 1979, 1986, 1988, 1991; see also Willemier Westra 1988). She moves between two poles, one rational, logical and hierarchical, the other emotional, improvising and balancing. The most striking feature, according to DaMatta, is the simultaneity of opposites: "Brazilian society presents ample combinations and connections that at first sight seem completely out of place or even impossible" (1988:125). Quintana is a good example of this simultaneity. He clearly sympathizes with the more flexible second pole, but this means that he has an endless discussion with the representatives of the first pole and sometimes even shares their opinion. When it comes to religion, he believes that official religion is hierarchical and rational. His own views add to the ambiguity and welcome confusion that Brazilians seem to have a monopoly on. Oddly enough, Quintana once compared Russian and Brazilian religiosity, emphasizing their lack of fanaticism (1983:89): "It is enough that we have read Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy (as have all of my generation) not to doubt that the Russian people are deeply religious. We are not. And for that very reason, like them, we will never fall into the unrelenting mysticism of atheism by transference. They are fanatical atheists. We are not fanatically religious. Moral of the story: the trump card is ours.

8. Conclusion


One of the expressions of the second pole is the "Malandro", a kind of trickster figure whose behavior makes good use of the first pole, mocking it and at the same time surviving at its expense. This is done in a very funny way, seemingly taking things seriously but laughing behind her back. Quintana shows a certain affinity with this "Malandro", particularly in his use of ambiguity and his critique of the rational and hierarchical. This ambiguity, as we have seen, is evident in his use of themes such as the existence of God, the origin of religion, the existence of the "other world", direct religious experience through poetry, the discrepancy between expression and explanation, and especially in his views on morality. The fact that God is so central in his ideas suggests that Quintana is a good representative of what I have called Brazilian minimal religiosity (Droogers 1985, 1988). It is a form of religiosity that is not tied to any of the institutionalized religions, but permeates all of society. Its main vehicles are the mass media. Their spokesmen are not clergy, but secular public figures. The concepts of God and faith are central to him. A humorous use of religious terms is characteristic of Brazilian minimal religiosity. In Quintana the last move corresponds to his literary style. A serious message is conveyed through humor and puns. The way you make fun of religion and religions, even God, doesn't necessarily mean you don't take them seriously. His criticism of religion and religions, especially institutionalized religions, is not a sign of secularization. It's a way of balancing belief and disbelief. In this way, the dimensions of religion can be explored better than through official sacred or secular-critical views. In Quintana's approach, religion is much more experiential and therefore much more alive, although it pushes the limits of religious experience. He is aware of the role of humans as creators of meaning (Crick 1976). For the anthropologist studying religion, Quintana not only provides an example of minimal Brazilian religiosity, but his views on contradiction and paradox, however stylized and exaggerated, contain a critique of a purely scientific approach to religion. Reality does not lend itself to overly schematic representations. Since science and religion are often presented as opposites, a scientific view of religion can be particularly suspect to religious people. Strict scientific criteria can narrow the social scientist's view of religion. Therefore, it is


Chapter 2. The playful seriousness of Brazilian religiosity

it is worth putting yourself in the believer's shoes, even if only as a test. Participatory observation is familiar to the anthropologist. One must remain aware of the vague boundary between science and religion. In his emphasis on the role of words - in his case poetry - Quintana makes us aware that both science and religion depend on the use of words, often the same words. This does not mean that science and religion no longer need to be separated. However, we must not forget the relativity of this distinction. This means, in my experience, that even if the religion student puts aside their personal worldview for the moment, religion, particularly in the idiosyncratic form it takes in Quintana, continues to influence personal reflection. At the same time, the poetry challenges the religion student to be aware of the words used in the social sciences to express and explain religion. Poetry is not the perfect medium for expressing religion, but it is able to evoke aspects of religion that would otherwise remain hidden. Steiner (1989: 3, 4) went further when he argued that "any coherent description of human language's ability to convey meaning and emotion is ultimately supported by the assumption of the presence of God...especially the experience of aesthetic meaning...infers." the necessary possibility of this "real presence". The seeming paradox of a "necessary possibility" is precisely what the poem, the painting, the musical composition are free to explore and depict.

For me, the Brazilian simultaneity, as shown in Quintana's paradoxical work, made this clear. This leaves us with the bewildering question of whether, if the mystery is in the words, perhaps it is also in the words used by students of religion. If the answer is yes, the distance between poetic and scientific language is not as great as one might think, at least not in religious studies. It may also turn out that mystery is no longer an option but a necessity (Van Baal 1990: 67).

Acknowledgments Special thanks to Sheila Gogol for her editorial advice and to my son Bart for his comments on the first draft of this article. Unless otherwise noted, references are to Quintana's works.



References Alves, Rubem (1984). what is religion Maryknoll, New York: Orbis. Crick, Malcolm (1976). Explorations in Language and Meaning: Towards a Semantic Anthropology. London: Malaby Press. Da Matta, Roberto (1979). Carnival, Bats and Wounds: For a Sociology of the Brazilian Dilemma. Rio de Janeiro: Zahar. Da Matta, Roberto (1986). Or which face or Brazil, Brazil? Rio de Janeiro: Rock. Da Matta, Roberto (1988). Football: opium for the people or drama of social justice? In: Da Matta, Roberto (1991). Carnival, villains and heroes: an interpretation of the Brazilian dilemma. Notre Dame, etc.: Notre Dame University Press. Da Matta, Roberto (1988). Football: opium for the people or drama of social justice? In: Banck, Geert and Kees Koonings (eds.) (1988). Social Change in Contemporary Brazil: Politics, Class and Culture in a Decade of Transition. Dordrecht/Amsterdam: FORIS/CEDLA, p. 125-133 DaMatta, Roberto (1991). Carnival, villains and heroes: an interpretation of the Brazilian dilemma. Notre Dame, etc.: Notre Dame University Press. Droogers, André (1985). De minimal religiositeit van de seaderheid: Een brief uit Brazilië. In: (1985). Religions in a new perspective: Studies on interreligious dialogue and religiosity at Grondvlak, Aangeboden aan Prof. Dr. DC Mulder. Kampen: Kok, pp. 88 – 108. Droogers, André (1988). Brazilian minimal religiosity. In: Geert Banck and Kees Koonings (eds.) (1988). Social Change in Contemporary Brazil: Politics, Class and Culture in a Decade of Transition. Dordrecht/Amsterdam: FORIS/CEDLA, p. 165-175 Quintana, Mario (1980a). Prose and verse. Porto Alegre: Globe. Quintana, Mario (1980b). hiding places of time. Porto Alegre: L&PM. Quintana, Mario (1983). Caderno H. Porto Alegre: Globe. Quintana, Mario (1984a). Apontamentos of the Supernatural History. Porto Alegre: Globe. Quintana, Mario (1984b). Glass nose. São Paulo: Modern Editorial. Quintana, Mario (1985). New poetic anthology. Porto Alegre: Globe. Quintana, Mario (1986). 80 years of poetry. Porto Alegre: Globe. Quintana, Mario (1988). political newspaper. Porto Alegre: Globe. Quintana, Mario (1989). A cordo invisvel. Porto Alegre: Globe. Steiner, Georg (1989). real presences. London, Boston: Faber and Faber. Turiba, Luis (1987). Quintana or everyday zen-do observer. Humanities, 4(12), 116,117. Van Baal, J. (1990). Mystery as Disclosure. Utrecht: ISOR. Willemier Westra, Allard (1988). Symbolic Paradoxes: The Internal Dynamics of Candomblé Popular Religion in Alagoinhas, Bahia. In: Geert Banck & Kees Koonings (eds.), Social Change in Contemporary Brazil: Politics, Class and Culture in a Decade of Transition. Dordrecht/Amsterdam: FORIS/CEDLA, pp. 195-215.

Inversion Chapter 3 Paradise Lost: The Taming of the Religious Imagination 1. Introduction In this article the focus will be on religion as an institution which on the one hand seems to inhibit play and at the same time to serve as a grain of frivolous imagination it lies on its field, bears of Fruits from time to time and with obvious consequences. Religions differ in the extent to which gambling is discouraged or encouraged. The demands of the social order, represented by a class of religious and political specialists, often run counter to the creative imagination. Religious players can become heretics and subversives, and their suppression is at the same time taming the potential for multivocal play. The powerful prefer the clear verbal logic of direct speech because it serves them much better. With that in mind, this article develops a theory on the relationship between religion, gambling, and power. Although expressed in objective terms, this theory has slight normative traits in the sense that its application can improve quality of life and human well-being. The admittedly religious metaphor of paradise suggests that something essential has been lost and is worth restoring. Based on a cultural-anthropological version of what can be considered typical of human clothing, the game receives special attention. Although a human ability does not necessarily have to be identified through the application of that ability, it is worth considering what happened to a human gift like gambling, especially when it appears to have been domesticated, especially in modern times. Their application in religion is discussed, and due regard is given to the role that power processes "play" in their domestication. Towards the end of the article, the ways to get the gaming paradise back are also discussed.


Chapter 3. Paradise Lost: The Taming of the Religious Imagination

2. Human clothing For more than a century, cultural anthropology has drawn several portraits of man. Since these portraits are quite well known, I will only summarize the ideas relevant to understanding the game. A popular view portrays people as inescapably united, despite each person's individuality. Culture is socially shared. People want to belong to society and even to nature, to feel part of both, while maintaining their individual uniqueness and individuality (Van Baal 1981). They combine resemblance and difference, identification and identity and play with them depending on the situation. They share basic social and symbolic structures and yet manage to translate them into personal and social diversity. For this reason, but also because social processes can become independent, there are changes in the basic repertoire located in social and symbolic structures. The social order can be considered sacred in many societies, with power mechanisms that guarantee its continuity, but it cannot escape transformation. Part of the debate about human clothing has revolved around the twin concepts of agency and structure, with agency representing voluntarism, subjectivism and a micro-level approach (people as puppeteers, society and culture as puppets), structure representing determinism. , objectivism and a macro approach (society and culture as puppeteers, people as puppets) (Archer 1988:ix,x). Cinematically, the agency is best symbolized by the lone free rider in westerns, while the image that encapsulates the structure is that of Charlie Chaplin in Modern Times being pulled through the machine on the assembly line in the running machine. Any emphasis on structure raises the question of how change and disruption can occur, while an emphasis on agency raises the problem of how any form of social or cultural order and continuity is possible. For a long time, the two approaches fought each other or simply ignored each other. Efforts have been made over the past two decades to present agency and structure as two sides of the same coin, the coin being called “practice” or “practice” (see, for example, Bourdieu 1977, Giddens 1984, Hall 1996, Keesing 1994, Moore 1975, Ortner 1984, Sahlins 1985). Agency and structure are thus presented as bedfellows doomed to fail. The structure needs agency to reproduce itself, while agency operates within and depends on the structural framework.

2. Human clothing


While the individual cannot survive without some degree of order, he willingly takes risks by playing ironically with the existing order or more seriously defying it and proposing alternatives; the support of others is then essential. In the construction and reproduction of their own identity, the individual always experiences the tension between continuity and break, between "this is me" and "may a thousand flowers bloom". In short, humans move between the not always coincident extremes of structure and agency, chaos and order, individual and society, continuity and rupture, essence and flow. There is a specific human tool that seems to operate on both sides of the spectrum, paradoxically acting both as a cause of the actor's loneliness and as a remedy that re-engages the actor with the structural whole. I mean the human gift of making and using symbols. Symbols represent something else, like a condensed version of an element in reality. Religion, with its focus on a non-empirical reality, relies heavily on symbols. With metaphorical symbols, the symbol and what it represents belong to different domains (“God is my father”), while with metonymies there is continuity within the same domain (“in Bateson you can read about the game”). In the first case, I compare a religious entity to the person who is central among my relatives, and in the second, I take an author's name to refer to his publications. In both cases, parts of reality are named and a map of reality can be drawn. Communication between people and living with reality, natural or supernatural, is made possible by symbols. By using symbols to interpret reality, man implicitly sides with the observer, and reality is thought of as something separate and external. The symbols are therefore fundamental to the construction of the observer's individual consciousness. Once there, however, individuality is experienced as incomplete because it thwarts feelings of belonging and identification. And here the symbols function not only as a trigger for feelings of separation, but also as a promise of totality, a unified reality. Metaphors do this by bringing together normally separate domains (religious experience and kinship), while metonyms represent the role played by contiguity as a reference to the whole (pars pro toto, the published work representing the author) (cf. Fernández 1986 ) . In summary, symbols can make people feel separate and part of it (Van Baal 1981). Like anthropologists, they reconcile observation and participation. And by participating, they get to share that


Chapter 3. Paradise Lost: The Taming of the Religious Imagination

same or similar symbols with other people, which is another way to connect the actor on a structural level.

3. Simultaneity and Schema There is one more aspect that needs to be emphasized before discussing the relationship between human dress and play. It is about the simultaneity that seems to characterize the human condition described in the previous section. People are able to orient themselves both individually and socially, and do so at the same time. You can use or look at the symbol and at the same time remember what it represents. In spatial imagery, in addition to the temporal metaphor of simultaneity, the human being stands apart from reality, observes it and yet is part of it and wants to be part of a larger whole. Identity has both an individual and a cultural dimension. Additionally, individuals know how to play with more than one identity depending on context and strategy. The extremes mentioned, structure and agency, chaos and order, the individual and the social, continuity and rupture, essence and flow, all require a sense of simultaneity, just as postmodern relativism has drawn attention to the coexistence of different visions and opinions. interpretations, even in the same person. Findings from cognitive research seem to validate this human capacity for simultaneity, showing that the human brain is extensively equipped to focus on more than one thing at a time. I am referring to connectionism as understood by cognitive anthropologists who study the ways in which cultural knowledge is constructed and organized (z. 78). The new intuition that connectionism brings is that knowledge not only obeys so-called propositional logic, which works primarily with the left brain and represents knowledge as it is verbalized in a sentence, one word at a time; but that there seems to be another kind of logic that resides in the right hemisphere and works on what is called "parallel distributed processing mode". In connectionism, knowledge is presented as a series of networks, each of which creates connections between processing units that function as neurons. These networks can be activated simultaneously, and connections between them and between neurons can be made on the fly. New insights change the connections and

3. Simultaneity and schemas


Connection weights between process units. The schema concept is used to indicate the networks that are assumed to be the locus of a generic concept. Being generic, schemas are minimal models or scripts used for interpreting and managing reality. Its central role in connectionist logic should not be understood as a denial of propositional logic, for as soon as a conclusion is reached after brief consultation of a set of candidate schemas that might fit the event or phenomenon, that conclusion is verbalized by propositional logic. Schemes can be compared to bureaucratic forms that need to be filled out on a case-by-case basis, but are themselves empty and minimal. Examples of often-cited schemas are the restaurant schema or the doctor-patient schema, which summarize the basic elements of a visit to a restaurant, any restaurant, or to a doctor, any doctor, regardless of differences between the two visits themselves Restaurant or doctor (D'Andrade 1995: 126). Schemas are mostly used routinely, such as in writing, reading and recognizing these words and thereby on a more synthetic level recognizing the "train of thought" that the words seek. They help make reality predictable and recognizable. Systems can compete for priority. What happens if you visit your doctor while having lunch with him at a restaurant? Which of the two schemes prevails? Does the meeting fit into the scheme of a business lunch? Events and phenomena need to be categorized, mainly through the available schemas. When they don't fit and the routine fails, new schemes must be developed through practice. Since "perestroika," parts of the former Soviet Union have spent decades finding new schemes for their political and economic organization. In the case of science, the most guiding schemas are called paradigms. Here, too, if the schemata offer no interpretation, new schemata are developed and a paradigm shift occurs. But schemas often serve routine behavior. It is the anthropologist's task to decipher the routine patterns of a cultural environment and the changes taking place therein. In the case of an alien context, the anthropologist must do so without ethnocentrically using his own cultural schemas. He or she must also be aware of the possibility that even anthropology's own conceptual schemes are products of North Atlantic culture and colonial history. Schemas have the advantage of helping to control diversity since different events can be reduced to a few categories. So plans


Chapter 3. Paradise Lost: The Taming of the Religious Imagination

Once verbalized, they serve to establish order and continuity. Being minimal and simple, they take into account the differences between similar cases through the mechanism of family resemblance. However, since they are adaptable, space can also be given for breaks and transformations. What is important regarding the aspect of simultaneity in the human condition is that connectionist logic affirms the human ability to consult archives or parallel repertoires simultaneously until the schemas are found that correspond to the event or phenomenon to be interpreted and that with it accompanying behavior script appropriate to the situation. The simultaneity perspective allows people to distinguish without separating and to discriminate without monitoring similarity. There is a parallelism with the idea of ​​the "rhizome" coined by Deleuze and Guattari (1976) associated with their replacement of schizoanalysis with psychoanalysis. Typical of the rhizome is that it is a regime of pure pluralities, while its opposite, the "arborescence," represents unifiable pluralities (Guattari 1996: 211). Here too we touch on the problem of diversity and similarity, with the rhizome representing the extreme and enduring state of diversity, endless connections and heterogeneity irreducible to simpler structures, not even to the concept of diversity (Deleuze and Guattari 1976: 18 , 21 , 35, 60). In social science theory, connectionist logic allows for an eclectic and multiparadigmatic vision, making scholars aware of the limitations and assumptions of each vision, and thus of the complementary nature of the paradigms presented as exclusive. The anthropological methodology contains a century of experience with such simultaneity through the fieldwork experience of participatory observation, although concretely some fieldworkers end up closer to one of the extremes, participating as much as possible in the society they are studying or withdrawing into the position Observer.

4. Play Hitherto, human clothing has been presented as a delicate but effective constellation of dichotomies, allowing for the simultaneity of the individual and social, agency and structure, chaos and order, belonging and isolation, continuity and rupture, essence and flow. Participation. and observation, propositional logic and connectionism. We can now turn to phenomenology.

4. Spielen


game name. Much has been written about it. I will not repeat what has already been said, but will present a definition, used previously, that emphasizes the simultaneity present in play (cf. Handelman 1998: 70). I define play as "the ability to engage simultaneously and conjunctively with two or more types of reality classification" (Droogers 1996:53). However, the terms used in this sentence require explanation. I prefer the term "ability" to "mood" because it indicates the dynamic nature of the game. Of course, this may seem like too much "agency" and not enough "structure," but it should be clear enough by now that I'm not using agency and structure as mutually exclusive opposites. There's another reason I prefer the reference to ability: because it brings into play other universal human abilities, such as symbolism, language, culture, and power. The aspect of simultaneity has already been introduced. The game allows a variety of visions of reality. It's a way of distrusting what seems clear and obvious. Pruyser (1976: 190) speaks of the player's "double consciousness", while Ehrmann (1968: 33) emphasizes the simultaneity of the game and its seriousness. Lifton speaks of the "protean self", "a self of many possibles" (1993: 4, 5), referring to the Greek mythological Proteus, who was able to change his appearance. Lifton (1993: 50) also uses the term "odd combinations". The game is all about a so-called "stereophonic" perception, in which the elements of two channels are combined at the same time. Through this double perspective, the game is capable of articulation, i. My. the creation of connections between different and dissimilar elements (Slack 1996:114). In terms of articulation, play is - according to the definition given above - the ability to articulate different ways of classifying reality. The relationships between the elements so articulated need not be corresponding, but may also be non-corresponding and contradictory (Slack 1996: 117). The game fascinates, surprises and, above all, is fun due to the unexpected "strange combinations" in its schemes. Thus, a recast of an indigenous myth of the Brazilian Amazon through a traditional motif, namely the battle between the sun and the moon, can express what modernity means for this people and articulate what is experienced as contradictory. The traditional mythological figure of the sun is said to wear western clothing and a watch, and is then criticized by the moon for its anti-Indian behavior (the example is from a BBC video documentary Forest Dreams on the Mehinacu Xingu Indians, 1993).


Chapter 3. Paradise Lost: The Taming of the Religious Imagination

As Handelman (1992; 1998: 69; Handelman and Shulman 1997: 37ff) has noted, there is a strong affinity between play and paradox. Paradoxes also contain a double perspective. A paradox is self-critical in the sense that it "explains alternatives even as it attributes equal value to those alternatives" (Handelman 1992: 6). In terms of the game definition presented here, using a paradoxical scheme is a way to deal with multiple types of reality classification at the same time. "One cannot play without changing values, without changing the value of reality, without changing realities" (Handelman 1992: 6). Connectionist logic facilitates paradoxical thinking because, as we have seen, it allows the simultaneous consultation of different schemas and the articulation between these schemas. Handelman (1998: 70) adds that in our dichotomous cultural traditions play is understood as paradoxical and used to overcome uncertainty; In his view, however, the game is not inherently paradoxical, since, as we shall see later, much depends on the nature of the cosmology. The aspect of conjunctiveness is inspired by Victor Turner's work on liminality and communitas (eg Turner 1988: 25, 169) and is related to that of simultaneity. Turner distinguishes between the indicative, represented by the clear and unambiguous "as it is", and the subjunctive, the marginal or liminal realm of the suggestive "as if". The latter is used to express "belief, desire, hypothesis, or possibility" (Turner 1988:25). It is the domain of the human imagination. Through play, reality can be classified and interpreted in more than one way, as in Bateson's wink (Bateson 1973): This may seem like a struggle ("as it is"), but the meta-message is that it isn't is ('as it is'). Yes '). The callsign seems to be catching on, but we know better, right? The subjunctive counts. The meanings that are part of the indicative mood are feigned as the game distorts the experience (Lindquist 2001:20). The other side of the gambling coin is uncertainty and precariousness (Handelman 1998: 63), particularly when there are no supporters to share the game, or when the original motive of the game is abandoned and the form of the game is manipulated to suit interests serve . individuals.

5. Game, power, modernity The double perspective of the game suggests that reality allows for more than one instruction manual. This can have political consequences. The powerful in every era of human history and in every cultural context, but most noticeably in modern society, are not enthusiastic about risk.

5. Play, power, modernity


the uncertainty and insecurity of this game represent their alignment with reality. They will attempt to frame the game and use it for their own ends. While play has no goal and is self-referential (Lindquist 2001: 16), power has a real goal, i. My. tries to influence the behavior of other people and thereby creates a certain social order. When meanings are feigned and the experience distorted by play, it can mean that social order is compromised, as if the meanings of the traffic lights were different. Play is closely related to vagueness and liminality (Handelman 1998: 64, 65). Turner has been criticized for considering pure liminality and communitas to be extremely rare and because hierarchy and competition were always at play (eg, Eade and Sallnow 1991, Sallnow 1981). Turner himself had already used the term “liminoid” to indicate that liminality is not manifested in its purest form in modern society (Turner 1974:16). Social life, even if only in the form of a two-person dyad, requires a degree of predictability; its participants must have some prior knowledge of the actions of others. This requires an authority, whether religious or political, to set the rules, ensure their predictability, and impose sanctions on those who break them. This survival mechanism of social order reduces the ability to play with meaning. However, this displacement does not have to be the end of the game, because the game could be useful for maintaining social order. Although obviously the antithesis of power, gambling (once tamed) can be used as a tool to further the ends of the authorities (Handelman 1998: 70). If the game can be regulated and thus becomes a game, it becomes acceptable and has a legitimate place (Handelman 1998: 70). The same process of falsifying experiences can then be used in a centralized and coordinated manner to strengthen society as planned by its leadership, as totalitarian regimes of all times and places have amply demonstrated. In modern contexts, the anniversary of what is commonly referred to as "the revolution" is an occasion for such regimes to put on an impressive, symbolic, and seemingly playful performance that conveys the message that the revolution brought about a better society. Sport was greatly stimulated by these regimes for the sake of national glory and with the consequent general rule that athletes achieve more when their governments are more totalitarian. But totalitarian regimes do not have the exclusive right to this strategy. Soccer World Cups and Olympic Games, despite the globalizing rhetoric of the opening, represent a "high tide" in the use of the game for nationalism.


Chapter 3. Paradise Lost: The Taming of the Religious Imagination

Production ceremonies with Ludwig von Beethoven's scheme "All men become brothers" as the central element of the show. Deer taming has an even greater scope and influence. Especially in the West, but also increasingly in the rest of the world, modernity has played its part in simulating meaning and distorting experience. It has also established the dominance of work over play, relegating the latter to its own sector, just as it has marginalized religion through secularization. In parallel with what the political sector was doing to play, the economic system applied the same domestication strategy, subverting play to its own ends and creating the globally active leisure sector of mass media and the entertainment industry and tourism. It offers ready-to-use games, eliminating the need for the active and creative role of the consumer in the game. Control the game and use its pleasant rewards to make profit and create jobs. The Disneylands and Hollywoods of the world provide a substitute playground, as do McDonald's life-size clown puppets present a similar scheme. Play has reappeared in a separate time from work, as has work. In the entertainment industry, sport has become professionalized so that this form of gambling has become a separate industry and thus work, watched by a modern leisure class with a paying mass audience. This shows that in the current situation, human ability to play is severely limited. The campaign of the political and economic rulers against the beginnings is so powerful and so successful that the cultural reality is defined under a different aegis. Consequently, the unequivocal order in contemporary human relationships is seen as both normal and desirable. The original and creative "Let it play" is replaced by the hedonistic imperative: "Have fun (buying our services and products)". In this case, contrary to the Judeo-Christian paradisiacal attitude, an ideal order is lost, but in the name of an ideal social order, social control through courtship and rewarding immediate pleasure prevents people from returning to the paradise of the playground. Since they depend on this order to survive, they usually adhere to it. Though human nature, at heart, knows better, people dare not risk the uncertainties and penalties that come with choosing more innovative paths. In late modernity, only postmodern skeptics give gambling a privileged place in their vocabulary, a distant echo of what has been lost through the modernist domestication of gambling (Rosenau 1992: 39, 117, 135). However, the suppression can never be complete as the game itself is a source of opposing tendencies. The way it is managed in society creates

5. Play, power, modernity


In man there is an inner conflict between the dormant longing for a lost paradise and the submission to the hegemonic situation of oppression accepted in the Gramscian sense, which despite its cultural and historical origin is considered "natural" and normal. Humor has always been a weapon against totalitarian leaders who take themselves too seriously. Modern consumers have their own way of deciphering pre-digested messages and are notorious for not buying everything the entertainment industry has to offer, sometimes resulting in large financial losses (Fiske 1989). Interestingly, the economic system even explores possible self-criticism when, for example, it sells millions of copies of Dylan and Marley protest songs, or when it introduces fashion styles intended to deviate from the mundane, such as worn and worn. ripped jeans. Ultimately, there seems to be a framework of dependency and protest that can take the form of a cyclical movement. The game's subversive power is perceived as a threat by the political elite. The economic powerhouses see the game as a source of income. Consequently, the game is tamed and controlled and placed at the service of the institution and its purposes. Efforts can be made in response to restore the game's original context, but always with the risk of almost immediate institutionalization of leadership and supporters. And yet, in modern society, domestication seems so radical and financial interests so massive that it begs the question as to whether the cycle can continue. So there is a fundamental contradiction in the human condition that adds another dimension to the fundamental dichotomies mentioned above, e.g. Gramm. Structure and agency, chaos and order, the individual and the social, continuity and rupture, essence and flow. The expansion of the process of constructing meaning that comes with the gift of play collides with the control that an inevitably necessary social order wants to impose on its actors through its authority. Power and play don't go together that easily. Power, understood as the ability of authorities to influence the behavior of people in general, even against their will, is exercised to establish a viable and ideologically desirable unambiguous order that is presented as exclusive and unique. Play, understood as the individual's ability to envision multiple realities simultaneously, if not domesticated, can pose a threat to interest groups. This prevents the game from becoming subversive (Handelman 1998:70; Turner 1988:169). What could be a model for a new reality becomes a mirror.


Chapter 3. Paradise Lost: The Taming of the Religious Imagination

from the currently prevailing definition of reality (Handelman 1998: xii). The modern economic system reinforces this tendency. Well, let's not idealize the game. Even without the goal of later taming by the powerful, the game itself is capable of dominating people in such a way that fascination turns into obsession. The game already has an inherent dimension of power as it can influence the behavior of people. It can distort the way individuals live and ultimately destroy them. Likewise, it must also be said that the social restriction of gambling is not only negative. The social framework can keep the game's potential alive, but it can also destroy it. This is perhaps why pure play, like pure liminality, is a rare phenomenon, certainly as a social phenomenon. Man can try to realize his individuality in a playful way, but he cannot live without the social framework and must accept limitations as a necessary evil. And yet, with this reservation, people can only be what they are, and play is never entirely supplanted, despite the same people's strategic interest in a practical and pleasant social order. In other words, innovative actors must calculate the consequences of their “subversive” behavior. When they are unable to share their experiences with others, they risk sanctions, isolation and social exile, which undermines the social order on which they depend and causes disruption in the lives of others. However, your search may also lead to another company. The former "underdog" can become part of the leadership of a society. Turning now to the relationship between religion, play, and power, it becomes clear that religious innovators throughout human history, from Buddha to Muhammad to Jesus of Nazareth, have taken these risks and shown that the dual perspective is indeed the case is , gambling can lead to dramatic social and cultural changes (Droogers 1980, Chapter 1 of this volume).

6. Religion, Power, Gambling When considering the relationship between religion, gambling and power, we must first clarify what we mean by religion. Religion has been defined in many ways, but in general there are substantive and workable definitions. Substantive definitions refer to a transcendental reality (e.g., belief in God, gods, and spirits), while functional definitions emphasize what religion does for individuals and society (e.g.,

6. Religion, Power, Gambling


give answers to the ultimate questions about the meaning of life and death). In functional definitions, some explanation is often implicit (e.g., religion is society's worship of sacred beings, or religion is a projection of human insecurity and hope in sacred beings). When play is understood as the ability to concurrently and conjunctively engage with two or more configurations of reality, it has more in common with a substantive than a functional definition of religion. The transcendental reality central to a substantive definition derives from the gift of play, in which two types of reality are distinguished. In some cases these realities are radically separate (e.g. God as the totally "other"), just as two realms are distinguished and connected in metaphors. In others they are linked to the believer experiencing a single reality in close and mystical contact with the sacred, just as in metonymy the frame of reference is a domain. In the first case the distinction between the natural and the supernatural makes sense to the believer, in the second it does not. However, a functional definition also testifies to the human ability to play when it is implicitly linked, for example through religious declarations, to another area of ​​reality, the social, existential or cognitive, for which it is considered useful. In functional definitions and explanations, on the other hand, the religious domain is often reduced to the needs of one of these other domains. In doing so, a feature of religion that does not appear to be very functional at first glance is ignored: its symbolic abundance. As mentioned above, the symbols are used to indicate the absent and the invisible, both of which are hallmarks of the sacred. Token competition is stronger than the need for efficiency. Where a practical central symbol would suffice for functional purposes, the essence of a religion's message is actually expressed in a variety of ways. It is this religious diversity that shows the player in action. The other reality to which he or she is connected and to which the substantive definition points is as varied as the play can express the subjunctive. Van Baal (1972) has pointed out the similarities between play and religion and also art. In his opinion, people have to deal with the existential tension that exists between individual uniqueness and individual integration into a larger whole. The individual stands apart and yet is part of the overall reality. Play, religion and art, even if they are illusions (a word etymologically related to the “ludens” of homo ludens), create a sense of belonging. The game does this by creating a fictional reality:


Chapter 3. Paradise Lost: The Taming of the Religious Imagination

as Lindquist (2001: 20) would say, through 'feigned meanings' - with which the player identifies. Religion offers an empirically unproven way of communicating with supernatural reality. Art is a way of transforming reality into a symbolic reality that can be enjoyed for its aesthetic value. According to Van Baal, the game turns uncertainty into emotion (e.g. games); Religion turns it into a solvable problem (e.g. theodicy); while in art, existential uncertainty fuels creativity, transforming even the harshest reality (Van Gogh's, for example) into something beautiful. Of course, gambling can also create insecurity, and similarly, religion can be a source of anger, just as art can reflect the ugliness of human reality. The ideas on metaphor developed by Fernández (1986) seem to confirm Van Baal's intuition. The two areas brought together in a metaphor create a feeling of wholeness despite their differences. Interestingly, Fernández subtitled his book The Game of Tropics in Culture. Similar views were also advanced in what is known as object relations theory, most notably by Winnicott in his book Playing and reality (1971). The individual struggles with the relationship between separate inner and outer realities, birth being the symbolic event of that experience. Play is the child's way of relating as an ego to the non-ego of reality, which it experiences as opposed and separate. Winnicott suggests that in adult life, religion and art share the role of maintaining the buffer zone between inner reality and outer life. The three authors Fernández, Van Baal and Winnicott connect the game with the human constitution and the human predicament. But there is more to it than that. The gift of play creates both joy and uncertainty (Handelman 1998:63, Lindquist 2001:20). The unexpected can be both satisfying and frightening. The other reality that the human player fills with beings and events has both dimensions. The safe haven of a static view can seduce the weary gamer when the storm of fantasy begins to blow. A religious identity, whether arduously acquired through life or easily acquired through early socialization, can be as attractive to the believer as the tried paradigm is to the academic. Even without a power structure and division of labor that protects a religion's static form and propositional logic, people will tend to opt for the certainty of a well-tested point of view, the uncertainty of another thought experiment, unless, as in the case of the academic, it's true the paradigm no longer corresponds to the events of life and the phenomena in reality.

6. Religion, Power, Gambling


If secularization is not an acceptable way out and religion remains attractive, then it only takes a charismatic individual to lead the way to a new vision, as Moses, Buddha, Jesus and Mohammed did in the societies of their time. Such a religious innovator has power and can therefore influence the behavior of others above and against the established order, albeit often at great personal cost. So religion is more than an “opium for the people”. Religious innovators can only be successful when there are enough people who share the new vision and assign authority to the new leader. In this way, the heretics and prophetic figures of the world are restoring the gift of play for religious purposes, introducing new and different realities, but without concern as to whether the success of the message will lead believers to the next phase of the cycle namely institutionalization, leadership for leadership's sake, and new orthodoxy, until the next generation of charismatic heretics appears on the horizon. Thus St. Peter received his successor in the form of successive popes, the bishops of Rome, one of whom was eventually confronted with the innovative thoughts and behavior of a certain Martin Luther. Religious orders in the Catholic Church seem to represent a compromise between fidelity to the mother church and their founders' discovery of new, sometimes heretical, dimensions of religious experience. The demands of the social order are felt within the internal organization of a religion, and not just when it comes to the interests of society in general. The ebb and flow of religious imagination brings play with the ebb and flow. The models become mirrors that will produce new models over time. Domestication never fully extinguishes the flame of playful imagination. The previous description of the relationship between religion, power and play needs to be modified in that the occasions for drastic change are really rare, while the simple reproduction of a religion can quickly appeal to the human imagination and bring about minor changes. . with her (Moore 1975). The process of transmission from one generation to the next confirms this phenomenon. Even religions that are considered traditional are subject to change from generation to generation simply because it is difficult to obtain a one-to-one copy. Personalities and contexts are never the same, and consequently agency and structure always appear in a different constellation, especially when it comes to bridging the time gap between one generation and the next. Repetition carries difference (Deleuze 1994). And human play is also expressed in mere reproduction.


Chapter 3. Paradise Lost: The Taming of the Religious Imagination

7. Conditions for religious gambling What is the probability that gambling takes place in religion? Radical or humble, the game as a source of religious change depends on the intricate constellation of beliefs, internal social structures, and external relationships with wider society. These three dimensions of each religious group or organization combine to create a distinctive profile. Within Christianity, therefore, the sacred can be understood in relation to the supernatural dimension as accessible (e.g. the Pentecostal manifestations of the Holy Spirit) or conversely as closed or remote (e.g. the right Calvinist traditions) having an overwhelming power (e.g. B. in the Middle Ages). mysticism) or as a cunning power in difficult times (e.g. popular Catholicism). As for the internal dimension, some groups have a somewhat flat internal organization (e.g. Quakers) just as others have a strong hierarchy (e.g. the Catholic Church). On the level of the external dimension, some groups will see the society around them as sinful and hostile (eg evangelicals), while others will embrace the society's values ​​(eg national churches). Power plays a central role in all three dimensions. This may be evident in terms of internal and external dimensions, but less so in terms of the relationship believers have with the supernatural. In relation to this supernatural dimension, the usual vision of believers is that the sacred influences people's behavior, although this is almost never translated in terms of power. The exercise of power can also work in reverse, in the sense that people seek to influence and manipulate the sacred for their own ends. In the form of sacrifice and prayer, this element is often part of mainstream religion, but also occurs outside of official religion, later being referred to as "folk religion" or even "magic". In both forms it is part of religious practice and a way of exercising power within one's relationship with the sacred. The weight of the connections between the three dimensions can be different and one of the dimensions can affect the other two. The most obvious candidate for such a role is the supernatural dimension, especially when there is a strong emphasis on the initiative and manifestation of the sacred. Views of the supernatural can legitimize the position of religious or even secular leaders. On the other hand, both the inner and outer dimensions can be so important that views of the supernatural are influenced by them. Elements of Roman law, for example, have influenced a number of Christian theological ideas about reconciliation between God and men, emphasizing the death of Jesus as an atonement. The Christian Relation to the Kingdom

7. Conditions for Playing in Religion


God is another example. The strength of the inner and outer dimensions may have ensured the continuity of overlapping ideas about the supernatural. However, power is not exclusively conservative. In itself it is neutral: it can act as a brake on change, but it can also be used as a tool to implement change, with each of the three dimensions possibly being the starting point for such a process. Thus, depending on the constellation of dimensions, the game can be restricted as well as stimulated. It is most likely best appreciated when the definition of the supernatural is crude and minimally codified in doctrine, when internal leadership and control is weak or in crisis, and when external social conditions are characterized by minimal, diverse, and loosely held values . However, these conditions appear to be rare. They most likely appear in the early phase of a religious movement, before institutionalization takes hold. Under these conditions, the game will not be frustrated by rigid doctrine, controlling leadership, or monolithic values. But even in the most restrictive situations, joy can never be completely suppressed, even under the strictest conditions. Handelman (1992: 7) suggested this, albeit in different terms, when he wrote: "The higher, more abstract the level of the cosmos at which these qualities [movement and change] of play are rooted and legitimized, the greater is the influence of these qualities over the organization of this cosmos.” He characterizes the game in this sense as a “top-down idea” (Handelman 1992: 12). , he speaks of “bottom-up play” and states that in such a case “play often expresses itself in opposition to or as a negation of the order of things” (Handelman 1992: 12). In other words, mechanisms of power intervene primarily in situations where the game is of the bottom-up type. The analysis of the three dimensions of religious groups assumes that these groups form more or less closed units. This may make the thought experiment easier, but is becoming less and less realistic due to increasing globalization. Boundaries are breached on a large scale and the potential for contact and influence increases. Although the global can only take shape at the local level, it is at this level that diverse influences can converge and bring the world “home”, including in the religious sphere. In other words, globalization increases the possibilities for playing with religions and religious repertoires. However, the constellation of the three dimensions cannot always turn the tide. Christianity and Islam, for example, were brought to African villages, which helped


Chapter 3. Paradise Lost: The Taming of the Religious Imagination

the prevailing local cultural repertoires and programmes. The process that followed showed how the new was selectively assimilated by the old, giving rise to new forms, including independent African churches and prophetic movements. A recent example is New Age. Although diverse in its manifestations, it shows how this globalizing development works in practice. It combines, for example, shamanism, belief in reincarnation, spiritualism, astrology, millenarianism and, not infrequently, elements of Christianity. The social spread is particularly striking, showing that in this worldview the game manages to remain outside the social framework, despite the fact that the media and bestsellers stimulate and consequently influence it. The syncretic or creole forms also show the game in action. They are also the result of globalization (Drummond 1980, Gort et al. 1989, Greenfield and Droogers 2001, Hannerz 1992, Stewart and Shaw 1994). New Age is just one example among many (Hanegraaff 1996), while Japan and Brazil are often cited as examples of syncretic nations. Syncretism is rarely presented as one religious option among many others. It is not explicitly institutionalized and often remains submerged in individual reflection and behavior. For such people, new technologies offer attractive opportunities. New media escape the control of those in power. Also, the dimensional constellation does not always succeed in eliminating unwanted influences. The Internet offers new sources of religious meaning-finding, even if it may only be accessible to the "lucky few". Various claims have been made that posit the development of a global religion as the sum of the best of all religions, such as the Baha'i and some of the new Japanese religions, including the Soka Gakkai. Globalization also means that human suffering appears to be increasing because humanity appears unable to solve the crucial problems of poverty, violence and environmental pollution. As leaders favor the picture of an increasingly civilized world, widespread famine and genocide are dying in increasing numbers. The global scale and interdependence of these problems, despite the efforts of international organizations, seem to exceed human ability to solve them. The growth of the religious repertoire is thus related to a growing demand for help, partly of a religious nature; which lightens the human game in matters so serious as the sense of misery. At the same time, within the same global framework and in response to the same increase in contacts and problems, there are the

8. Paradise Regained?


Countertrend to fundamentalism (Lifton 1993: 10, 11, 160-89). It represents the triumph of the distinct and exclusive, with a clear vision of the supernatural and of outer society, and is internally organized to exclude alternative readings. Fundamentalism represents a strong integration of the three dimensions and thus a defensive wall. But here, too, the game can be appreciated when evangelical Christian circles combine a strong doctrinal attitude with ritual freedom of speech and an ability to invoke and experience the sacred by any means in a more recent form: the so-called Toronto Blessing - including a form of holy laughter (Porter and Richter 1995).

8. Paradise Regained? On the previous pages I have indicated that humans experience a kind of double bind: on the one hand they are gifted with the gift of play, on the other hand they depend on a minimum of social order that limits play. While it is possible to have the best of both worlds, play and order appear as opposites that cannot easily be reconciled. As mentioned in the “Introduction” to this article, having a human ability does not necessarily obligate you to actually use it. In that sense, the game is as neutral as the Force. It can have both positive-desirable and negative-undesirable consequences. Lifton (1993: 190-212) points out the danger of pathological schizophrenic fragmentation of the protein self. However, the human situation can challenge people to playfully soothe the equally pathological constraints of the social order. Many societies have institutions to meet the needs of their playful members by offering institutionalized and controlled forms that are limited in space and time, such as B. Sporting events, initiation rituals, carnivals, New Year's rituals and local saints' festivals. Apart from these specific occasions, anything that deviates from the established norm, even that which regulates marginal situations, runs the risk of being sanctioned, possibly in a cruel way. The double bind also suggests that a call for distraction outside of the channels offered by culture is a direct attack on social order. As such, there is little scope to recreate the game's paradise lost. However, a return to the lost religious playground can legitimately be advocated, and this is where the theory presented here, while objectively formulated, becomes more normative. The main argument for such a preference lies in the globalization process. While


Chapter 3. Paradise Lost: The Taming of the Religious Imagination

Contacts between people are increasing, diversity is becoming a threat to the well-being of world citizens. Differences between people, if not handled carefully, create walls and even conflicts between them. The difference is incomplete without the similarity. The “culture flow” (Hannerz 1992: 4) is intense and strong today. All immigration countries move between the poles of the politics of assimilation (similarity) and multiculturalism (difference). Ethnicity has become an important criterion of identity, contributing to the diversity that locality, class and gender already bring. For the time being, religion seems to create diversity rather than unity, despite secularization, especially in the face of a predominantly fundamentalist discourse. Fundamentalism is experienced as a threat. As Maxwell (1996: 30) says, the anthropologist's mission may well be 'to make the world a safe place for diversity'. Anthropologists, once experts on cultural differences, are now experts on culture as a universal human ability applied globally and as the basis for similarity. Although it is ultimately about policy formulation, anthropologists could well play a crucial role in shaping diversity management policies. One of those posts, I think, relates to the potential of the game. With the help of the game, diversity, whether religious or not, can be less of an issue than it appears. Since the gift of gambling is universally human, it can be invoked to ask for tolerance when exclusivity seems to be the first reaction. Similarity can fail when diversity leads to political and social fragmentation. Academics have a responsibility to set an example and lead the way to gambling's paradise lost. First, they can apply this skill to their own work and show how seemingly unique paradigms can be used in combination through what I have called "methodological Luddism" (Droogers 1996, Chapter 14 of this volume). The scientific sub-society tends to stimulate competition as outstanding achievements are valued. Dating circuits and funding processes celebrate differences and ignore similarities. The academic homo ludens who take the position of methodological Luddism take sides less exclusively and prepare to understand the other perspective - the other way of framing reality - from within, as anthropologists do when they understand others study cultural contexts. This could be a way of using the human ability to play methodically and scientifically, i. My. deal simultaneously and subjunctively with two or more types of reality classification. It can be much more fruitful than



the faithful application of a paradigm or perspective. The result can be that one no longer takes such an obvious position in science and research funding, which leads to a loss of power. But in the end, the approach will prove itself. Perhaps the most challenging implication is that methodological Luddism requires a different mindset. It appeals more to the right brain, while academics seem to be more adept at using the left brain and therefore formulating clear and correct conclusions. But they also work intuitively and are therefore closer to a connectionist logic that offers alternative interpretation schemes. A more concrete task awaits us. Anthropologists of religion should accept that they have a role to play in interreligious dialogue, at whatever level. Such dialogue depends on a mindset and a type of information with which anthropologists are intimately familiar. Its gradual shift in emphasis from difference to similarity can serve as a useful working model. The method of participatory observation as a positional game could very well serve to enable valuable communication between the representatives of today's religions.

Acknowledgments I am grateful to Don Handelman and Galina Lindquist for thought-provoking comments and for editorial assistance to Sylvia Dierks-Mallett and Arnold de Boer.

References Archer, Margaret (1988). Culture and agency: The place of culture in social theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Bateson, Gregory A (1973). A game theory and fantasy. In: Gregory A. Bateson, Steps Towards an Ecology of Mind: Collected Essays in Anthropology, Psychiatry, Evolution, and Epistemology. St Albans: Palladin, pp. 150-66. Bloch, Maurice (1991). Language, Anthropology and Cognitive Science. Mann, 26(2), 183-98. Bourdieu, Pierre (1977). Outline of a theory of practice. Cambridge etc.: Cambridge University Press. D'Andrade, Roy (1995). The development of cognitive anthropology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Deleuze, Gilles (1994). difference and repetition. London: Athlone Press.


Chapter 3. Paradise Lost: The Taming of the Religious Imagination

Deleuze, Gilles and Felix Guattari (1976). Rhizome, Introduction. Paris: Les Editions de Minuit. Droogers, André (1980). Symbols of Marginality in the Biographies of Religious and Secular Innovators: A Comparative Study of the Lives of Jesus, Waldes, Booth, Kimbangu, Buddha, Muhammad, and Marx. Numen, 27 (1), 105 – 21. (Chapter 1 of this book) Droogers, André (1996). Methodological Luddism: Beyond Religionism and Reductionism. In: Anton van Harskamp (ed.) (1996). Conflicts in the Social Sciences. London: Routledge: pp. 44-67. (Chapter 14 of this book) Drummond, Lee (1980). The cultural continuum: a theory of intersystems. Man, 15(4), 352-74 Eade, John and Michael J. Sallnow (eds.) (1991). Questioning the Sacred: The Anthropology of Christian Pilgrimage. London: Rouledge. Ehrmann, Jacques (1968). Homo ludens revisited. Yale French Studies, 41, 31-57. Fernandez, James W. (1986). Beliefs and Achievements: The Game of Tropics in Culture. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Fiske, John (1989). understand popular culture. London and New York: Routledge. Giddens, Anthony (1984). The constitution of society: scheme of structuring theory. Cambridge: Polity Press. Gort, Jerald, Hendrik Vroom, Rein Fernhout, and Anton Wessels (eds.) (1989). Dialogue and syncretism: an interdisciplinary approach. Grand Rapids, Michigan and Amsterdam: Eerdmans and Rodopi. Greenfield, Sidney M. and André Droogers (eds.) (2001). Reinventing Religions: Syncretism and Transformation in America and America. Boulder, Colorado: Rowman and Littlefield. Guattari, Pierre-Félix [Gary Genosko (ed.)] (1996). The Guattari Reader. Oxford: Blackwell. Halle, Stuart (1996). Introduction: Who Needs Identity? In: Stuart Hall and Paul du Gay (eds.), Questions of Cultural Identity. London: Sage, pp. 1-17 Handelman, Don (1992). Game passages: paradox and process. Game and Culture, 5, 1-19. Handelman, Don (1998). Models and Mirrors: Towards an Anthropology of Public Facts. New York: Berghahn Books. Handelman, Don and David Shulman (1997), God Reversed, Siva's Craps. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Hanegraaff, Wouter (1996). New Age Religion and Western Culture: Esotericism in the Mirror of Secular Thought. Leiden: Great. Hannerz, Ulf (1992). Cultural Complexity: Studies in the Social Organization of Meaning. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Keesing, Roger (1994). Review of cultural theories. In: Robert Borofsky (ed.), Assessing Cultural Anthropology. New York: McGraw-Hill, pp. 301-12 Lifton, Robert Jay (1993). The Protein Self: Human Resilience in the Age of Fragmentation. New York: Essential Books. Lindquist, Galina (2001). The elusive game and its relations to power. Focaal, European Journal of Anthropology, 37, 13-23.



Maxwell, Jose A. (1996). Qualitative research design: An interactive approach. Thousand Oaks: Wise. Moore, Sally Falk (1975). Epilogue: uncertainties in situations, uncertainties in culture. In: Sally Falk Moore and Barbara G. Myerhoff (eds.), Symbols and Politics in Communal Ideology. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, pp. 210-39 Ortner, Sherry B. (1984). Theory in anthropology since the 1960s. Comparative Studies in Society and History, 26(1), 126-66. Porter, Stanley E. and Philip J. Richter (eds.) (1995). Toronto's blessing, isn't it? London: Darton, Longman and Todd. Pruyser, Paul W. (1976). A dynamic psychology of religion. New York: Harper and Row. Rosenau, Pauline Marie (1992). Postmodernism and the Social Sciences: Perceptions, Raids and Incursions. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Sahlins, Marshall (1985). Islands of History London and New York: Tavistock. Salnow, M. (1981). Communitas rethought: The sociology of the Andean pilgrimage. Man, 16, 163-82. Slack, Jennifer Daryl (1996). Theory and method of articulation in cultural studies. In: David Morley and Kuan Hsing Chen (eds.), Stuart Hall: Critical Dialogues in Cultural Studies. London and New York: Routledge, pp. 112–127. Stewart, C. & R. Shaw (eds.) (1994). Syncretism/Anti-Syncretism: The Politics of Religious Synthesis. London and New York: Routledge. Strauss, Claudia and Naomi Quinn (1994). A cognitive/cultural anthropology. In: Robert Borofsky (ed.), Assessing Cultural Anthropology. New York, etc.: McGraw-Hill, pp. 284-300 Strauss, Claudia and Naomi Quinn (1997). A cognitive theory of cultural meaning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Turner, Victor (1974). Dramas, fields and metaphors: symbolic action in human society. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. Turner, Victor (1988). The anthropology of action. New York: PAJ Publications. Van Baal, J. (1972). De boodschap der three illusies: Overthinking about religion, art and spel. Assen: Van Gorcum. Van Baal, J. (1981). Man's Search for Union: The Anthropological Foundations of Ethics and Religion. Assen: Van Gorcum. Winnicott, DW (1971). game and reality. London: Tavistock.

Chapter 4 The popular use of folk religion: power and meaning in three Brazilian folk religions 1. Introduction By examining the popular use of folk religion, it can be shown that power and meaning are dialectically related. In the context of religion, power essentially relates to three levels. The first can be called supernatural. Here the balance of power exists between God, gods, saints or spirits on the one hand and the believers on the other. The second level is organizational, and the balance of power is primarily between leaders and followers. The third level is social, and this is where the balance of power between believers and non-believers exists. In most cases, the three levels are interconnected. The exact configuration of this connection depends on the constellation of power and importance that is characteristic of the specific case. In examining the popular use of folk religion, the power relations of the three levels are important because they determine the space available for such popular use. This chapter offers a comparison of three popular Brazilian religions: Umbanda, Pentecostal, and Grassroots Churches. These three religions are discussed separately and then compared. In each, the three levels are related in different ways. The uniqueness of each religion lies largely in its interpretation of man's relationship with his god, gods, saints, or spirits. This very specific interpretation has consequences for the balance of power on an organizational and social level and thus for the use of the popular religion by the population. Obviously, popular interpretation of folk religion, let alone official religion, is only possible to the extent that people have free access to God, gods, saints, or spirits. This depends on people's attitude towards the supernatural plane. The scope for action at the organizational and social level will change accordingly.

2. Umbanda


2. Umbanda Umbanda emerged in the 1920s and has accompanied the urbanization of Brazil ever since. Now it can also be found in rural towns. Umbanda is part of a long tradition of Afro-Brazilian folk religions that have their roots in African and Native American religions, but also in Catholicism. Apparently Catholic in outward form, Afro-Brazilian religions began during the days of slavery in response to the slaves' lack of free religious expression. Religious power, sometimes magical in nature, feared by their masters, compensated for these slaves' submission to their masters and their religion. The symbols of this religion forced upon the slaves were reinterpreted to fit the slave cosmology. The saints identified with the Yoruba gods of West Africa. Maria was worshiped and in her the sea goddess Yemanjá was also worshiped. Saint George was celebrated for slaying the dragon with his sword, but in him was also Ogun, the god of blacksmiths and war. In many areas, Native American religions have joined this process of religious actualization. Umbanda is a follower of this slave tradition. It is a middle-class white reinterpretation of slavery religions, just as these religions were a restatement of Catholic, African, and Native American influences. The altars of the Umbanda temples bear witness to this variety of newly interpreted sources. Images of saints are found alongside those of slaves and Native Americans. The last two categories belong to the spiritual world of Umbanda and have sometimes become more important in ritual than saints, also known as Yoruba gods. Umbandistas generally form small autonomous groups of spirit mediums and their attendants. The groups meet in small temples, which are often part of the group leader's home. In a broader sense, the term Umbandista can also refer to people who come to consult the spirits contained in the mediums during the sessions. In most cases, these customers come only when they need to solve a problem with the help of the spirits, often, but not only, health-related. It is estimated that one third of the Brazilian population has regular or occasional contact with the temples of Umbanda. Among the many types of spirits, four categories can be distinguished that are found in almost all temples. These four categories are: spirits of black slaves, Native Americans, children, and people who are considered marginalized, such as criminals, scoundrels, prostitutes, and gypsies. Interestingly, all of these spirits represent outcasts


Chapter 4. The Popular Use of Popular Religion

social categories (Birman 1983:46,47, Droogers 1985). In the Umbanda Temple, they are given an inverted social position and promoted to supernatural powers. Ironically, they are consulted by representatives of the social classes who were or are responsible for their exclusion. The relationships of dependency and thus power have changed completely. The religious appreciation of marginalized people changes their position in power relations, but only in a ritual context. Once the session ends, life returns to its normal distribution of energy. This isn't the only example Umbanda has to offer in terms of power relations. In relation to the three levels mentioned in the introduction to this chapter, power and religious importance are related in a very specific way. On the first, the supernatural level, the emphasis is on spirit possession, the mediums are literally ruled by the spirits. Although in the umbandista vision the medium's behavior is controlled by the spirits, the mediums also manipulate the spirits' power to solve clients' problems. That is, they use their religious power over the spirits to strengthen their own position of power over their clients and also in competition with other media. This happens on the second level, the organizational level. The leaders of the Umbanda temples are always powerful mediums who use their religious power over the spirits as a basis for their power over group members and temple visitors. His religious power therefore also extends to the secular spheres of society, the third, i. My. Social level This creates a network of contacts that can be used in a very secular way for religious solutions to clients' problems. In the context of urbanization, umbanda plays a role on a social level in that it helps people integrate into city life. However, since the other religions I will discuss play a similar role, this explanation for the growth of Umbanda can only be partial. Not only their social function must be taken into account, but also the specific constellation of power and meaning on all three levels. The popular use of folk religion becomes clearer. We focus on the customer's position first, and then the middle one. Within the constellation of power and meaning, umbanda clients are to some extent free to come and go as they please. Even more so than mediums, they are able to embrace this popular religion. If a problem needs to be solved, the temple is nearby, usually in the customer's neighborhood. There is no need or obligation to attend all sessions. It is considered normal for a person

2. Umbanda


Son uses temple facilities to serve his own interests. People involved in affliction or conflict seek the spirits' help to further their personal interests. In fact, if someone comes to a séance just to watch the field worker do it, people cannot understand that someone could accidentally come to consult the media. So there is usually some kind of pressure to speak with the spirit that the leader or one of the mediums possesses. Because going to a meeting means that you want to consult the spirits. However, the same constellation of power and meaning can restrict the client's freedom. It may be part of the treatment that certain commitments have to be fulfilled and then the client has to come back again and again. At the extreme, the client is told that the only way to solve the problem is to become a medium. The symptoms of grief are a sign that the spirit sees that person as its "horse." My. Half. This is the beginning of an annual series of commitments that must be met if the person is to become a full medium. The intervention of the spirits then restricts the client's freedom to use this folk religion himself. He will pass from the category of client to that of medium. In relation to the three levels of power and meaning, the power of the spirits over the clients amplifies the power of the temple group (leaders and mediums) inasmuch as the treatment creates obligations, mediumship being the most demanding. With their power, the spirits legitimize the authority of the group leader and the other mediums over the newcomer, who changes from stranger to prisoner. As for the media, their position should not be understood as one of total submission and integration. The medium's relationship with the spirits can develop in such a way that his position relative to the group leader and the other mediums gradually shifts in favor of the medium. When a medium has a strong personality, is very persuasive in the medium role, and attracts clients because they successfully solve problems, they can become a particular threat to the leadership position. Formally, a medium that has fulfilled its duties for seven years is able to open its own temple and take other mediums with it. The opening of a new temple does not usually sever the connection with the temple from which the leader and the media came. However, there may be a change in the rituals and meaning of certain spirits. Therefore, a new temple means a different constellation of power and meaning.


Chapter 4. The Popular Use of Popular Religion

3. Pentecostalism In 1910 the first Pentecostal church was founded in Brazil. Pentecostal churches, like Umbanda, have accompanied urbanization and have grown with the cities. Especially in the 1950s, Pentecostal churches gained importance. As in the case of Umbanda, Pentecostalism has also spread to rural areas. Although the first churches were founded by missionaries from the United States, most of the growth of these churches was due to autonomous indigenous initiatives. About two-thirds of Brazilian Protestants are Pentecostals. There are churches of all sizes and types. Some are national churches with hundreds of local congregations, others are one-man neighborhood churches with a few staunch followers. A special type are the so-called spa rooms, which are located in city centers, often near state polyclinics. Three services are held here every day, which always culminate in a healing ritual. In all Pentecostal churches, the organization is quite rigid, with a clear division of labor that involves as many people as possible. Worship services are characterized by the equal participation of many people, although one or two pastors clearly control the entire service. The rigidity of the Church often applies to doctrine as well. The motivation to involve as many people as possible is the belief that all people share in the gifts of the Holy Spirit. What is known as the baptism of the Spirit, which people experience as a power that comes over them and takes their lives into their own hands, is particularly important. Through the Spirit, God is to work mightily in the lives of men. The gifts of the Spirit, such as healing, prophecy, and glossolalia, serve as the basis for relationships with other people who can be helped through these charisms, particularly in healing. For Pentecostal believers, the use of charismatic gifts is a necessity because the world is understood as the arena of a battle between God and the devil. As many people as possible should support God's side in this fight. The conversion of other people is therefore essential. Every Pentecostal believer is by definition an evangelist. Fundamental in interpreting the Pentecostal fall in terms of the three levels of power and meaning is the meaning given to God's actions through the Spirit. This expression of God's power serves as the basis for the believer's exercise of power in the struggle between good and evil. Spirit baptism is the ritual through which this source of power is accessed. Although applied by humans, the force is

3. Pentecostalism


understood as divine. It helps guide the believer's life and offers a solution to many of his problems as well as those of others. Ultimately, it is about using this power to change the world. This shift is already happening every time people choose to join God's side. Healing a man is a victory in this battle. Moral victories are also won when people break with their vices. In all of these cases, the first level power that God has given to believers determines the behavior of believers on the second level and also on the third level. At the second level, among believers, democratic access to charismatic power levels hierarchical relationships and expands the space for the free movement of believers. On the third level, in relation to unbelievers, the desire and belief of the believers to win the battle against evil determines the nature of all contacts. In practice, power relations can deviate from this ideal model. On an organizational level, especially in one-man churches, but also in third-generation churches, the power of the leader can be so great that he only pays lip service to the democratic distribution of divine power. In practice, at the second level, among the believers, power is concentrated in the hands of a few who are "more equal" than others. This submission of believers to their pastor's authority has been interpreted as a continuation of those semi-feudal rural patron-client relationships in which believers lived before migrating to urban areas and converting to Pentecostalism (Lalive d'Épinay 1968, 1969). At the societal level, Pentecostal power to transform society is limited but may increase in the future (Martin 1990, Stoll 1990). As their numbers increase, they become more important as an electorate. In some cases, Pentecostals have entered the political arena, often as outspoken anti-Communists, but also in more emancipatory actions. Governmental authorities are often, but not always, accepted as God-given (cf. Romans 13). One aspect that has always been explored in Latin American Pentecostalism is the supposed ascension mobility of Pentecostal believers. They are portrayed as good workers who respect the authority placed upon them. They usually do not participate in unions or strikes. In reality, this upward mobility is limited (Hoffnagel 1978). In this respect, the influence of Pentecostal beliefs on a societal level is less conspicuous than is often assumed. Returning to the question of the popular use of Pentecostalism, some conclusions can now be drawn about the specific constellation of power and meaning that characterizes this type of religion. The AC


Chapter 4. The Popular Use of Popular Religion

The access that each believer has to the charismatic gifts allows for individual expressions of faith that do not necessarily have to be controlled by the clergy. Pentecostalism is a total religion, making its demands heard 24 hours a day. Since God's gifts of power are free and readily available, no one can claim a privileged position. The manifestations of the spirit legitimize themselves. So the odds seem fair for a popular use of this folk religion. However, as we have seen, institutionalization and a strong personality can contribute to differentiation. For a church to be successful, it usually needs organization and code, and therefore leadership. Gifted people establish charismatic authority, especially as preachers and healers. Others act as organizers. Such developments may limit the space left for ordinary believers. On the other hand, these restrictions can serve as a reason for divisions and thus indirectly increase the freedom of believers. In fact, Pentecostalism's schismal tendency has often been cited as one of the reasons for its spread. Leaders always face competition from up-and-coming members who attract followers through their gifts or who have the opportunity to plant churches of their own. Such a new congregation could become an autonomous church in its own right. In any case, the constellation of meaning and power will be different from that of the mother church.

4. Basic Church Communities The Basic Church Communities or CEB (Comunidades Ecclesiais de Base), as they are commonly known, form the youngest of the popular religions discussed here. They were founded in the ecclesiastical climate of the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s. Their rise was closely linked to that of the so-called liberation theologies. Estimates of their number vary widely, but it seems likely that there are at least 30,000 CEBs in Brazil, involving a few million people. They are usually based in neighborhoods, function as face-to-face groups and are organized democratically. In most cases, under the guidance of a pastoral worker (a priest, nun or social worker), their members focus on the relationship between the Christian faith and the transformation of society. This transformation is sought first in its most immediate environment, but also in a broader sense, including internationally. There are also consequences for the internal organizational level of the CEBs.

4. Basis of ecclesial communities


The Christian faith, as understood in the CEB, basically revolves around the idea of ​​God as the liberator, as the God of the Exodus and of justice working in history. The transformation of society fueled by involvement in neighborhood organizations, cooperatives, labor unions and political parties is itself an exodus from poverty and modern forms of slavery. Through its action, referred to as struggle (luta), the CEBS seeks to promote a classless society and a more just relationship between the first and third worlds. CEB members are power conscious or will be soon. Words like "the mighty one", "the powerless one" are common in his speech. The people or povo are primarily the poor masses. The Bible is read through the eyes of the poor. It is interpreted as a comment on social problems. In a popularized version, the so-called dependency approach can be found in development sociology in the CEB discourse. If we translate this into power and meaning, the specific constellation of CEBs becomes clear. The importance attached to the notion of a liberating God at the supernatural level leads to an awareness of power relations at the social level. The specific design is very different. The way a CEB is structured is primarily intended to give an example of how society can be organised. In the Catholic Church, the laity are taking on more responsibilities than ever, even taking on roles previously reserved for the clergy. In addition, CEB members are active in their urban or rural neighborhoods. They participate in political parties, mostly leftist, but certainly not exclusively (Hewitt 1986, 1987, 1990, 1991). In rural areas, CEB members have played an important role in the landless movement. As a result of the awareness of hierarchical relationships in society, criticism of those who are on the internal organizational level is also encouraged. However, this does not occur in all CEBs to the same extent. Some are extremely critical of ecclesiastical authorities, others choose a loyal stance despite obvious repression. Recent appointments of bishops have created a polarization in this sense, with vehement reactions from some CEBs against new conservative bishops. In particular, women excluded from the priesthood may criticize male authority and pursue an independent course (Hoornaert 1988). On the other hand, the role of progressive pastoral actors is sometimes perceived as a symptom of asymmetric power relations. The often rational theological justifications of these actors do not always correspond to the existential motives of the CEB members. An interesting case is the agents' attitude towards popular religion. folio


Chapter 4. The Popular Use of Popular Religion

Inspired by neo-Marxism, many of them have long condemned popular Catholicism as alienating. Only when it was recognized that popular religion could contain elements of resistance did it find grace in the eyes of these pastoral agents. A few instances of efforts by CEB members to maintain expression of popular Catholic spirituality within their CEB have been reported, much to the surprise and against the wishes of pastoral agents. Ideally, the popular use of folk religion in CEBs should get a lot of attention. The emphasis on a liberating God means that the interests of ordinary people are important to CEB leaders and pastoral workers. The CEBs strive in large part for the rehabilitation and emancipation of the poor, whose way of understanding the Bible is a source of inspiration. In addition, the CEBS have a democratic organization where people can take any initiative. But here, too, institutionalization and personality development contribute to differentiation. A special circumstance is the presence of the chaplain, who cannot always adapt to the subculture of the members. The agent's role can become a liberal version of traditional administrative control. Recent actions by conservative members of the church hierarchy, Brazilian or Roman in character, that have emphasized the traditional role of the clergy have further limited the space the laity have to popularize this popular religion. However, what happens in practice is that members cannot help but be who they are and therefore continue to make meaning of their lives much like they always have. This means that they do this in the context of popular Catholicism, supplemented by an awareness of power relations that they have received through the CEB. They will continue to take initiatives, both within the Church and, when it is no longer permitted, outside of it. The CEBs do not represent an entirely new folk religion. They continue the tradition of popular Catholicism, sometimes despite the role of progressive and conservative members of the clergy.

5. A Final Comparison If folk religion is the laity's space for religious production, then the folk use of folk religion is a further extension of this form of religious interpretation. Anyone who has little opportunity to take the initiative in other areas of society or even in the official religion compensates for this in the area of ​​popular religion. That's how people build continuously

5. A comparison at the end


Construction of his own cosmos, including his views on power relations. Although this cosmology is not respected in society or known in official religion, it is worthwhile for the people who share it. In each of the three cases discussed here, a specific cosmology has been shown to exist, with a unique interpretation of the relationship between meaning and power. In all three religions, however, the starting point is their views on the supernatural plane. However, different understandings of the relationship between the supernatural and man have different consequences for the possibilities of popular use of folk religion. The contact with the spirits in Umbanda differs from that of the Holy Spirit in Pentecostalism. The God of the Pentecostals delivers in a completely different way than the God of the CEB members. Because they are influenced by a specific understanding of the supernatural level, power relations are organized differently at organizational and social levels. Therefore, the way a popular use of a popular religion is made will be different. Let's look at some examples of this interrelationship between levels in a comparative way. In Umbanda and in Pentecostal churches, the relationship with the supernatural power is used and influences the solution of individual problems. Many of the relationships at the organizational level are subordinate to people's efforts to solve their problems. In the CEBs, the solution is not primarily individual, but social. The consequences of this attitude toward the supernatural are to be found at the social level, rather than at the organizational level. Accordingly, the possibilities for a popular use of religion lie on a different level. If the issue is not so much how people solve their problems with the help of folk religion, but how they are realized in the religious organization, the starting point is still the supernatural level. In each of the three religions described in this article, the nature of the relationship to the supernatural has consequences for the opportunities a person has at the organizational level. The clearest example is the Pentecostal vision of free access for all believers to the baptism of the Spirit. This opens up all possibilities in the organization's activities, although there may be a tendency towards strict leadership. In the case of Umbanda, the spirit possession experience is key to a role in the temple organization and ultimately a career as a temple leader open to all. In the case of the CEBs, the liberating God not only wants a just and egalitarian society, but a precedent


Chapter 4. The Popular Use of Popular Religion

Runners of another community of believers equal to each other. Ideally, this at least creates opportunities for widespread use of the popular religious organization. Of course, in all three cases, reality deviates from the ideal. Looking now at the societal level, the possibilities for popular use of folk religion depend on how important society, including non-believers, is to a religion. Once again, notions of human-divine/spiritual relationships (the supernatural level) determine attitudes at the societal level. In this case, the clearest example is that of the members of the CEB who were inspired by a liberating God to take up the fight for a changed society. Individual initiatives are welcome and will be integrated into group activities. Pentecostals have a different interest in society. They feel called to unbelievers who are viewed as potential converts. From the Pentecostal perspective, the ideal society will not be realized through human political action, but only through the conversion of unbelievers with God's help. Even without being sent by church leaders, Pentecostals are dedicated to this task. In the case of Umbanda, neither society in general nor the infidel seem to be relevant except as a field from which media can attract clients and as an opportunity for charity work. However, the meaning of the four marginalized social categories mentioned in the section on Umbanda can be understood as an implicit social criticism. Of course, this meaning is not explicit in the Umbanda language, but it might one day become so in the process of meaning formation. When discussing three popular religions, the focus was on what was specifically religious: views on the supernatural. These views are certainly not as static as the codified versions of official religions suggest. The process of signification continues, bringing new insights, different emphases, and different possibilities for the popular use of folk religion. What happens on the supernatural level almost always has consequences on the organizational and social level. The attitude towards the supernatural is not only a reflection of social relationships, in the religious group or in society. It is also a reflection on these relationships. The power between humans cannot be understood without considering the power between supernatural beings and humans. Religion is not only about the symbolism of power, but also about the power of symbolism. Popular religion shows this even more clearly than official religion, because it affirms the layman's ability to construct meaning. The popular use of folk religion is nothing but the realization of this ability.



Note Certain sections of this article are revised portions of the Dutch text of the author's inaugural lecture for the Chair of Anthropology of Religion, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam (Droogers 1990).

References Burman, Patricia (1983). What Umbanda. Sao Paulo: Brazilian. Drooger, Andrew (1985). And Umbanda? Saint Leopoldo: Synod. Drooger, Andrew (1990). Power in zin: Een drieluik van Braziliaanse religieuze verbeelding. Amsterdam: Vrije Universiteit (opening lecture). Hewitt, WE (1986). Strategies for social change of the Comunidades Ecclesiais de Base (CEBS) in the Archdiocese of São Paulo. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 25(1), 16-30 Hewitt, W.E. (1987). The Influence of Social Class on Activity Preferences of Base Church Communities (CEBS) in the Archdiocese of São Paulo. Journal of Latin American Studies, 19(1), 141-156. Hewitt, W.E. (1990). Religion and the Consolidation of Democracy in Brazil: The Role of the Basic Ecclesial Communities (CEBS). Sociological Analysis, 50(2), 139-152. Hewitt, W.E. (1991). Basis of Christian communities and social change in Brazil. Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press. Hoffnagel, Judith (1978). The Believers: Pentecostal Movement in a Brazilian City. Ann Arbor: Xerox. Hoornart, Edward (1988). Church base communities in Brazil: between orthodoxy and heresy. Paper International Congress of Americanists, Amsterdam. Lalive d'Epinay, Christian (1968). The Refuge of the Masses: Sociological Study of Chilean Protestantism. Santiago: Editorial del Pacifico. Lalive d'Epinay, Christian (1969). Refuge for the Masses: A Study of Pentecostalism in Chile. London: Lutterworth Press. Martin, David (1990). Tongues of Fire: The Explosion of Protestantism in Latin America. Oxford: Blackwell. Stoll, David (1990). Is Latin America becoming Protestant? The Politics of Evangelical Growth. Berkeley, etc.: University of California Press.

Play and ritual Chapter 5 Joy in an emerging alternative world: ritual as an independent playful right 1. Introduction As a concept, the content of the term “ritual” is controversial. This is because it has acquired so many different connotations and usages over the years. However, when analyzing ritual phenomena, if one focuses on ritual as a temporary emergence and playful representation of a shadowy reality of its own, the concept may have a better chance of surviving in academic vocabulary. Therefore, it is worth considering the nature of the emergence of this ritual counter-reality. I suggest that contrary to the ritual's usual connotation as a solemn and serious occasion, the evocation of an alternate reality could bring joy and fun to its creation and performance, an aspect that should receive more attention. "Playful" and "serious" are not necessarily opposites. Although it can be done seriously, the ritual is a playful activity, just as play is an activity to be taken seriously while it lasts. Rituals can serve any number of functions as perceived by participants, scientists, or both, but rituals are also repeated by humans because they provide distraction and satisfaction through the playful creation of a relevant alternate reality. This other reality has its own parameters and invites cultural experiments. It opens up ample opportunities for homo ludens to show off their playing skills and exploit that potential. Elsewhere I have defined play as “the ability to engage simultaneously and conjunctively with two or more types of reality classification” (Droogers 1996:53). Ritual actors experiment with the idea of ​​an alternate reality emerging and play seriously with variations, reversals, contradictions, duplicity, irony, incongruity and counter-reality. The alternate reality is the result of the play of people and generations with different perspectives on reality. It serves as a counterpoint to the given conditions of everyday life. Once it is created, that becomes reality


Chapter 5. Rejoicing in an emerging alternate world

it begins to lead a life of its own with its own characteristics, but remains subject to the agency of the actors. Through the generation of its own emergent phenomena, through the fundamental and common way of opening up another reality in a playful way, ritual establishes itself as an independent and idiosyncratic form of dynamic cultural behavior. Simultaneity is an important aspect of the playful creation of a ritual reality alongside normal reality. The reference in my definition of the game to simultaneity is comparable to Pruyser's (1976: 190) "double consciousness" as a player quality. Lifton (1993: 4.5) speaks of the "protein self", "a self of many possibilities", as a characteristically human trait. When I use the word "subjunctive" it refers to the subjunctive mood given by Turner to "express conjecture, desire, hypothesis, or possibility" (1988:25). It is the realm of "as if" to distinguish it from the indicative "as it is" (1988:169). Turner described human play as a mode "to catch symbols in motion and play with their possibilities of form and meaning" (1982:23). In this essay I will show this ability in action in a specific ritual. In the first part of the chapter I will illustrate this ritual approach based on my ethnography of the Wagenia (Congo) by describing the initiation ritual for children (cf. Droogers 1980). In the second part of the essay, I will show that insights from cognitive anthropology, especially connectionism, are useful in mapping the properties of a ritual like Wagenia initiation in its own playful right. The idea of ​​working on schemes and repertoires in parallel is particularly useful for such a clarification. I define schemas as culturally accepted minimal scripts for and of thoughts, actions and emotions. I understand these schemes as forming a repertoire together. The term "schema" should not be understood in a static way. Although the ritual, being temporary but repeatable, has the connotation of schematization and codification, a new performance is open to change and innovation. The basic connectionist proposition is that the human mind allows for rapid and routine comparison through parallel rather than serial or sequential processing of alternative schemas and the repertoires to which they belong. In the process, schemes and repertoires are modified and adapted. So, connectionism shows how play works as a means to deal with two or more types of reality classification at the same time. Consequently, the ritual world of shadows can be understood as the result of the application of the human capacity for parallel processing of schemas and repertoires. This playfulness is demonstrated in a concrete context

2. The Wagenia initiation ritual


A ritual like the initiation of Wagenia can be understood as a repertoire of specific schemas that help the ritual to establish itself. It can be said that the playful repertoire has its own parameters that guide the course of the ritual performance. I will further argue that this parallel processing of different schemes is a source of amusement. By looking at ritual in this way, it becomes possible to go beyond one of the options that serves to confuse the debate about ritual, namely whether it is only religious or can also be secular. The other reality of the ritual could reflect the supernatural reality that the religion focuses on, but it could also be entirely secular. The key criterion is that in both religion and ritual an extra dimension is added to ordinary reality. This extra dimension can even be playfully portrayed as sacred while being profane, as in the case of the Wagenia boys' initiation.

2. The Wagenia initiation ritual The Wagenia form a small patrilineal and patrilocal ethnic group of about 7,000 people (at the time of the survey 1968-1971). They live in six large villages on the banks of the Congo River, next to a series of waterfalls and rapids, in what is now the suburb of the city of Kisangani (formerly Stanleyville), the provincial capital of the eastern province of Congo. Traditionally they made a living from fishing in the river and at the falls, but as the town was built, almost on the doorstep of their home, and also due to population growth, the men sought work in the town and several women began trading in the area. central market of the city. The children attended secondary schools in the city. Since the early 20th century, Christian missions, both Catholic and Protestant, have worked among the Wagenia. More than once, Kisangani has been the tragic scene of military revolts and rebellions that have affected civilians. All of these profound changes in Wagenia society are reflected in some way in their initiation ritual, often in a playful way. I had the opportunity to observe the initiation ritual of the Wagenia boys in 1970. I have lived in Kisangani since 1968 and taught at its university, where I had done field research on religious change among the Wagenia. In one of the villages a mud house had been built for me and my family. After the initiation had suddenly begun, life in the villages was determined by the initiation ritual for five months. The older men had been initiated around the turn of the century. initiation into


Chapter 5. Rejoicing in an emerging alternate world

1970, named after then-President Mobutu, was the tenth since about 1888. The last ritual took place in 1956 and was named after Belgium's King Baudouin, who visited Kisangani that year. Initiation names reflected important events or circumstances at the time of the ritual. Two more initiation performances followed later in the 20th century. The Congo became independent in 1960, accompanied by years of conflict, which also took place in Kisangani. Fearing further trouble, the men kept postponing the initiation because, once the boys were locked in the initiation camp, they were not allowed to leave it until the end of the initiation. Eventually, by 1970, conditions were deemed peaceful enough to risk initiation. I will not repeat the analysis I have made elsewhere in this ritual with regard to the Wagenia symbol system and social structure (see Droogers 1980). I am concerned with the following question: What is the playfulness of this ritual, and how does the playfulness generate its own emergent ritual phenomena within and in response to a changing context? Given my definition of play (ie, the ability of actors to simultaneously and conjunctively engage with two or more views of reality), it is evident, particularly in initiation camps, that ritual established a society in its own shadow. and a new way of seeing reality. For over five months, an alternative code of conduct with its own social and symbolic grammar was introduced. People had to think differently. In addition, they were challenged to be creative and innovative in their way of living this alternate reality. While they had to conform to what had been imposed as initiation custom and tradition, they were at the same time given every opportunity to play their own variations on the theme. The Wagenia initiation allowed people to make changes according to their changing context, in a ritual seemingly passed down through generations. Thus, the novices had to go through the ritualistic stages of the rite of passage – familiar to anthropology since Van Gennep (1960) – of separation from the city, imprisonment in an initiation camp, and reincorporation into the city, as in the case of Wagenia, brief intermediate stages between the first and second phase (circumcision by the river) and between the second and third phase (night bath in the river). But each generation creates its own version, providing some continuity but also ushering in some kind of change, usually in response to changing times. Opportunities given by ritual parameters, people seize in their own playful alternative world and use the opportunity to mark their own

3. Social axes


cultural and temporary presence. Therefore, the initiation ritual could also be read as a commentary on the changing times. Thus, the Wagenia could be subjects, passive actors, and active "passers-by" in this rite of passage. The playfulness of the ritual helped people adapt to changes such as those of the colonial and post-colonial periods, while guaranteeing some form of ongoing identity based on a supra-individual repertoire. This allowed people to move with the times and still remain who they were. The ritual set the rules and limits for constructing their identities as a society (and not just as boys and men) while allowing them some scope for free innovation. How did that work in practice? Between March 29 and August 19, 1970, at more than forty festivals held mostly on weekends, some 1,300 boys between the ages of 5 and 20 were circumcised in one of five circumcision areas along the riverbank and later taken to one of the fourteen initiation centers. Camps In 1970 most of these camps were named after the military camps of the Congolese army. Fifty years ago there were four festivals per village or group of villages, but as many of the Wagenia children went to school more periods were needed for circumcision. Boys who did not attend school spent far more time in the camps than their peers, who had to wait until the July summer break to enter the camp. Some of the evangelical churches forbade their members to send their boys to initiation, but sometimes the boys went on their own initiative. Once in the camp, they were not allowed to leave, even if their parents told them to. Dancing, drumming, singing and general rejoicing were common during the circumcision season and also, albeit less crowded, during the vigils that usually preceded those days. The parties were a welcome change from the rather boring city life. In the last days of August, as the boys left the camp and the reintegration phase began, the cities once again became the scene of hilarity and merriment.

3. Social Axes Shadow society has been organized around some basic and relevant types of social relationships: gender, relatives of mother and father, males and boys. The first two are closely related. The way these social axes were ritually expressed was informed by the playful potential of a temporary alternate reality. That was also taken into account


Chapter 5. Rejoicing in an emerging alternate world

have to adapt to changing external circumstances, also through the possibilities offered by the playful framework. In fact, these axes represent a set of schemas for thinking, acting, and experiencing social relationships that contained internal tensions. The boys' initiation served as a crossroads where all these axes and schemes of social and cultural repertoire converged and were treated in a playful manner. The built-in tension was used for playful purposes, to emphasize but also soften it. At the same time, these schemes adapted to the changing circumstances of the colonial and post-colonial situation. Even without modernizing influences, this playful treatment of social axes sometimes led to a humorous application of these schemas, making them adaptable and malleable, even - as in the caricature of the circumcision period - to the point of blurring what is normally distinguishing, calling into question the accuracy of usual classifications place. In this way, the playful contributed to the creation of an alternate world and even ironic commentary on that alternate reality, such as when women made jokes about men's initiation. Let's take a closer look at each of these axes. Gender is an obvious aspect of initiation. In the initiation camp itself, an all-male society was created, contrasting with the village and emphasizing gender differences, not unduly during a ritual marking a boy's transition from his childlike dependence on women to integration into the group of men, albeit for at this only came into force much later for the younger ones, and later for the older ones. This could lead to comical situations, such as when boys under the age of five were theoretically treated as men, or vice versa, when older boys, some of whom were already married, were no longer treated as men but as boys. initiated. Women were barred from entering this man's world, but they were indispensable as an audience, sometimes literally, because they were meant to hear the sounds of the camp. A closely related axis was that of paternal and maternal relatives. Like women, male maternal relatives could still be present in the early stages of the ritual performed in the village, separating the child from its former status. The day before his circumcision, a relative on his mother's side shaved off the boy's hair. Women could also watch and rejoice when boys, shortly before their circumcision, danced with their male paternal relatives on the roofs of their parents' houses and were then carried on their shoulders to the place of the circumcision.

3. Social axes


ers from male relatives on the mother's side. But when the men and boys reached the river bank, all the women had to stay behind and could only watch the circumcision from afar. When the newly circumcised boys were taken from the riverside circumcision field to the camp on the outskirts of the village, the women were supposed to be in their homes. However, they often crossed that categorical line and peered through the cracks of wooden windows and doors; In some cases, the women even stayed outside to shake hands with the children, despite men's threats that they would remain infertile. During the seclusion period, there were various mysteries surrounding life in the camp. None of the women were allowed to meet her, and yet they were all known, overcoming a categorical male distinction. If they could demonstrate this indirectly and with a wink without ruining the men's game, they wouldn't pass up the opportunity. Some of these field secrets were actually quite artificial and existed for the sole purpose of having a secret that excluded women. In summary, the presence of a rare event in the reality of the city created a festive climate in which it became possible to experiment with the symbolic expression of gender differences and boundaries. The basic schemas were available in the traditional initiation repertoire, but in this climate their minimal nature allowed new ways of elaborating or even deviating from them. During the period of seclusion, the male relatives on the mother's side played a secondary role, although they were able to visit their sisters' children. Paternal relatives were primarily responsible for their village's initiation camp, just as maternal relatives played the same role in their own villages. Another axis of relationships that played a role was that between the novices and the initiates who were ritually in charge. The boys would become members of the men's group, but they were in no man's land: they were no longer boys, they weren't men yet. This vagueness, in addition to men being their link to the world outside the camp, made the novices dependent on men. The men brought food and looked after the children in their custody. These three axes played an important role in the initiation of children. In the alternative mini-society that created the initiation ritual, these axes were the raw material that people played with. His treatment of these social relationships was shaped by the transition in question: that of childhood to adulthood. In other Wagenia initiation rites, others


Chapter 5. Rejoicing in an emerging alternate world

the transitions related to different axes (unborn/born, engaged/engaged, alive/dead, healthy/sick), leading to differences between the rituals. However, all rites of passage in Wagenia shared a symbolic repertoire, although some symbols were ritual-specific (e.g. circumcision). Thus, in various rituals, the head was shaved, the body painted and decorated, he refrained from washing himself in the river until he took his first ceremonial bath as a sign of reintegration, he had to fast and remain in seclusion for some time. time, or doing things emphatically three times when once would have been enough. In other words, there was a symbolic vocabulary for people to use and experiment with. On the one hand they had to use this super-ritual code, but on the other hand they could also add and subtract. The playful context led to the emergence of new symbols, but with a familiar message.

4. Stages of the comic ritual Throughout the initiation, the men were involved in a double opposition at the same time, with the women and with the novices, who, for their part, did not remain passive. Play was present in both types of relationships and the emerging ritual practice was shaped by it. By inversion, imitation, deviation, distortion, or exaggeration, he mocked the other category in the relationship. The extraordinary moment of a whole group of children going through a social transition opened up a temporary opportunity to play with old and new terms and symbols. Several examples can be given for this. Once, during a wake preceding the circumcision festival, the women sang an improvised song alluding to the men who had to bring the children's food to the camp eating some of it, actually one of the secret men. During circumcision ceremonies there were women with phalluses and men posing as transvestites, playing and reversing gender roles. The men who danced with the children on the roofs repeatedly imitated sexual intercourse in a grotesque way, alluding to the conception of the child and thus to its parents and gender relations. Other dancers exaggerated the boy's height as if he were a giant. Hashish was officially banned by the authorities, but it was sometimes openly and demonstratively smoked by the men on the rooftops. All these

4. Stages of comic ritual


to the amusement of those present, small ironic plays were presented. For the initiation period, the men adopted invented animal names and loudly proclaimed them as they walked the path to the camp entrance. The children responded by imitating the sound of this animal. The alternate reality that the field represented was thus materialized through a reference to the animal world as a reflection of the human world. Sometimes the name was just unspeakable nonsense, like Nkpenkpenikpokpo. I myself was called Pitolo (Ptrole, Petroleum) because the boys begged me to buy kerosene for their lamps. In the camp the boys were mocked and cursed. Upon entering the camp, some of the men chatted with the boys, wished them well and had them repeat words expressing their well-being. But such conversation could easily degenerate suddenly into a series of curses, amusing for the children to automatically repeat the words and curse themselves, to the general delight of all present. Or a man would start fooling around and get the kids to imitate him. A young man had the children repeat the words of the poem "Femme nue, femme noire" by the Senegalese poet L. S. Senghor. This was a fun occasion because many of the boys did not understand the words and only imitated the sounds, but also because of the poem's erotic connotations, which some understood and others did not. The men also invented nicknames for the children. They were mocked by their friends. Men could curse one or all children and ask for favors such as mending nets to break the curse. Some of these curses were so nonsensical that they were clearly intended for amusement, e.g. B. Misfitting shoes, which oddly contain a modern element in a traditional practice. The cohort of male initiates in the earlier initiation ritual (1956) were particularly active in enunciating the curses, while the older males were empowered to override and undo these curses. The novices felt free to respond to these younger men, calling them "initiated babies" or attempting to remove their loincloths. At night, the men and boys regularly participated in communitas dances that blurred the distinction between them. They danced to the accompaniment of an instrument designed to imitate the sound of a parrot-like bird. The women must have figured that the boys slept in the open air at camp, although there was a hut shaped like a U-bird with a ribcage and wings. For them the bird whose song they heard and with which people danced and sang,


Chapter 5. Rejoicing in an emerging alternate world

it should be huge. It was said to cover children with its wings at night or when it was raining. All the women knew there was a hut in the camp, but they played along anyway, even to the point that when the camp hut burned down after the dedication and the flames were visible over the camp fence, the women went on with his work. and they pretended not to see the fire simply because there was no formal hut for them. The initiation was an opportunity for both men and women to engage in erotic puns that were normally taboo. On several occasions, particularly when it was raining and the women were to believe that the children in the camp were suffering, groups of women would come to the road leading to the camp and begin dancing and singing lewd songs. The men in the camp reacted similarly. When the women's song referred to the penis, the men called out words that referred to the vagina. As soon as the men started playing the great bird instrument, the women ran away. Gender differences were accentuated and ridiculed at the same time. On other occasions, some of the men would have the novices sing songs that insulted their mothers or sisters and extolled male masculinity. When boys recovered from circumcision, they slept on their stomachs, dangling their penises through an opening in the reed bed in the camp hut. The men then told the village women that the boys had already slept with a woman in the camp. This was doubly funny because it was common knowledge that these children were still recovering from their painful surgery. And, of course, some were too young to be sexually mature. Sometimes the pleasure came from combining external traditional internal and modern elements. When there were already enough boys in the camp, as new novices arrived, those already there organized a military parade, mimicking what they had observed in the city at colonial and national festivals. Traditional, but what can you call traditional? – They would have appeared in a long line behind the booth, but by the 1930s it had become a parade, drums were made out of cans, quasi-military uniforms were assembled and lyrics for march tunes were written. Each camp did its best to produce a beautiful parade. In general, the songs related to events or characters characteristic of that area. In the camp where I spent most of my time, the presence of a field worker was mentioned in one of the parade songs. A friend of mine who was visiting the villages of Wagenia in 2002 spontaneously heard the women singing this song when he

4. Stages of comic ritual


was recognized as my friend. The older boys played the roles of the authorities, being at least in 1970 heads of camp, Mobutu (as Baudouin had been in 1956 after the Belgian king) and the other boys ministers and generals. In each camp a boy played the role of archbishop and always featured prominently in the royal parades. The smaller novice was invariably chosen for this role, as the Archbishop of Kisangani was then small. The "Archbishop" took part in the parade, made the sign of the cross and blessed those present. This absurd mini-bishop added to the general cheer of the parade. Indeed, the parade was a way of positioning the Wagenia in an expanding world, in this case a new political, military, and religious system. On the day they left the camp to return to their families, the boys of the 1970 initiation organized the parade outside the camp for the first time so that the women could see what the men and boys were doing in their parade of the camp had. In this way, an element was added to the traditional process, which at this stage of the ritual usually consisted only of a welcoming ceremony for the children, at which their mothers saw them again, sometimes after months of isolation. To show women how much fun the show is, the gender boundary was ignored at this point afterwards. The night before the novices returned to their families, they left camp to take their long-awaited first dip in the river. In the camp they had only washed with lime water, which turned them white, a protection against the wandering spirits of their ancestors, who were also supposed to be white. On the night of the exodus from the camps, the women had to stay in their homes. They were supposed to believe that the novices were being chased into the river by an elephant, which was making a tremendous noise. The men brandish buzzers to accompany the passage of the beast. Sand and gravel were thrown onto the corrugated iron roofs of the houses. The women weren't the least bit impressed, but they played along. The next morning one of the older ladies told my wife what had happened, mimicking the sound of the elephant between roars of laughter. Both the great bird and the elephant were called animals, but sometimes they were also called spirits, as if the men were proclaiming a religion of their own creation in which women had to play the role of believers. So they not only created a male ritual world, but also arranged an almost supernatural expanse.


Chapter 5. Rejoicing in an emerging alternate world

After the initiation, after the boys returned to the villages, various activities were held, such as a begging tour through the villages and even through the town center (where people were shocked by these boys painted black with the oiled ashes of the burned ashes). camp hut and dressed in skirts made of torn banana leaves). Once the children sat painted red in front of their parents' house just to show themselves to passers-by. There was also an evening ball where no one remembered exactly what to do. As a result, each city interpreted this part of the ritual in its own way, reinventing it, so to speak. The atmosphere was invariably that of boys and men dancing and giggling. After the initiation, the novices performed wrestling matches for those they had trained in the camps. These games used to take place between towns on opposite banks. This added another social axis to the game's motivation, as during these meetings songs were sung that satirically insulted the other city and celebrated the glory of the city's fighters themselves. Especially the girls and women actively sang these songs while dancing towards the other party, but the men could also actively make fun of the other team. By now it may be clear why when I asked why the initiation took place, the common response was, "Because it's fun." Of course, one of the other responses was “making young men into men,” but these interviewees also recognized the joy that initiation brought them. For five months, life in the villages eluded routine. The fact that there could be several years between celebrations of the ritual added to the general excitement. There was a festive atmosphere and a happy atmosphere, and a lot of creativity was developed. In addition, there were humorous relationships that expressed and softened some of the social antagonisms that intervened in ritual and were part of people's experience: that of gender, the relationship between novices and initiates, and the antagonisms between the peoples on either side of the riverbank . The creation of a shadowy male society opened up many avenues for pleasure and entertainment. Now let's move from the ethnographic to the theoretical level and discuss the possibilities of looking at ritual as a playful way of creating one's own alternative world, with its own inner mechanisms and drives, colored by the fun of the occasion.

5. Ritual Games


5. Ritual play As I aim to show in this essay, and as perhaps made clear in previous ethnographic sections, enjoyment from the emergence of an alternate reality is an important dimension of ritual and is presented by some participants as an important reason to like your play. Rituals, repeat them and perform them in a certain way. Huizinga, in his now-classic Homo ludens (1971), suggested that play creates its own order. He named myth and ritual as areas in which the playful is very present and in which this order is expressed. Whether in children's play, in adult play, in religion or in art, a different reality is evoked. The ritual creation of another reality offers the possibility of living another life: participating in it, enjoying it, and deriving meaning and satisfaction from it. It is constructed as a counter-world, as a sometimes critical, sometimes affirming commentary on everyday life. The ritual reality often complements and contrasts with normal everyday reality, as is the case with Wagenia initiation, but can also repair it after a crisis, as in crisis and mourning rituals. The ritual has its own occasions. It is activated when people living a daily reality go through a crisis or transition, or when they change their social position in it like the Wagenia boys do when they become adults. In short, it's moments when people become aware of this normal reality and their strengths and weaknesses. Homo ludens then wakes up and uses their ability to conjure up an alternate reality, certainly not from scratch, and certainly for all sorts of purposes, but also and not least for fun. Consideration of the ritual itself draws attention to the possibility that the practice of the ritual on these occasions generates or creates its own emergent phenomena, as in the Wagenia counter-society of the camp of initiation and the entire sequence of events that accompanies it. The ritual actor works in an environment that facilitates but also guides his ritual performances. It seems that the human endowment for play, by creating the possibility of an alternate reality and a different way of classifying realities, facilitates and constrains the behavior of the ritual actor. People everywhere use this ability to conjure and construct an alternate reality, but at the same time they reify this emerging reality, making it part of "tradition" and thereby shaping the imaginations of future generations. The different generations of men influenced the way Wagenia initiation was performed and together they represented and guarded an ideal form of initiation ritual. In this sense, the ritual plays its own role, which presupposes another reality that forces us to work on it and


Chapter 5. Rejoicing in an emerging alternate world

within its specific properties. At the same time, in contrast to this ordinary use, ritual language allows for variable use and an explosion of new ideas and actions, although not all of them are feasible. As the Wagenia initiation ritual makes clear, reversals, deviations, and variations are possible, and it can give the impression that anything is possible. This creates the feeling of pleasure. New elements are also very often introduced - with a wink, so to speak - such as the painful shoes or the military parade in the case of Wagenia. So not only is there an alternate reality, but it's built with a degree of pleasure. The ritual occasion creates the opportunity for enjoyment. He sets the ritual grammar and forces his language to be spoken, but people do it with their own accent.

6. Schema-Repertoires To better understand how the playful nourishes the ritual itself, I will introduce a metaphor other than that of language or grammar, namely the repertoire. By speaking of culture as a collection of repertoires, or even as the human ability to use this collection, the dynamics of culture as a process are made explicit. The repertoires belong to areas of culture, including rituals, and facilitate the processing and monitoring of culture by people. Thus, the social axes mentioned above for the Wagenia case constitute a distinct repertoire of schemas for social behavior as thought, performed, and experienced. Cultures and repertoires have at least three characteristics in common: they change, they can contain contradictory elements and they are only partially activated. These aspects – change, contradiction and latency – make the repertoire a useful metaphor when speaking and reflecting on the current culture or mutatis mutandis the emerging ritual. Play gives the ritual repertoire its peculiar character and reinforces its three characteristics through the play that these three invite and stimulate. Together, change, contradiction and latency are playful tools and possibilities. The concept of repertoire becomes even more effective when the notion of schema, derived from cognitive anthropology and connectionism in particular, is added (see, for example, Strauss and Quinn 1994). Schemas can be defined as culturally accepted minimal scripts (or scenarios, prototypes, or models) for and from a specific thought, feeling, or action. They are representative, but also serve as processors (D'Andrade 1995, 136). In other words, they are models and models for thoughts, emotions and

6. Schema-Repertoires


Behave. Strauss and Quinn (1997: 6) define schemas as "networks of highly connected cognitive elements that represent generic concepts stored in memory". It is precisely this generic nature of schemas that allows for the playful emergence of alternative realities. A schema contains a minimal number of elements, generally no more than can be remembered, which are worked out as they are applied in a particular context. Being minimal, they simply and effectively fit into a repertoire, waiting to be activated and executed in a given situation. As part of a repertoire, they are not alone but interconnected: they may be part of a hierarchical tree-like or linear causal structure, or part of a series of major and minor schemes. The ritual representation of Wagenia is based on a linear scheme containing a basic number of elements in a fixed order, roughly corresponding to the three phases of Van Gennep's rites of passage. For each of these elements - separation, imprisonment, reintegration - there are subschemes that elaborate each phase into separate ritual elements such as (in the case of the separation phase) vigil, circumcision, or entry into the field. And for each of these sub-schemes there are further, more detailed sub-sub-schemes, including for example the correct method of pruning. The schemes can be generic since they are minimal constructions to be completed, strategically maximized, adjusted and modified to adapt to the specific situation in which they are activated and to arouse the interest of the actors. No Wagenia empowerment is identical to the previous or the next; moreover, each city had its own version. But each performance is based on accumulated knowledge as summarized in the repertoire for the initiation scheme and, more broadly, in the repertoires for all rites of passage. The outlines are widely applicable due to their minimal nature. A scheme is like an empty form in the bureaucracy that must be filled out for each individual case. There are programs that belong to the macro level of Wagenia society, like the three axes, and others that work at the middle or micro level, for example of cities or families. Schemas support the category system that a person uses. The three characteristics of a repertoire discussed above, namely change, contradiction, and latency, become apparent in the practical uses people make of the schemas in that repertoire: adaptation, living with and using contradictions, and making strategic choices. . Not all schemes are used at the same time and can therefore contradict each other. Through the use of schemas, people are constantly changing their repertoire, for example their ritual repertoire.


Chapter 5. Rejoicing in an emerging alternate world

The systems differ in their durability, their flexibility and their resistance to new influences. They can become rigid when their application is subject to strict rules, such as can be found in orthodox teachings, but also in rituals that must be performed correctly and carefully. Thus, ritual has gained a reputation for being characterized by formality and schematic, standardized behavior. And indeed, while ritual schemas can be the subject of conscious reflection, many are used routinely without reflection. Those schemas passed through effective socialization will have entered routine practice and will not be easily replaced. The dramatic, physical nature of the Wagenia initiation helps men routinely remember the order of events of their own initiation (with the exception of this evening dance, but then new schemes can be invented amid much laughter). This is also a welcome feature when the ritual is performed after such long intervals as in the case of Wagenia. According to connectionists, schema persistence is based on the brain's connections between billions of neurons or processors (Strauss and Quinn 1997, 51). These neurons form networks that can become very intractable, to the point where they support routine reflexes rather than reflective responses. Socialization and learning, whether initiated or not, are processes that allow for the formation of permanent connections between neurons. This is reminiscent of a hot topic in the ritual debate: the question of whether, by definition, a ritual is never the subject of reflection or, on the contrary, requires explicit and conscious justification. Schema theory suggests that, in fact, much ritual behavior can occur automatically, while at the same time schemas can still be consciously managed. Another insight from connectionism, also based on insights from cognitive studies of how the human brain works, is that when people are confronted with a context that requires some form of action, thought, or emotion, different parts of the schema repertoire can be activated simultaneously. . As indicated above, concurrency is an important feature of the game. The human brain allows for extremely rapid comparison of alternatives while considering a wide variety of schemes. Therefore, the linearity of the verbalization is misleading. Before any conclusions are drawn, a parallel query of schematic files in the repertoire is performed at the speed of light. This parallel process is much more typical of what goes on in the brain than the serial process of verbalization (D'Andrade 1995, 139-141). People don't think the way they speak or write. The mere verbalization of a cultural or ritual element, such as when informants speak to field workers

6. Schema-Repertoires


Result of a more complicated process that is much harder to grasp but more insightful into how culture works (Bloch 1998). Viewing culture as a system of customs, rules, or symbols is useful as a summary, but does not reflect or define what people actually experience (D'Andrade 1995, 149). Experience is both inductive and deductive in relation to the production and reproduction of schemas. The ritual may seem fixed, but it can effect change, either through the experience it brings as an alternate reality or as a result of what the ritual participants experienced in everyday reality. However, linear, serially processed schemes do occur and, as in discursive education, are quickly learned and modified. In comparison, distributed parallel schemes require repeated experience and much longer to master, but then work much more efficiently and quickly. One of the typical aspects of Wagenia's initiation was that, contrary to stereotypical views of initiation, there was little explicit education. However, the dramatic events taught a lot about the relevance of the social axes. The fact that all the men of Wagenia went through the initiation and experienced its dramatic, staggered and social nature contributed to the more or less correct execution, despite the long hiatus since the previous event. The Wagenia initiation ritual was a world of its own that conditioned the novices. The guys continued to practice their fighting techniques and developed reflexes that are faster than reflex actions. Wagenia's ritual schemes appear mostly to be of the parallel routine type, but they can also be the subject of a serial reformulation. Asking why this is so would confuse informants and show how routine the initiation of Wagenia was, although asking the question stimulated informants to ponder the reasons. What are the implications for play, particularly with regard to ritual? Routine schemes serve as the basis for an independent ritual, including the staged reality. In addition, the parallel process enables simultaneity when people are confronted with different classifications of reality. While the lives of the people of Wagenia had to go on as normally as possible, at the same time the reality in the field of initiation was unfolding. Parallel processing facilitates change that requires comparison of alternatives. It is also the basis for irony and duplicity; the wink is a metaphor for the game's own dual perspective, just as the other reality of the ritual must be understood in its dual perspective with normal reality. The innovation and creativity of the playful capacity depends heavily on the parallel process. as soon as the people


Chapter 5. Rejoicing in an emerging alternate world

In order to play with schemas and develop a different reality, as happens in ritual, the ability for simultaneity is essential. From a methodological point of view, the problem is that this side of the playful role in the ritual is difficult to grasp in its movement. What my Wagenia informants told me was serial verbalization, while what actually happened was as hard to see as a drop of water flowing down the Congo. Watching as a participant might offer some compensation. The hidden hangover in the cultural movement also means that play's contribution to the ritual itself remains largely invisible. On the other hand, ritual may exist because it is not fully manageable serially, discursively, and inductively. What has been suggested so far relates to the inner workings of a culture or ritual. But ethnic lines have been crossed and people, including the Wagenia, are being challenged to find a place for themselves in this ever-expanding world. The impact of globalization with a continuous flow of information available to people in cultures that were once, rightly or wrongly, considered closed is a constant spur. Today, people in all walks of life are constantly being challenged and forced to adjust their schema repertoire, and this challenge is met in different ways. The Wagenia initiation contains several examples of this horizon-expanding process. In parallel with deliberations on potentially useful plans, such as when the Wagenia saw fit to emulate the colonial military parade and have the youngest child play the role of archbishop, people are juggling a rather complex set of alternatives. Some of these can be ignored and left dormant, while others are prominent and inevitable, and some new elements cannot be ignored but must be embraced. The ritual, although persistent and inflexible in itself, does not escape this trend. With these ideas in mind, one could restate the above and propose that ritual represents a repertoire of schemas used to evoke an alternate reality, generally at times when normal reality is undergoing a crisis or transition , which is not addressed by the normal reality usual. Repertoires The event invites you to play with schemes and thus with reality. The minimalism of the schemes facilitates their application on specific occasions, such as the five-month Wagenia initiation ritual, and their playful use. Schemes and repertoires can be adjusted accordingly. Ritual schemes are often applied routinely, which can give the impression that nobody is aware of the meaning of the symbols used and that they are reduced to their mere scheme. But it can also be a conscious reflection on changes in

7. Conclusion: a playful ritual repertoire


schemes and in new schemes. In both cases the human neurological tool is used. The hidden workings of routine parallel processing of schemas give the game an elusive self-movement that nonetheless serves as a source for emerging practices. The repertoire of ritual schemes brings the accommodating intrinsic qualities of playfulness into the ritual and helps to understand how the ritual works.

7. Conclusion: A ludic ritual repertoire This approach to culture and ritual as forms of administration and monitoring of schema repertoires can easily be combined with the vision of humans as homo ludens. The simultaneous combination of two or more reality classifications plays with the existing repertoire and also modifies it. The minimality of the outlines allows their creative application. Because the schemas are generic, actors are challenged to apply them in their own way. Furthermore, in the case of rituals, the transient creation and enactment of an alternate reality and the associated counterpoint suggest that people transiently upend or exaggerate established repertoires of normal reality. These changes in normal reality give the playful aspect of the ritual its proper role. By substituting the elements that make them up, the schemes lend themselves to experimentation with contradictions, puns, unexpected reversals and variations. Just as my informants do not normally think in terms of social science, in terms of social order or symbolic functions or systems, or in terms of communicating with the sacred borrowed from religious studies, they do not consciously stage rituals as entertainment. Some participants will not even see all the joy that lies in a ritual. Emphasizing the playful is no way to deny the social. It is present, not only through one function or another, but as a joy to do something together. My efforts to revisit the Wagenia ritual after more than thirty years have shown that rituals can be studied in their own right and cannot be exhaustively presented when reduced to social or cultural causes or functions. The playful side of ritual may well help to rehabilitate this controversial notion, since the playful represents a way in which rituals act in their own right.


Chapter 5. Rejoicing in an emerging alternate world

References Bloch, Maurice E.F. (1998). How we think they think: Anthropological approaches to cognition, memory, and literacy. Skirt: Westview Press. D'Andrade, Roy (1995). The development of cognitive anthropology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Droogers, André (1980). The Dangerous Journey: Symbolic Aspects of Children's Initiation among the Wagenia of Kisangani, Zaire. The Hague and New York: Mouton. Droogers, André (1996). Methodological Luddism: Beyond Religionism and Reductionism. In: Anton van Harskamp (ed.). Conflicts in the Social Sciences. London: Routledge, pp. 44-67. (Chapter 14 of this book) Huizinga, Johan (1971 [1938]). Homo ludens: a study of the playful element in culture. Boston: Beacon Press. Lifton, Robert Jay (1993). The Protein Self: Human Resilience in the Age of Fragmentation. New York: Essential Books. Pruyser, Paul W. (1976). A dynamic psychology of religion. New York: Harper and Row. Strauss, Claudia and Naomi Quinn (1994). A cognitive/cultural anthropology. In: Robert Borofsky (ed.). Evaluation of cultural anthropology. New York: McGraw-Hill, pp. 284-300 Strauss, Claudia and Naomi Quinn (1997). A cognitive theory of cultural meaning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Turner, Victor W. (1982). From ritual to theatre: the human seriousness of play. New York: Journal of Performing Arts Publications. Turner, Victor W. (1988). The anthropology of action. New York: Journal of Performing Arts Publications. Van Gennep, Arnold (1960 [1909]). The rites of passage. Trans. Monika B. Vizedom and Gabrielle L. Cafee. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

Chapter 6 Fiestas: A Cultural Anthropological Perspective 1. Introduction In discussing fiestas from a cultural anthropological perspective, one must first recognize that a fiesta is a cultural event. This starting point brings different aspects into view. Therefore, the importance of culture in understanding the celebrations must be considered (Section 3). In addition, the concept of ritual, which anthropologists would think of first in relation to festivals, should be reviewed (Section 4). The playful or playful aspect must also be mentioned, which is by no means the exclusive focus of anthropologists, but about which they can comment from the perspective of their discipline (section 5). But first I would like to present an important case (Section 2) or, as Fernández would say, “an instructive incident” (Fernández 1989:xi), which can serve to illustrate and test the most abstract generalizations. This carries the risk of simple generalizations based on an individual case, but can also stimulate discussion. In any case, it will be of great help in developing cultural-anthropological questions.

2. A momentous case While conducting field research in the small town of São Martinho (not my real name) in Espírito Santo state, Brazil, one Sunday I witnessed the 66th annual church festival of the local Lutheran congregation. The festival took place around or on the day of the consecration of the parish church. Although Brazil has the highest number of Catholics in the world, the majority of São Martinho's local population is Lutheran. This is the result of mass immigration to this region in the 1860s from Pomerania from what is now North-West Poland. The Pomeranian dialect is still spoken today, alongside Standard German and, of course, Portuguese, the national language of Brazil. These languages ​​are not only to be heard in everyday conversation, but also, for example, in church life and at the annual church festival. Some services are still to come


Chapter 6. Festivities: a view from cultural anthropology

in Pomeranian, including the sermon given in that language by pastors of Pomeranian descent. The ancestors of today's Lutheran population of São Martinho and the surrounding countryside came to Brazil with dreams of cultivating their land. Many of them had worked as tenant farmers in Pomerania, but were driven out when the landowners decided to mechanize farming and hire Polish workers. Other Pomeranians had gone to the United States and other parts of Brazil. For many, the dream turned into a nightmare. They were not successful in the new environment and had to sell their land to local businessmen, also of German descent, who eventually became the major landowners in the area. In many cases, the former owners continued to lease the property. Recently, large landowners have begun evicting their tenants by hiring cheap day laborers from the neighboring state of Minas Gerais. History repeats itself. Although virtually all São Martinenses of Pomeranian descent now hold Brazilian citizenship, many still consider themselves Pomeranian and consider outsiders Brazilian. This positioning is reinforced by a self-imposed isolation that has shaped the region for decades. Contacts to Brazilian business and politics were mediated by local business people. Only recently has the population become more mobile thanks to better transport and educational facilities. More and more outsiders are arriving, and tourism is a fledgling business, interestingly taking advantage of the region's Pomeranian folklore. As is often the case with immigrants, not only their language but also their religion helped the Pomeranians to preserve their cultural identity amidst the radical changes they had to go through. For a long time, however, the Lutheran church stayed away from large parts of the population, also because the local business elite, as well as in business and politics, dominated the church council. Also, until the 1970s, the parish priests were German and used Standard German as the church language, a language spoken by local elite families but in which most church members could not express themselves. An example of the influence of elite families is that their adult members were often asked to be godparents to their loved ones' newborn children. When a child was to be baptized, the godparents, who acted as interpreters, used to accompany the parents to the vicarage. Through this practice, the elite organized and reproduced their dependency network.

2. A significant case


But not all German Shepherds lived in harmony with the elite members of the church council, as both competed for ownership of the community. Brazilian pastors who have worked in the parish of São Martinho and neighboring towns in recent decades have introduced a more nationally oriented form of Lutheranism. In addition, many of them were adherents of the liberation theology that became typical of much of the Catholic Church in Latin America, as well as some of the major Protestant churches. This meant they were opposed by the local business elite, the same people who had traditionally served as mediators between lay and clergy. From the pulpit, they condemned the excessive interest rates that businessmen levied on customers who could not pay directly. The same entrepreneurs' selfish role in shifting local agricultural products to state markets has also been criticized. The double dependence of people on merchants who sold consumer goods on credit at high interest rates and at the same time bought agricultural products from their debtors at self-determined low prices was condemned. The new shepherds defended the rights of tenant farmers and helped smallholders in disputes over land rights. His sermons were intended to alert the flock to the class struggle involving members of his church, and they used paradigmatic stories from the Bible, such as the Exodus from Egypt to the Promised Land, to prove their point. Soon only a few members of the elite families remained on the church council. One of the unintended consequences of the pastors' speech was that middle-class church members worried about whether they were rich or poor. However, a significant part of the members assimilated the new religious views and changed their vision of social, economic and political life. With this support, the shepherds organized a successful campaign to elect a progressive mayor of São Martinho, creating a situation where, for the first time in the city's history, the business elite no longer dominated politically. Interestingly, the Shepherd's grandson candidate was one of the last German Shepherds to have had a long history of conflict with the more elite, dominant families. His father, although employed as a civil servant, came from one of the other elite families. The church festival takes place on this stage. Sunday begins with a service using the three languages ​​Portuguese, German and Pomeranian. It's not as crowded as the usual Sunday masses, as many parishioners are already preparing for the activities that take place after the mass, such as a grand bazaar with a game of bingo


Chapter 6. Festivities: a view from cultural anthropology

Main attraction designed to raise funds for the maintenance of parish life, including the parish priest's salary, house and car. Interestingly, one of the most influential members of the elite and one of the few upper class members remaining on the church council is responsible for the central treasury. The games you can spend money on are varied. One of these, shuffleboard, is known as the Dutch game "jogo hollandÞs" which appears to have been introduced to the region by Dutch immigrants. Food and drinks are sold and a full meal is served at lunchtime. Snacks are sold during the day, including churrasquinho, a humble version of churrasco, the grill that the gaucho of southern Brazil is known for. It is said that the shepherds from the south who worked in São Martinho introduced this part of the festival. Drinks include locally distilled rum. There is a sound system installed which is used extensively for announcements but also for playing vinyl records. Almost the entire population of the city, whether Lutheran or not, is present. The buses bring people from communities across the state of Espírito Santo. São Martinho is one of the oldest immigration centers in Pomerania and from here many people have settled in other parts of the country. Parish festivals are good opportunities to meet relatives and some of these church festivals are announced over the sound system. Around two thousand people are present at the bingo game. A special feature of the daily program is the uniformed brass band of the church members. As on other Sundays, the music band accompanies the singing of the hymn during the service. Later, at the music pavilion in front of the church building, the band plays sacred music for a while, but then switches to secular melodies of German origin, which are performed with a slight Brazilian accent. Brazilians from outside the region consider this band as one of the typical aspects of the Pomeranian character and the band is presented as a tourist attraction. He also performs at other parties in São Martinho. The sermon at the service is in Pomeranian, with a summary in Portuguese, and its message differs from that of the bazaar and the bingo game. Its theme is mercy, both divine and human. Community life should be characterized by mercy and the members should be merciful to one another. Oppression and exploitation are condemned. After-service activities are not based on charity, but rather on chance and greed. To win and leave the party richer than you came in, you need luck. For the poor, the game of bingo offers an opportunity to acquire a consumer product that is out of their reach. A small amount of money can lead to an expensive product. The poor have little money to spend and the rich statistically have better chances because

3. A cultural event


You can buy more tickets. While the sermon represents the utopia of an alternative society, the bazaar and bingo reflect reality. For many laypeople, chance, rather than class struggle, explains the difference between rich and poor. The typical elite would add that alongside chance, hard work matters, suggesting that poor people don't work hard enough. In addition, part of the bazaar and bingo profits were donated by local shopkeepers, who thereby create publicity and strengthen their position in local and church life. In general, the atmosphere during the bazaar is intended to reflect the existing social reality. People meet family and friends. Clients from elite families meet their clients. Godparents meet their godchildren. Local politicians, including the progressive mayor, are firmly present, walking around entertaining their network participants with drinks or buying them opportunities at attractions. As if to please social justice advocates, the bingo's first prize, a motorbike, is randomly won by a lower-class woman from a town near São Martinho. She and her husband are Catholics of non-Pomeranian descent and are neither black nor white. It is announced over the public speaker system that they are tenants and their owner's name is mentioned, suggesting that it is part of their identity. At the end, the help of the "Friends of the Catholic Religion" is publicly acknowledged. In a few months the small Catholic community will be celebrating its annual festival, and then the majority of Lutherans will surely come to take part. As the sun goes down, the party ends, leaving a dozen men drunk. Some start a fight that can easily be fought by more sober spectators.

3. A cultural event The Lutheran church holiday described above is not just a church event. It is a religious festival, but takes place in a specific social context and has a particular form, which in part goes back to church festivals in Germany in the 19th century. The holiday has Pomeranian elements, at least as preserved by the descendants of 19th-century immigrants. But there is also a close resemblance to the celebrations of the patron saint celebrated annually in the Catholic communities of Brazil. The public reflects the history of the region's migration flows. The use of High German, Pomeranian and Portuguese reflects the multicultural situation in which the festival takes place. In addition, it is considered a showcase of social relations


Chapter 6. Festivities: a view from cultural anthropology

both between godparents and godchildren and between rich and poor. The contrast between worship on the one hand and bazaar and bingo on the other expresses the tension between the pastors and the elite. The emphasis on chance corresponds to the ideology of the elite. The strong resilience of tradition forces pastors to obey a faction that actually contradicts their message. In addition, the party is essential to the financial situation of the parish, including that of its pastors. At the festival we observe a fairly complex constellation of religious, social, ethnic, political, economic, but also artistic and leisure aspects. Almost all dimensions of culture are present, but each in its magnitude and with differentiated connections between them. The constellation becomes even more complex due to different (sub-)cultural influences. Despite the complexity, people deal with such a situation very efficiently. You easily find your way through such a festive day. One may wonder what enables them to carry out such a task. Cultural anthropology's answer might be that culture is a uniquely human trait and that it exists because of the human gift for creating meaning. In the case described above, people can find out the meaning of the holiday based on their cultural abilities. At least they know why they are going and what to expect. But the concept of culture has two faces. First, as in the concrete example given above, 'culture' refers to the local customs and habits typical of a population group, in this case people of Pomeranian descent. The reality is more complex since elements of cultures other than Pomeranian play a role: different “cultures” are involved, such as the Brazilian culture or more precisely that of the non-Pomeranian Catholic residents of São Martinho, and even Dutch and gaucho cultural elements are present. Because local cultures operate in a larger context, they can be referred to as subcultures. In both cases, culture has a localized meaning. There are many such cultures. In this first sense, culture has both a singular and a plural meaning. In the second sense, "culture" has only a singular meaning. It refers to something that all humans have in common, an ability that leads to different outcomes (many cultures) but is fundamental to human nature. Culture then refers to the human ability to give meaning to objects, people, events, space and time. In this sense, culture always operates in a context that is cultural in the first sense. No one starts from scratch when building a culture. All humans are socialized in some way to function with some degree of efficiency and success. So

3. A cultural event


the ability to produce meaning operates within a pre-existing framework. Many meanings and traditions are established and it takes effort on one's part to avoid them. Thus, although the pastors dislike the role played by chance and greed in the bazaar and bingo, they cannot abolish this part of the church jubilee festival. Shepherds can be viewed as professional producers of meaning, and yet they are unable to transform the festival, nor are they able to produce a different type of local society. What they were developing with some success was a new kind of faith, a new interpretation of the Christian message. There is usually leeway for those who find reasons to change current appreciation of objects, people, events, space, or time. The emigration from Pomerania to Brazil is an example of such a change in the appreciation of space, land, dependency. In a situation of increasing cultural influences and people of different ethnicities and religions living together, the human ability to convey meaning and understanding is used to make one “fluent” in more than one context. Catholics know how to behave at a Lutheran party and vice versa. Non-Pomeranians don't feel discouraged from participating in a typical Pomeranian activity. All people have a whole repertoire of behaviors that they activate when needed. The double characteristic of identity, whether religious, ethnic or political, is given a more or less permanent profile on the one hand, and on the other hand it is flexible and can adapt when it becomes visible. It reflects the dual meaning of culture, as a set of specific characteristics typical of a category of people, but also as a gift for understanding different cultural expressions, changing accepted meanings and developing new ones. A participant in the Lutheran feast described in Section 2, consciously or unconsciously, holds a range of meanings in relation to the constellation of aspects and elements that that particular feast represents. Participation in a cultural environment is by no means homogeneous. Each category has its own identity and acts accordingly. The pastors are active during the service, but play no significant role in the program for the rest of the day. They more or less tolerate the program after the service. For many members, the service that opens the day is not the most important thing. This is also because they may be busy preparing the program for the rest of the day. The band changes roles when the service ends. The poor have a different idea of ​​the party than the rich. Local businessmen and politicians


Chapter 6. Festivities: a view from cultural anthropology

they have their own interests in supporting and participating in the party. For young people, the party can serve as a marriage market. The possibilities continue. And next year people might come in different outfits than this year. This case also shows that the parties cannot be understood without considering the balance of power between those present. Power can be described as the ability to influence the behavior of other people, even against their will. During the service, the power of the pastor is exercised primarily in the area of ​​creating meaning, while after the service it almost disappears. Then the lay organizers assert their power with the aim of making the party a financial success. Through their public appearances, members of the local economic and political elite reproduce their power relations with their clients. The renter who wins the motorcycle is publicly portrayed as a dependent of a rental company.

4. Fiesta and Ritual Interestingly, anthropologists rarely use the term fiesta, with the possible exception of Latin American studies, where no field researcher can escape fiesta. Unlike folklore studies, indexes of the anthropology of religious books, whether textbooks or monographs, rarely include the term. A very important part of the anthropological vocabulary is the term "ritual". The terms festival and ritual are not entirely the same. The specificity of their discipline's vocabulary, linked to a field of study long restricted to illiterate, "exotic" tribal cultures, led anthropologists to treat festivals and rituals almost interchangeably, as if every ritual in tribal cultures is a party and every party a ritual were. It makes sense to examine the differences. In some festival definitions, the term ritual appears as an essential element: A festival is "the moment or occasion when people give something special in the organization of time and in the course of a person's life cycle (i.e., that is, in a way that goes beyond the daily ritual form) to the events that shape personal and social existence, namely from faith, a religious, philosophical or ideological orientation that gives meaning to life" (Post 2001: 37 ). Key elements of this definition relate to the temporal connection of a festival, the individual or social context of the festival, the particular ritual form of the festival, and belief as a frame of reference for attribution.

4. Party and ritual


give it meaning. A festival is a time-related social and ritual event that takes place in connection with some type of belief. The term ritual makes it clear that the extraordinary nature of the event is emphasized. It goes beyond everyday life. The special character of the festival also seems to refer to the fact that it is a celebration, an occasion for joy. Therefore, funeral rituals and Good Friday rituals are excluded from the holiday category: not all rituals are holidays. The implicit question in referring to ritual is, of course, how ritual is defined. There has been a lot of discussion about this topic. One question is whether the term ritual refers only to religious events or also includes secular ceremonies. It is true that this point has been the subject of a long debate in anthropology and religious studies, with a growing awareness of the cultural limitations of the art of definition. Simply put, ritual exists because scholars in the western academic subculture use the term, which is no guarantee that it exists in reality (if there is such a thing as reality...). This has even led some authors to abandon the term ritual altogether (for a review see Boudewijnse 1995; see also Asad 1995, Bell 1992, Grimes 1990, Humphrey and Laidlaw 1994, and Rappaport 1999). Others simply distinguish between religious and secular rituals. To the degree of academic timidity, there is almost agreement that ritual should not be limited to religious events. The reference to 'belief' in the above definition of a festival is of course very broad, but if the focus is narrowed to religion in the discussion of what a festival is, it can again be stated that not all rituals are festivals . . What else can be called typical of the ritual? A recurring feature of the term "ritual" is that it is a standardized, formal and therefore repetitive behavior. This feature suggests you have your exclusive time and place. Its formality is a consequence of another supposed feature of the ritual: the use of symbols of more or less fixed meaning, part of a supposedly global system of symbols, although each performance can be shown to involve minor or major changes. , as I discovered in my PhD. Research on the male initiation rites of a Congolese tribe (Droogers 1980). However, some authors prefer not to include the symbolic dimension because they want to include animal behaviors as rituals (e.g. Rappaport 1999:25). An often-mentioned peculiarity of the use of symbols in ritual is the use of inversion and reversal, an aspect emphasized by Victor Turner (Turner 1969). The problem is the supposed functionality of


Chapter 6. Festivities: a view from cultural anthropology

Ritual sometimes considered essential enough to be included in the definitions of the concept. Although the instrumentality of rituals is often viewed as non-technical and based on symbolism (there is a difference between a ritual for a good harvest and the normal activities of the agricultural calendar), rituals are believed to have a specific goal, either established by the artists. or unknown to them, such as healing, controlling nature, reducing fear, resolving conflict, promoting social integration, or guaranteeing the legitimacy of power relations. The idea of ​​goal implies that a ritual is behavior aimed at communicating something, either to the participants themselves, to strangers, or (in religious rituals) to some sort of spiritual being: god, gods, spirits, saints, etc. With regard to instrumentality, a distinction must be made between the emic goals, which the actor and his audience formulate from within, and the researcher's ethical goals, which are formulated from the outside. Both perspectives on instrumentality have produced typologies of rituals such as rites of passage, mourning, healing, atonement, life cycle rituals, annual cycle rituals, purification rituals, political rituals and many more. In the doctoral thesis mentioned, I criticized the overly serious pursuit of social functions and defended the idea that a ritual can also be performed for fun (Droogers 1980: 359-367). Scientists seem tempted to turn what is celebrated into something serious. In the next section I will come back to the playful aspect of festivals and rituals. Concerning the comparison between festival and ritual, we can now ask what we can learn from this definition exercise. If ritual is as distinctive an element of the definition of fiesta as Post (2001:37) would have us believe, then what does the debate over the definition of ritual add to the understanding of fiestas? The unusualness that is typical of the festival was also noted in the discussion about the ritual. Although not explicitly mentioned in the definition of fiesta above, the role of symbols in festival studies has been recognized (Taborda 1988:60–88). The use of the word meaning in this definition also points in this direction. The reference to time and the life cycle is similar to the attention given to rites of passage in ritual studies, particularly in relation to human biography. For the rest, the definition is not too instrumental, which does not exclude the possibility that a party can perform one of the functions mentioned in the previous paragraph. It appears that ritual and feast are terms that mainly reflect different disciplinary and ecclesiastical preferences, although there is certainly some interdisciplinary touch and citation overlap. Field

4. Party and ritual


The method chosen for the research will influence the terminology used and the typologies developed. Therefore, it seems prudent not to attempt any kind of unity, but to examine the complementarity of the two approaches. This could be combined with a family-like use of definitions, accepting that instances are distinct and need not have all the characteristics that are succinctly expressed in one definition. It seems preferable to use the definitions mainly heuristically to draw attention to essential features and aspects. Concepts should not become an end in themselves, but should remain subordinate to the actual research efforts. Therefore, I will not expand the number of definitions already created. Mapping the options in this landscape full of pitfalls seems more fruitful. In the light of this general discussion of festival and ritual, we could test the ideas developed so far by reflecting on the case of the Lutheran church festival. I called it a party but is it a party? Is it a ritual? What festive and ritual features discussed above can be seen in this case? Would a family resemblance approach work? From the celebratory characteristics defined above, it is clear that the anniversary of the dedication of a church building represents an occasion in time. It is also evident that this is a social event, not only for parishioners but also for Catholics in the area and for family members throughout the state of Espírito Santo. The solemnity of the occasion is very present, although the joy is not so much due to the fact that the church building has survived sixty-six turbulent years, nor, as the pastor would say in his homily, to God's mercy on the members of the church. Rather, the church festival is a fixed point in the calendar, as there are other festivals in São Martinho throughout the year, all of which are justified by their exceptionality. Everyday life is interrupted. It's an opportunity to have fun, spend some money and maybe have the pleasure of winning something, whether it's a worthless gimmick or first prize at bingo. Ritual was one of the terms mentioned in Post's (2001:37) definition, but I'll discuss that aspect in a moment. A form of faith, the last keyword, is also present in this case of a Lutheran modality. However, the role played by the Lutheran faith during the day varied. They were strongly present in the service, in the liturgy, in the hymns and prayers and in the homily of the pastor. But the marching band's shift in roles as they transitioned from hymns in worship to secular music on the marching band,


Chapter 6. Festivities: a view from cultural anthropology

She was representative of the rest of the party. The church provided the occasion for the festival and reaped the financial benefits. But otherwise it was much more representative of local society, including its ideology of success and chance. The party also served as a platform for all social, economic and political categories of actors populating São Martinho and its surroundings. With the organization of the festival, the church not only served its own financial survival, but also helped to reproduce the prevailing social structure. In short, the Church Party was, in a peculiar way, a party that obeyed the defining parameters of Post's definition. What about the ritual? The party is repeated annually according to a more or less fixed scenario, starting with a fair and then continuing with a program of attractions including bingo and its prizes. The space is used in the prescribed way: the service takes place in the sacred space of the church, while the more secular part of the program takes place outside and in the rooms and halls around the church. This seems to indicate that the ritual in this case is both religious and secular. The fact that after the service the brass band begins with sacred music but then switches to secular melodies is an interesting example of a gradual transition between religious and secular parts of the program. The use of symbols with a more or less fixed meaning, related to something other than the symbol itself, can be observed not only in the liturgy of the service at the São Martinho church festival. a place so obviously symbolic that it needs no further explanation, but also, albeit less obviously, during the secular part of the festival. The marching band uniform was an indication of the musicians' special status, and both inside and outside the church they had a reserved place. The type of music they played suited the phase of the day. The people attending the party were generally dressed in their finest, indicating the festive nature of the day. Nonetheless, these garments acted as indicators of differences in status and wealth. The money was spent differently, e.g. My. in the interest of church finances and was thus symbolic of the character of the festival. Although the money was easy to spend, there was still hope of making more than what was spent. The money represented an odd mix of charity and self-interest. The way the drinks were offered was symbolic of the nature of the social relationship. Despite a certain atmosphere of equality and fraternity, dependency existed and reciprocity was certainly not universal. "May I offer you a beer?" can be a request to reproduce a relationship of dependency. The gift obliges. The bingo game can be

5. The playful


seen as an explicit symbol of consumption. The Lutheran ownership of the party is indirectly symbolized by the polite manner in which non-Lutherans, especially Catholics, are greeted at the end of the party. Another aspect of the ritual relates to its non-technical functionality. The religious holiday corresponds to this non-technicality. The main purpose is the celebration of an anniversary and, more broadly, an opportunity to relax, to take a break from everyday economic work. Worship is a form of celebration and hymns, for example, are chosen to emphasize this festive side. During the rest of the day, much money is spent but nothing is produced or bought, although economic values ​​are felt, such as in the consumer's desire to win a prize and also with the express purpose of strengthening community finances. . . But most participants, even the poorest, are willing to spend money without expecting anything in return. The instrumentality of the festival, as we have already noted, takes on different forms depending on which category the participant belongs to. But many serve their own social, political, or economic purposes. However, a major motivation for everyone to participate is fun, and this can hardly be described as instrumental. In short, festival and ritual seem to go hand in hand, although each term draws attention to different aspects. Considering the church holiday, the two main phases of the holiday differ, but as such contain elements characteristic of the holiday or ritual. The family resemblance approach and the corresponding heuristic use of the concepts appear to be valid.

5. The playful A few words about the playful, an aspect that festival and ritual have in common and that also seems to play an important role in Lutheran church festivals (cf. Droogers 1994, 1996). I have defined ludic as “the ability to engage simultaneously and conjunctively with two or more ways of classifying reality” (Droogers 1996: 53). The participants of the church festival share the atmosphere of the festival, but know that there is another reality outside and after the festival. “Simultaneously” refers to the player's “dual consciousness” (Pruyser 1976:190), combining different or even opposing perspectives and contexts. "Subjunctively" is a term borrowed from Victor Turner (Turner 1988:25, 169), which distinguishes between the indicative (the "as is") and the subjunctive.


Chapter 6. Festivities: a view from cultural anthropology

(the "as if"), which characterizes the human gift of play to evoke an alternate reality. In recent decades, several scientists have drawn attention to this aspect. Homo ludens was described as a cultural being by the Dutch historian Johan Huizinga (Huizinga 1952). Myth and ritual are areas in which the playful is very present. Huizinga stressed that the game has its own time and place and is outside of normal life, but fills the player to the full. The game does not serve any material interest and has no economic character. The non-technicality of ritual instrumentality has already been mentioned above. According to Huizinga, the game creates its own perfect order, although it has an inherent uncertainty due to the element of chance. It has an important social function in uniting people in the same activity (Huizinga 1952:5-14). Through the evocation of another reality, child's play, adult's play and religion are closely linked (Huizinga 1952: 25). It is clear that Huizinga was one of the first to emphasize the elements of the exceptional and non-technical in the game, as well as its relationship to festival and ritual. At the church festival we showed the elements of chance, uncertainty and conviviality. Besides, the party had its own order, its own rules. The cultural anthropologist Victor Turner showed how the marginal phase in the rites of passage, between the phases of separation and integration, is shaped by play and investment and thus by innovation. This is made possible by the “playful ability of humans to capture symbols in their movement and to play with their possible forms and meanings” (Turner 1982: 23). It is remarkable that Turner does not strictly separate work and free time. While the game allows for any combination of variables, the work is limited to the rational combinations that match means to ends. But for Turner, the ritual is a combination of work and play (Turner 1982:34-35). In his opinion, the marginal phase is characterized by communitas, the absence of hierarchical social-structural relationships. As we have seen, the communitas of the church festival was not strong enough to make the social hierarchy invisible. On the contrary, the party helped reinforce dependency: communitas seems to be a matter of degree (cf. Eade and Sallnow 1991). The ritual combination of work and play was evident in the secular part of church holidays. The Dutch anthropologist of religion Jan van Baal has pointed out the similarity between play, religion and art (Van Baal 1972). All three offer a solution to the fundamental human problem of belonging and separation from reality, from other people, from nature (cf. Winnicott 1971). Through play, humans create a separate but deliberately fictional world.

5. The playful


rich world to identify with; Religion offers the possibility of communicating with another reality that is assumed to be real, although its existence cannot be proven; in art, reality is presented as beautiful and therefore as pleasant. Of these three, the Lutheran church holiday contained elements of gambling and religion. The unproven sacred reality that is the focus of worship is contrasted with the fictitious consumer reality conjured up by the bazaar attractions. The complex constellation of different frames of reference that shaped the church festival forced the visitors to use their human talents to orientate themselves to different world orders at the same time. This ability has been emphasized by scholars of cognitive anthropology, particularly by those who have applied connectionist ideas to the field of culture over the past decade (cf. D'Andrade 1995:122-149; Strauss and Quinn 1997). Connectionism is an approach in cognitive studies that depicts the thought process as the simultaneous consultation of various generic files in the human brain. These files are associated with the person you are thinking of. The verbalization seems to refer to the so-called propositional logic with a single frame of reference and with people thinking as they speak. Connectionism suggests that different paths of thought can be pursued simultaneously. Above I spoke of play as a simultaneous combination of different ways of classifying reality. It is clear that the connectionist model shows that such a human ability exists. People at a party play with different files, although the party can be so captivating that revelers forget their lives before or after the party. In any case, connectionism reinforces the notion of the game's important role in a party or, mutatis mutandis, in a ritual. In this light it can be understood why symbols are essential to the festival and ritual. The connectionist model of human thought corresponds to the basic idea that a symbol represents something else. In other words, a person using a symbol is simultaneously referring to the thing that serves as the symbol and to the meaning or meanings it has (Fernández 1986). Thus the cross of the church bell tower is a construction of two metal rods but relates to a whole Christology, whether refined and ambiguous as in theological discourse or simply as in a believer's affirmation that the cross saves death. Two realities with their corresponding files are linked. Symbols are a typically human property, and the connectionist way of understanding human thought clarifies how symbols work and why they are important in gaming environments. The three sectors that go


Chapter 6. Festivities: a view from cultural anthropology

The mentioned Baal - the game, the religion and the art - depend on the symbols for their effect. Although churchgoers were equally shocked to hear that they were constantly deciphering symbols of how Molière's protagonist was when he heard that he had spoken prose all his life, it is clear that his behavior had this background. To end this section more loosely, multidisciplinary work on festivals, festivals and rituals may require academic play, shifting from one concept to another, from one disciplinary paradigm to another. Scholars who are as human as the people they study share with the people who are the object-subjects of their research the gift of play and connectionist use of classifications of reality. Here's another reason to take a less one-sided approach and be a family member who operates on family-like principles.

6. Conclusion The specific example of a Lutheran church festival in a small Brazilian town helped us to take stock of which aspects can be activated when terms such as festival and ritual are used. The party and the ritual were presented mainly as cultural phenomena. A degree of tolerance and multidisciplinarity was advocated, with the terms viewed as a means rather than an end in themselves. By following this approach, it was shown that contributions from different disciplines can be combined to arrive at a broader understanding of celebration and ritual. Particular attention has been paid to the dimension of the game to clarify its role in both the festival and the ritual.

References Asad, Talal (1995). On the genealogy of the concept of ritual. In: Talal Asad, Genealogies of Religion: Discipline and Reasons for Power in Christianity and Islam. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, pp. 55-79 Bell, Catherine (1992). Ritual theory, ritual practice. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press. Bell, Catalina (1997). Ritual: perspectives and dimensions. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press. Boudewijnse, Barbara (1995). The conceptualization of ritual: A history of its problematic aspects. Jaarboek voor liturgie-onderzoek, 11, 31-56. D'Andrade, Roy (1995). The development of cognitive anthropology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.



Dryer, André (1980). The Dangerous Journey: Symbolic Aspects of Children's Initiation among the Wagenia of Kisangani, Zaire. The Hague, Paris and New York: Mouton. Dryer, André (1992). The Church celebrates… An instructive Sunday in a Brazilian city. In: Peter Kloos (ed.): Anthropology: a jewel of a profession. Assen and Maastricht: Van Gorcum, pp. 25-32 Drier, André (1994). Turner, Game and the Declaration of Religion. Anthropological Explorations, 13(4), 31-45 Droogers, André (1996). Methodological Luddism: Beyond Religionism and Reductionism. In: Anton van Harskamp (ed.) (1996). Conflicts in the Social Sciences. London: Routledge, p. 44 – 67. (Chapter 14 of this book) Fernández, James W. (1986). Beliefs and Achievements: The Game of Tropics in Culture. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Eade, John and Michael J. Sallnow (eds.) (1991). Questioning the Sacred: The Anthropology of Christian Pilgrimage. London: Rouledge. Ronald Grimes (1990). Ritual criticism: case studies in their practice, essays on their theory. Columbia SC: University of South Carolina Press. Huizinga, J. (1952). Homo ludens: I taste a determination of the culture's playful element. Haarlem: Tjeenk Willink. Humphrey, Caroline and James Laidlaw (1994). The Archetypal Acts of Ritual: The Theory of Ritual Illustrated by the Jain Rite of Worship. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Mail, Paul (2001). Liturgical Movements and Festive Culture: A Dutch Research Program. In: P Post, G Rouwenhorst, L van Tongeren and A Scheer (eds) (2001). Christian Feast and Festival: The Dynamics of Western Liturgy and Culture. Leuven, Paris and Sterling: Peeters, pp. 3-43 Pruyser, Paul W. (1976). A dynamic psychology of religion. New York: Harper and Row. Rappaport, Roy A. (1999). Ritual and religion in the formation of mankind. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Strauss, Claudia and Naomi Quinn (1997). A cognitive theory of cultural meaning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Taborda, Francisco (1988). Sacramento: Practice and Celebration. Dusseldorf: Patmos. Turner, Victor W. (1969). The ritual process: structure and antistructure. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. Turner, Victor W. (1982). From ritual to theatre: the human seriousness of play. New York: Journal of Performing Arts Publications. Turner, Victor W. (1988). The anthropology of action. New York: Journal of Performing Arts Publications. Van Baal, J. (1972). The Message of the Three Illusions: Reflections on Religion, Art and Play. Axes: Van Gorcum. Winnicott, DW (1971). game and reality. London: Tavistock.

Power and Meaning Construction Chapter 7 The Dimensions of Power in the Christian Community: An Anthropological Model 1. Introduction This article proposes a three-dimensional model for studying the relations of power in a Christian community. Not only internal and external power relations are discussed, but also those with the sacred. A fourth dimension could be added - of particular interest to the anthropology of Christianity - which focuses on the balance of power between believers and the ethnographer. To capture what is happening in each of these dimensions and in the constellation of four, terms from cognitive anthropology are used, particularly connectionist intuitions. It is proposed that, with respect to each of the four dimensions, the actors use specific schemata of a repertoire that appears in both social and individual versions. A proposal is made for a more effective way of studying religion, in this case Christianity, anthropologically. It is advisable to go beyond the historically grown and tense relationship between science and Christianity, a tense relationship typical of the West that has favored the reduction of religion to non-religious factors. Phenomenology and methodological Luddism are presented as ways of doing justice to the most characteristic feature of religion, namely the experience of the sacred.

2. The Anthropology of Religion What distinguishes the anthropology of Christianity from other sciences dealing with this religion? The identity of a discipline is primarily shaped by its history, its theoretical framework and its methodology. In each of these respects, then, what is typical of anthropology, and particularly of the anthropology of religion?


Chapter 7. The power dimensions of the Christian community

Anthropology has long focused on separate and autonomous cultures, particularly those described first as savage, then primitive or tribal, and more recently illiterate. However, under the influence of globalization with its precursors of acculturation, westernization and modernization, this focus on a specific type of culture has become problematic and the discipline is consequently facing a severe identity crisis. There are practically no separate and autonomous cultures. Although some would suggest abandoning the term “culture” altogether (Brightman 1995, Fox and King 2002), one way out of the dilemma is to present culture in the exclusive singular as the main subject of anthropology. Theoretically, the concept of culture is therefore increasingly understood primarily in relation to the universal human ability to create meaning. Culture is thus studied as a process rather than as content (D'Andrade 1995: 146). Man is characterized by his innate talent for culture. The result of the application of this gift can still be largely characterized as cultural diversity, often even today along cultural and social lines that separate different cultures and societies. However, these boundaries are increasingly being broken down and consequently people are being influenced by other cultures (in the old autonomous sense) as well as by a free-floating hybrid global knowledge, through the media but also through forced or voluntary migration. Humanity is increasingly moving in a space free of new meanings, which includes a lot of diversity and an amazing complexity of levels, layers and affiliations. People have to learn how to behave in such an environment. In terms of method, the anthropologist has always been a field worker, with qualitative methods such as participant observation and in-depth interviews as pillars, with the village - "my village" - being the mini-model of illiterate and limited culture under study. However, the global erosion of cultural boundaries and the shift to urban environments called for different methods and different tools. The adoption of ethnological methods by non-anthropologists, such as Cultural Studies (Grossberg et al. 1992: 21), has called this method monopoly into question. At the same time, anthropologists have added surveys and other quantification methods to their toolbox. As a result, both the formative theoretical concept of the discipline and the methodological brand have changed radically. As a result, the identity of anthropology is not as clear as it used to be, and it is therefore more difficult to formulate a clear answer to the question of what is typical of anthropology.

2. The Anthropology of Religion


And the anthropology of religion? In comparison to their neighboring disciplines, the sociology of religion (often church or secularization sociology) and religious studies (often the study of sacred texts or the history of religion or the comparison of religious phenomena) are particularly important. seen as similar despite their different origins and cultural context), anthropologists of religion are still characterized by studying religion as a localized cultural phenomenon. More recently, comparative studies of common trends have been generally undertaken in anthologies that reflect the position between the global and the local (eg, Corten and Marshall-Fratani 2001, Greenfield and Droogers 2001). The aforementioned theoretical approach to meaning-making proposes a fairly loose and open working definition of religion, one that includes phenomena that other disciplines will not touch on. When religion is considered in the local context, this approach still reflects the traditional small-scale village setting for field research, but now includes or even focuses on the new open horizon. In doing so, anthropologists have moved from the real environment of illiterate cultures and their tribal religions to a global context, including world religions and their translation into local cultural contexts. The global is examined in the local context, also because it can only become visible there, as the neologism "glocalization" suggests (Robertson 1992: 173). In any case, the anthropologist usually tries to locate the religious as a glocalized cultural phenomenon in its relation to the non-religious. One way to do this is to look at the element of power, i.e. i.e. the ability to influence the behavior of other people, even against their will. Power is inherent in any religious organization, but it is also felt in its contacts with the society around it, be it in its political or economic form. In the previous model of autonomous culture and society, the relationship to the non-religious was primarily examined within this society, but today global aspects are in the foreground. On the methodological front, ethnography remains an important asset. What has remained from an earlier phase is the preference for detailed and in-depth studies, mainly of popular religion. These studies are valuable because of their qualitative plausibility and can therefore be contrasted with quantitative studies that serve as a basis for generalizations, such as in mainstream sociology of religion. They show the qualitative processes behind quantitative trends. Anthropologists are storytellers; they deal with cases and therefore provide data that cannot be expressed in numbers. Although aware of the historical dimension of religions, anthropologists work primarily with their contemporaries. to have gone beyond


Chapter 7. The power dimensions of the Christian community

Previously illiterate, they now also study religions based on sacred texts while examining the uses of those texts in a larger context. If this is the anthropologist's portrait of religion in the anthropologist's disciplinary context, then we can now move on to his specific role when Christianity is the subject of study. This anthropologist would likely conduct small-scale contextualized qualitative studies among groups of Christian believers, with a preference for the study of folk religion as well as the "glocal" dimension. Converts appear to form a prototypical, small category that guides the researcher in relation to the convert's change from a non-Christian religion to Christianity, or from one form of Christianity to another, such as in Christianity. B. from Catholicism to Pentecostalism. The contextualized approach implies that due attention is paid to mechanisms of power. These can be part of the internal social organization between religious leaders and specialists such as pastors and priests on the one hand and lay believers on the other. Much of what has been written about church-sect typology addresses this question. Gender studies are another example. But power is also a problem in the external relationship of believers in general to secular powers. Examples include studies of church-state relations, the Christian missionary movement, colonial religious resistance movements and grassroots church communities, and liberation theologies. Of course, external contacts can also be negative in the sense of avoidance if the "world" is considered sinful. Beliefs play a crucial role in religion and form a third dimension. The anthropological emphasis on the cultural dimension in terms of human meaning suggests that anthropologists are particularly interested in how believers deal with their beliefs, how they are influenced by them and how they can change. them. There is also an aspect of power here, as believers feel dependent on and subject to the power of God or Jesus or the Holy Spirit. Beliefs justify the management of power relations in the external and internal dimension. The connection between beliefs and the way inner and outer dimensions are formed is therefore of particular interest. The growing global influence of the world's religions represents an additional perspective that has received much attention recently. The previously mentioned power mechanisms inside, outside u

2. The Anthropology of Religion


Religious realms took on a distinct form from the moment Christianity began as a religion. The content of the Bible, for example, had to be determined. The Nicene Creed was formulated and the first doctrinal conflicts arose. Christianity has been a sprawling religion from its inception, claiming universal validity and presence even when the oicumene was still confined to the Mediterranean. Consequently, the question of how this validity was implemented in local cultural contexts that were not of Christian origin has always been present. Paul's translation of the Christian message into the Greek world was followed by numerous translations into other cultural contexts. What is most interesting from the point of view of cultural contextualization is that the most active translators were not missionaries or other propagators of the faith, nor theologians, but the new converts themselves, who could not help but understand what they had. be heard in relation to their own cultural language. They made their own choices and adjustments, often without conscious reflection, and considered themselves excellent Christians. What I propose in this article is to examine the dimensions just mentioned - internal, external and faith-based - and consider their usefulness for the anthropological study of local Christian groups in their own contexts. This three-dimensional model is an instrument with theoretical and methodological aspects. In terms of theory, I will try to broaden the vision of the cultural dimension, taking inspiration from cognitive anthropology, i.e. H. that branch of anthropology that studies how people organize their cultural knowledge, more specifically in the connectionist approach (Bloch 1991, D'Andrade 1995, Strauss and Quinn 1994, 1997). These connectionist ideas are presented in the next section. In the following sections they will then be applied to each of the three dimensions both individually and in relation to their association. As indicated, I will emphasize that in each of these dimensions, power relations are very much at stake, although they may be more pronounced in one of the dimensions and from there influence the other two. A church, for example, may be so preoccupied with its internal hierarchy that these interests largely determine the external, faith-based dimensions: Church leaders may seek support from secular leaders and assert their own beliefs as right, perhaps with compromises of secular interests. When a community considers mystical beliefs to be very important, there can be implications for both the inner and outer dimensions. In developing this three-dimensional model, I will illustrate and test it using examples from my own


Chapter 7. The power dimensions of the Christian community

Field work in Congo and Brazil and studies on Pentecostalism. Finally, I will argue that the relationship between the field researcher and the believers represents a fourth, ethnographic, dimension of power. In this sense, I will suggest that the anthropologist can and should go beyond a position that reduces the religious to the non-religious.

3. Culture, repertoire, schema When culture in the exclusive singular as a universal human ability gradually replaces the notion of autonomous plural culture, the question arises as to how this human gift of constructing meaning really works. Knowing this is relevant to the anthropology of Christianity, since religion is the primary forum for meaning formation. In addition, this religion was transcultural from the beginning and therefore appealed to this capacity for meaning on a supracultural level. Even the so-called Christian West was not once Christian. Furthermore, most Christians today live in the Third World, where Christianity clashed with tribal or world religions that were dominant long before the first missionaries arrived. In any case, a religion with universal claims and applicability is dependent on the universal human gift of meaning. One approach that has helped me in understanding the human capacity for meaning is the connectionist view. A key term is 'scheme' and I use it in combination with the term 'repertoire'. First of all, this last metaphor fits perfectly with the current appeal to culture as a universal human ability in a global context, as it is clear that communities and peoples are constantly challenged to build and rebuild their repertoires of knowledge, behaviors and emotions on which the repertoires exist Macro level of a religion such as Christianity, but also particularly at the intermediate level of certain forms of Christianity and with greater diversity at the micro level of local communities and individual actors. The dynamics of the Christian context mean that individuals and churches at these three levels tend to reorganize their repertoires in terms of internal and external dimensions and Christian core beliefs. There are at least three reasons for using the concept of repertoire in the analysis of meaning construction. First, as in a repertoire, people's knowledge of how to behave properly in a given context is not always activated, if only because that knowledge is useful to them

3. Culture, repertoire, schema


this context and not in others. Second, as in a repertoire, the contents of human cultural knowledge change as they are added or rearranged. And third, human cultural knowledge as a repertoire often contains inconsistencies and contradictions as it is used in different contexts. According to these three characteristics, a Christian group or individual believer can lay aside much of Christian doctrine or ritual until needed. This group or individual will change views and beliefs over time, e.g. B. through life experience, through constant reflection, through the influence of other people or through conflicts. There can be contradictions in the belief repertoire of a group or an individual that go unnoticed as long as the different demands of different contexts are met. A group may at times enjoy harmonious unity, at other times conflict may threaten it; Believers can be staunch advocates of their faith, but they can also be torn by doubts. Repertoires can be seen as composed of schemas in the connectionist sense. Schemas can be viewed as culturally accepted minimal scripts (or scenarios, prototypes, or models) for and from a specific thought, emotion, or action. They are representative but also serve as processors (D'Andrade 1995:136). Strauss and Quinn (1997: 6) define schemas as "networks of highly connected cognitive elements that represent generic concepts stored in memory". So there is an outline for a service or for any part of it. Such general schemes guide the thoughts, feelings, and actions of the believers during this service. They are conveyed through catechism or theological education. A schema contains a minimum number of characteristics that depend on the type of church in the church liturgy, e.g. e.g., an opening formula invoking the sacred, followed by hymns, prayers, and scripture readings at prescribed times and places, and ending with a blessing. Each of these elements has separate subschemata, each functioning as an ideal type and consisting of a limited number of elements. Schemas are minimal constructs that are maximized, adjusted, and modified to fit the specific situation in which they are activated. The outlines are widely applicable due to their minimal nature. A schema is like a blank bureaucratic form that needs to be filled out for each individual case. Therefore, no service is like the other, not even in the same parish. Where a liturgical calendar is observed, the services can never be the same, although the minimal nature of the scheme guarantees some form of continuity and certainty, as well as comparability. At the same time, although they represent the ideal case, in their application


Chapter 7. The power dimensions of the Christian community

they materialize and can allow for deviation and innovation when minor or even radical changes are made. Schemas mediate the experience of reality and the ascription of meaning to those experiences. The minimal nature of the schemes contributes to their applicability in pattern recognition. They support the category system that a person uses. A Catholic attending an Anglican service will have little trouble identifying familiar patterns. By attending a Pentecostal church, the Catholic will have more difficulty discerning what is going on, but will still discern certain parts. This Catholic is reminded of parts of the Catholic religious repertoire. After the service, the Catholic can discuss doctrinal differences with the Anglican or Pentecostal counterpart, compare schemes of church leadership, the role of the Virgin or the Holy Spirit and discover similarities, but also deep gaps. The three characteristics of a repertoire discussed in this way become visible. For example, it becomes clear that, depending on the theological training, certain repertoire schemes are so implicit and accepted as routine that one has never thought about them. Furthermore, much of the faith's repertoire lies dormant almost like a software program. However, meeting members of other churches may prompt the visiting Catholic to reflect on some of the hidden Articles of Faith or see the benefit of ritual use in the other church, and the repertoire may change accordingly. After experiencing a service in a Pentecostal church, a Catholic may even feel compelled to join the Catholic Charismatics. It is also possible that some inconsistencies in this Catholic's repertoire will become apparent in dialogue with other Christians. Theology and theological training can be understood as conveying and expanding the repertoire of Christianity. Churches often have an official doctrine that consists of many outlines. Some of them are old, others are newer. Some are so fundamental that they have consequences for all other elements of the teaching. Some relate to almost irrelevant side issues. Churches differ in the extent to which local communities and individual believers are free to develop their own repertoire of programs. There are programs that only theologically trained people can appreciate, while others are shared by all believers, even the youngest. Individual members can develop very individual schemes in their personal practice of faith, which have arisen through a certain upbringing, personal preferences, through reflection or as a result of a drastic experience. These individual schemes can

3. Culture, repertoire, schema


Level control by management if never or only marginally expressed. Believers can be very good at maintaining their own repertoire while conspicuously adhering to officially correct schemes. Individual projects, as in the case of Martin Luther, can lead to significant changes in the repertoire of a church and the emergence of a new church. Schemas allow for both shared practice and difference. Churches and individuals can work with similar schemes and differ in accepting or rejecting others. They can even develop frameworks for dealing with internal and external differences, adopting inclusive ecumenical or more exclusive fundamentalist frameworks. Especially when you meet people with different repertoires, you become aware of your own repertoire. The primary tendency is to discover the familiar that fits into one's social context in order to make the unfamiliar acceptable. But differences in power can prevent such an open exchange, and then the most powerful position prevails. In their defence, the weaker party will try to protect their repertoire, but may still be forced to adapt. A form of syncretism may result (Greenfield and Droogers 2001). The slaves brought to Brazil from West Africa took their pantheon with them. By being baptized as Catholics, they did not lose this part of their religious plans, but masked it by identifying their deities with Catholic saints, thus forming Afro-Brazilian religions like Candomblé. Ogum, the West African deity of blacksmiths and warfare, has been identified with Saint George in at least some instances, the connection being the sword that slays the dragon (Bastide 1978:264, 265). Another example comes from my field research among the Wagenia of Kisangani (Congo) (Droogers 1980b: 317-324). Traditionally, there was a concept of a creator god known as Mokonga na Mbali. The name is composed of two names, each used as a name for God between neighboring tribes. After coming to know the Christian God, some people insisted that this God was already known before the missionaries arrived: Mokonga was God the Father and Mbali was God the Son. The new was identified with a familiar traditional scheme, but at the same time changed its meaning. In some churches, the traditional name of God is still used today. A similar example is the case of an elderly Baptist with whom I spoke about prayer. In a very natural way he told me that he also prayed to the spirits of his ancestors and asked for help to be a good Christian. The schemes differ in their durability, their flexibility, their resistance to new influences. Some have been used and passed on for centuries


Chapter 7. The power dimensions of the Christian community

From generation to generation. Others are more recent innovations, such as the post-Vatican II Catholic priest addressing the congregation during Mass or no longer using Latin. There are schemes that belong to the macro level, others that operate at the intermediate or micro level. Some govern large gatherings, such as papal visits. Others are private as in silent prayer. Together they can form interconnected branches of major schemas and sub-schemas, like an article of faith building up into a four-volume theological study. Those schemas passed through effective socialization will have entered routine practice and will not be easily replaced. A Catholic-turned-Pentecostal may have difficulty controlling the tendency to make the sign of the cross after prayer. Of course, even secularized people can fall back on abandoned Christian plans when faced with suffering. The universal gift of meaning has a physical basis in the equally universal human brain. According to connectionists, schema persistence is based on the brain connections between billions of neurons or processors (Bloch 1991:191; Strauss and Quinn 1997:51). These neurons form networks that can become very persistent, to the point of supporting routine reflexes rather than reflective responses. Socialization and learning are processes through which these lasting connections are formed. Conversion, for example, is a dramatic process of changing your schema, introducing new connections into the network of neurons. The change doesn't have to be that drastic, however. The persistence of ideas from an earlier religious tradition among converts can be explained by the persistence of these ancient networks. Even the secularized Dutch show some Calvinist traits to this day. At the same time, this continuity can facilitate the transition to a new religion because the new ideas sound or become familiar, as in the Afro-Brazilian and Wagenia examples. Another insight from connectionism, also based on insights from cognitive studies of how the human brain works, is that when people are presented with a context that requires some type of action, thought, or emotion, different parts of the schema Repertoires can be activated. simultaneously. The human brain allows for extremely rapid comparison of alternatives while considering a wide variety of schemes. Therefore, the linearity of the verbalization is misleading. Before any conclusions are drawn, a parallel query of schematic files in the repertoire is performed at the speed of light. This parallel process is much more typical of the brain than the serial process (D'Andrade

3. Culture, repertoire, schema


1995: 139-141). Serially processed schematics are quickly learned and changed, while parallel distributed schematics take time and repeated experience to master, but then continue to function much more efficiently and quickly. Through catechesis, children can learn the essential elements of faith, but it is only after they have experienced situations where these essential elements are tested that children develop a sense of conviction. The parallel constellation of schemas often helps to recognize a situation and act accordingly, especially when the information is incomplete and needs to be extrapolated and guessed, such as when reading a difficult Bible text that uses particularly incomprehensible words, or when the The cultural environment of the reader is completely different from that of the Bible. The enormous neural network of connections facilitates the functioning of the repertoire in each of the three aspects mentioned above: i. My. its latency, its changes and its contradictoriness. In theoretical terms, there are some important implications. Thanks to the combined tenacity and flexibility of the schema repertoire, both continuity and change seem possible. Culture is both divided and diverse (D'Andrade 1995:147; Strauss and Quinn 1994). Such is religion and such is Christianity. In addition, the one-to-one reflection model of the relationship between a person and their culture—or religion—is challenged (D'Andrade 1995:146-148). No two Christians are the same. When querying in parallel for potentially useful schemas, people juggle a fairly complex set of alternatives. Some of these may be ignored and left dormant, while others are prominent and inevitable when newcomers apply for adoption. The verbalization of belief is the mere result of a complicated process, much more difficult to grasp but more revealing in terms of how religious belief works. Viewing culture or religion as a set of customs or rules, or as a symbolic system, is useful as a summary, but is not "faithfully represented" by believers and does not determine what people actually experience (D'Andrade 1995:149). Experience is both inductive and deductive in relation to the production and reproduction of schemas. The difference between official and popular religion illustrates this, as does the plurality in popular religion, as lay people continually revise what is presented as “correct” religious belief and practice (Rostas and Droogers 1993). Every Christian represents Christianity by incorporating some basic schemas: in relation to God, Jesus, an ecclesial community, or perhaps simply by accepting being called a "Christian." At the same time, differences and variations will emerge when asked for more details about one's beliefs,


Chapter 7. The power dimensions of the Christian community

also between people who belong to the same church, and even if that church sees itself as orthodox. The notion of schema repertoire helps to understand that agreement and difference come together because schemas are minimal and therefore allow detailed elaboration of tree-like structures, albeit within the prevailing performance parameters. From the point of view of anthropology, the search for the anthropology of Christianity could be described as a search for an efficient repertoire of disciplinary schemas that can meaningfully mediate the experience of Christian reality in the investigation and the attribution of meaning to these fieldwork experiences. The history, theory, and method of anthropology represent a vast body of ideas and propositions about how cultural and religious reality is organized. Each anthropologist makes a selection from this repertoire, as I did in the introduction to this article, using connectionist ideas. Colleagues and sister disciplines complement this personal repertoire. The researcher is as human as the research subjects.

4. The Faith Oriented Dimension Of the three dimensions - inner, outer and faith oriented - the last seems fundamental at first glance as we are talking about the anthropology of a religion. Beliefs affect what happens in the other two dimensions. For example, if one of the core beliefs is that the world is sinful, this will inevitably affect external contacts and internal organization. At the same time, however, beliefs reflect inner and outer dimensions. For example, if the external dimension is characterized by an open attitude towards the culture and society around it, this in turn influences the nature of the beliefs, as some of the criteria for distinguishing between church and sect have suggested. , as the degree of alienation from societal values ​​(Yinger 1970: 259-260). The connectionist perspective suggests that people will make their own choices from the church's official repertoire of beliefs and what reaches them in the global marketplace, and very often they will do so routinely and according to the demands of the situation. This also means that every Christian has a personal way of using the faith repertoire imparted through education, even if members of the same church have similar attitudes on the subject and even resemble outside observers. In addition, by

4. The faith-oriented dimension


Through repeated experience, some beliefs are strongly instilled while others are less solid and easily abandoned or replaced in favor of others. There will also be a hierarchy of beliefs, with some being fundamental and some derivative. The faith-based dimension is important because a significant part of the meaningful activity takes place here. The nature of the relationship to the sacred is defined. Within Christianity, the relationship to God is subject to very different schemes. Of course, the father metaphor is a basic schema drawn from the experience of kinship and includes several often contradictory features such as nurturing and punishment. In some recent versions, God is also a mother. God as King is another metaphor borrowed from nation-state politics that has its own connotations. God can be powerful, but he can also become weak, in extremis in the person of Jesus on the cross. God and Jesus are not always clearly distinguishable and can, for example, both be addressed as Lord. Trinity is a particular schema in the Christian faith, and again is subject to variation and debate. Theologians of different times and denominations have developed their own Christology. Salvation is seen as essential and leads to certain schemas that sometimes reflect juridical schemas in the Mediterranean world of the New Testament, such as the do-ut-des principle or views on blood feuds. In the Catholic and Anglican traditions, albeit in different ways, saints play an important role in defining the relationship to the saint and in mediating salvation. Mary is very prominent in the Catholic tradition, as she is said to continue a Mother Goddess schema from earlier times (Ruether 1977). In Pentecostalism the interpretation of the Trinity is that the Holy Spirit and his - or her? – Charismata gains a significant focus. Regarding power, the relationship with God - or with any of the Persons of the Trinity - contains attitudinal schemes that focus on reverence and awe, or even total dependence, as well as others that suggest a way of using power for one's own purposes (some would call it magic to name). Both attitudes can be nurtured by the believer's experiences of the sacred. Mystics surrender to the overwhelming power of God. In other religions, founders and leaders may legitimize their positions of power (the inner dimension) through visions or dreams, which they interpret as divine intervention and calling. Prayer can serve both approaches to the sacred, submission and manipulation, but other means such as fasting and vows are also available. Even the examples of God as father and king indicate that secular forms of power from the outside world could have served as a model for the


Chapter 7. The power dimensions of the Christian community

Power relationship between the believer and God, and in both cases respect and favor are combined.

5. The Inner Dimension While the belief dimension is closer to the culture seen as a gift of meaning making, the other two dimensions are more social in nature. The nature of power in these dimensions is closer to the usual understanding of power in the social sciences than when it comes to the believer's relationship to the sacred. Some scholars would not even include the latter in their perspective, if only because research on the sacred raises some methodological problems. As one of my colleagues once said, “God cannot be questioned.” However, the model proposed here has the advantage of showing similarities between the three dimensions in the way they organize power relations. The three dimensions can be viewed as a constellation and their mutual influence can be explicitly included in the research agenda, including the possibility that one dimension determines the other two. And of course the social dimensions also depend above all on the creation of meaning. In the inner dimension, believers find ways to organize themselves. There is a vision about the distribution of power within the organization. Here, too, a connectionist approach, as in the case of the faith-oriented dimension, points to the flexible attitude of Christian believers in dealing with the typical social structural schemes of their group. With regard to the agency structure debate, it can be assumed that actors – as can be seen in ethnographic research – submit to a certain extent to structural schemes, in particular such established ones as neural networks, while at the same time proceeding strategically with the use of them. these systems by adapting them to the needs of the situation in which they find themselves, but also trying to change the systems if necessary. Adoption and adaptation go together. A key feature of the internal dimension is the fact that the degree of hierarchy - or equality - can vary as well as the complexity of the organization. The Catholic, Presbyterian, and Quaker traditions, for example, represent very different church models based on very different power-sharing schemes. Leadership, when accepted, is legitimized in a variety of ways that appeal to different beliefs and doctrines. Celibacy can be part of these beliefs.

5. The inner dimension


To differentiate religion specialists and introduce a particular vision of gender. Leadership may follow secular models such as B. the Pope, who is both head of the church and head of state. The more vertical the organization, the tighter the control over the production and reproduction of religious beliefs and practices. Religious specialists may form their own class or ecclesiastical elite, some of whom are tasked with maintaining doctrinal purity on a day-to-day basis. Disciplinary action may be taken. Patterns of conflict are normal in such a situation and sometimes leave room for resistance within the organization, as was the case with the founding of some Catholic monastic orders. Division is sometimes a surefire scheme to spread the message, such as when loners successfully start a new church. A flatter organization distributes more power more evenly, allowing more people access to more jobs. Sometimes this distribution is justified on the basis of believers' equality before God or as a consequence of the just distribution of the gifts of the Spirit. As already indicated, a particular aspect of internal organization concerns gender, i. My. the cultural definition of male and female. This is also linked to a balance of power, not only in the sense that women and men occupy different positions in the church organization, but also because the church itself can provide a certain view of gender relations in marriage. Secular gender schemes can be adopted or, on the contrary, strongly criticized and rejected, depending on the attitude towards "the world" adopted. In the course of the history of a particular group, the position of women can change. In Pentecostal groups it sometimes happens that women initially play a central, albeit informal, role, but as this group thrives and grows, it is forced to organize. At this point, men often take the initiative and develop a more formal structure that relegates women to non-executive positions. Informally, for example through their charismatic gifts, women may be allowed to hold positions of some authority. In the case of a more literal reading of Scripture, the male leadership can easily bring forward the texts that would justify such an approach. Women then have to act within male gender schemes. This also applies to the Catholic Church, in which the gender vision is combined with a vision of celibacy. Core beliefs can create role models, as in the case of Marianism in the Latin American context, with Our Lady as a role model. Sometimes women seem to have a different idea of ​​power, not in the masculine sense of influencing other people's behavior, but rather in the sense of being able to advance life through informality.


Chapter 7. The power dimensions of the Christian community

Networks – in short, survival – as Jacobs (2002: 84 – 85, 120) argued for the basic church communities in Brazil. Another gender aspect is based on the question of whether women are more religious than men, an issue that is particularly relevant in the Latin American context, where religion is sometimes, as they say in Brazil, coisa de mulher, a woman's thing. . Consequently, Catholic priests and nuns are not to be regarded as representatives of male or female sex, but as a sort of separate third sex (Jacobs 2002: 139-141). In general, it appears that women are more likely to rise to power in religious groups that operate in a more horizontal organization, although they often have to move about informally. Given the role that power has played in the inner dimension, within the Christian community, so to speak, and given the dimension of typically Christian beliefs, a paradox arises. Where charity is central to the Christian worldview, power as the ability to influence the behavior of other people appears problematic by definition. The Brazilian female vision of power mentioned above, i.e. My. the ability to promote life seems closer to the Christian worldview. Christians, and perhaps even more so their leaders, often avoid the word "power" and do not use it to describe relationships between believers. From a social science point of view, however, power is inherent in every social context. Whenever two people do something together, power becomes an aspect of the relationship, and asymmetry is inevitable in most cases, even when the parties openly profess equality. When comparing Christian groups, the question of what power looks like and whether there is an awareness of its problems automatically become issues that deserve attention. Equality before God can be difficult to maintain under the influence of the social inequality characteristic of the surrounding society, especially when the church itself reflects social values ​​and norms. At the same time, a Christian group can serve as a safe haven for equal relationships, contrary to the accepted worldview. The early Christian community was based on the principle that "they had all things in common" (Acts 4:32). After Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5), many other Christians have had doubts about this scheme. An example is the question of how Christian businessmen can serve both their neighbors and their pursuit of profit in a capitalist system.

6. The external dimension


6. The Outer Dimension Concerning the outer dimension, much depends on the belief schemes desired by each particular Christian group. When, as in Evangelical and Pentecostal circles, the scheme of conversion implies a drastic departure from an earlier period in life, the testimonies express the contrast between the community of believers on the one hand and the sinful world on the other. This classification can be linked both to eschatological expectations and to a concept of salvation with exclusive features. Usually, however, relating to the sinful world also involves an effort to save more people or "souls" from sin, and therefore one must venture into the same wicked world. The responsibility taken by the world can eventually become a theocratic program expressing a critique of the surrounding society. An example from my fieldwork (Droogers 1980a) is the Kimbanguist Church (Congo), where historically there has been a sense of persecution that arose out of the Belgian colonial ban on the movement. This awareness contributed to the feeling of being part of an exclusive herd that had to endure repression for the sake of the faith. The African origin of the prophet Simon Kimbangu reinforced this view, all the more so as he was believed to be the second coming of the Holy Spirit, as promised at John 16:7-11. At the time of my fieldwork, this was the popular version, although not yet officially established, although it is the official teaching of the church today (see also So salvation comes from Africa and must be carried from there into the world. This is reflected in the announcement on the Church's website that the cross on which Jesus died was found on African soil in Mbata Kuluzu, a town near Kinshasa, now a pilgrimage center. At the time of my fieldwork among members of a local Kimbanguist church (1976-1977), their sense of exclusivity was accompanied by a strong eschatological awareness, with lingering undertones of persecution, bearing in mind that Christians from the majority churches viewed the local Kimbanguists strangers. and sectarian. Compared to other local churches, and despite the African focus of their message, the Kimbanguists distanced themselves the most from local traditional culture, even more so than any church born out of missionary efforts. In other cases, the line between the saved and the lost may not be so sharp. The clearest example is of course the state


Chapter 7. The power dimensions of the Christian community

Church in which the theocratic ideal is about to be realized. But even in this case, the relationship between church and state can change over time. Certainly conflicts between secular and religious leadership are not excluded, let alone disagreements between factions within the Christian community itself, including those condemning state influence. When church and state are closely related, there can be similarities in the way both are organized and use the same type of scheme. Part of Christian groups' external relations is focused on attracting new followers. This scheme is based, of course, on Jesus' command to his disciples to preach the message of repentance and forgiveness "among all nations" (Luke 24:47). It is part of the Christian understanding of salvation. Traditionally, anthropologists have had some experience with Christian missionary efforts. In many cases, the missionaries were the closest foreigners in the area and also a source of material help. But there have also been strong criticisms by anthropologists of proselytizing interventions in the cultures anthropologists studied, with the debate over the Summer Institute of Linguistics and Wycliffe being a case in point (see Stoll 1982, 1990; see also Droogers 1990). In terms of power, one could often describe the missionary situation as asymmetrical. Not only did the missionaries receive the legitimate authority, at least in the eyes of the colonial authorities, to bring Christianity, but they also provided access to Western material wealth. This happened partly directly through the distribution of material goods, but in the long term also through the provision of education and medical care. In other words, power relations played an inevitable role in spreading the gospel.

7. The Ethnographic Dimension In an article that proposes an anthropological model for studying power relations in Christian communities, the methodological nature of such an endeavor suggests that there is a fourth dimension of power involving believers and public workers. In a way, this dimension can also be seen as a sub-dimension of the external dimension. Or, when the emphasis is on participation, as in the anthropological favorite method of participant observation, it can be seen as part of the internal dimension. What is important is the existence of a balance of power, expressed in certain schemas that belong to both anthropological and Christian practice.

7. The ethnographic dimension


One aspect of this relationship is simply that the field researcher needs at least the study group's permission to begin the research. Extensive codes of ethics are applied in several countries, which, like legal systems, protect the rights of the persons examined. In this sense, members of Christian communities influence the behavior of the researcher and thus have power. Several Pentecostal churches in Brazil, for example, closed their doors to investigators after journalists wrote negative newspaper reports about the leaders of some of them, particularly their way of managing church finances. When I was working in a seminary for a church in Brazil, I myself was criticized by some church leaders for publishing critical opinions from members about German-origin Lutheran pastors who had worked in Brazil, or for popularizing social science views on Afro -Brazilian. Umbanda religion for the lay readers of the Church. The presence of the researcher can also influence the behavior of the people being studied and, in a technical sense, is also a way of exercising power, even if the researcher prefers not to see any change in behavior, that is, except in the case of the investigative process. . Another aspect of the power dimension is that the researcher contributes to the public image of the respective group through the publications and in this sense can also assume a position of power. The investigator can use this power for the good of the group, but the result can also be that the group or its members feel tarnished. With that in mind, almost every researcher will face dilemmas about what to publish and what not. Insider knowledge, such as anthropologists prefer to gather, may be considered classified information by group leaders. While agreeing to the scheme of man's sinfulness, these leaders usually prefer not to enter the anthropologist's confessional. A particular example of insights that leaders sometimes prefer not to see in print concerns gender practices. There is another way in which anthropologists are in a position that at least some would consider powerful, i.e. My. The interpretation of religion in scientific terms. This is a problem for the anthropology of Christianity because perhaps more than any other religion, Christianity has suffered from the effects of modernization, understood here as the application of science and technology to society. Science has contributed to the secularization process, particularly in Western Europe. Moreover, for Western anthropologists, Christianity is the religion they know best (Judaism has also served as a symbolic example to a lesser extent). Sometimes the vision is colored by religion and Christianity


Chapter 7. The power dimensions of the Christian community

the person's own outdated experiences. Some of these anthropologists have had a secularizing experience. Others remain believers or converts to (another) form of Christianity, but they too will be affected by the secularization debates. A social science vision of religion has used some basic schemes from the start. He tends to explain religion in terms of its secular functions, citing, for example, two influential classic cases, such as the opium of the people (Marx) or the celebration of the social (Durkheim). An approach that, as in these classic examples, but also in more recent elaborations, reduces the religious to the non-religious and can thus be seen as a direct argument for secularization. Promotes a distanced view. However, every researcher in this field strives to understand religion as deeply and effectively as possible. Anthropologists also value his method of participatory observation, and participation suggests, at least in part, a form of identification. The theoretical and methodological schemes do not seem to fit together harmoniously. Anthropologists of Christianity need to consider where they stand, especially when they have their own personal history with that religion. The usual answer has been methodological agnosticism: for methodological reasons, the anthropologist as a professional—unlike the private individual or even the believer—refrains from expressing an opinion about the nature of the sacred, particularly in relation to its assumed reality. This is a vulnerable position because it is circular in the sense that first the sacred is excluded from the realm of inquiry and later the religious is inevitably reduced to the non-religious. In this sense, methodological agnosticism is ultimately not very different from methodological atheism, although it is more polite and seems politically correct in its abstention. But it is also problematic for another reason: participation is effectively excluded as soon as the experience of the sacred, which is essential for believers, is banned as an object of investigation. Of course, I know that participation can also have its negative sides, especially when field work is done in Pentecostal communities or evangelical churches, where field workers are often confronted with attempts at conversion and even harassment. That's not exactly the kind of engagement the field worker has in mind. If the cooptation is not as enforceable, the terms of participation are less disadvantageous. In any case, participation should not be ruled out too easily. In my view, following a form of methodological agnosticism, the target is too low. Two additional efforts should be mentioned

7. The ethnographic dimension


the common position and none require conversion. One is the recently developed phenomenological proposal (Jackson 1995, 1998, Csordas 1994, Versteeg 2001, 2010). The basic attitude is also one of restraint, but here in the sense of assumptions and scientific categories based on the idea that “lived experience always overwhelms and confuses the words with we try to capture or analysis it” (Jackson 1998: twenty-one). In anthropology, as the current identity crisis makes clear, the words we use are shaped by the colonial past of our craft and by the reification of "products of our own intellectual imagination" (Jackson, 1995: 6). Researchers need to be as open as possible to the way in which the subjects being studied experience reality intersubjectively, with incarnation being one of the entrances to this experience. "Phenomenology is a descriptive science of existential beginnings, not already constituted cultural products" (Csordas 1994: 8). It is “the scientific study of experience … an attempt to describe human consciousness in its lived immediacy before it is subjected to theoretical elaboration or conceptual systematization” (Jackson 1995: 2). It's about getting back to basics of "understanding" and taking participation seriously. The researcher occupies a position within the lifeworld of the researcher. In relation to their schema repertoire, the question arises: How exactly do people experience these schemas in their everyday lives, how do they live and embody them and how do they themselves function through the network of alternatives? What is understandable in the symbolic order becomes effective “in the existential order of being-in-the-world” (Csordas 1994: 81). In these approaches, the lifeworld is given priority over the world view (Jackson 1995: 6, 13; 1998: 5). If the symbolic order were the sole focus, methodological agnosticism would be easy to practice, just as a reductionist position would coincide with such a position. But once the existentially experienced worldview is taken into account, it becomes more difficult to practice actual methodological agnosticism. A phenomenological approach offers a perspective closer to believers' experience of the sacred. Consequently, power can be understood in terms of “existential domination” and empowerment (Jackson 1998: 21), a view similar to Jacobs' above-mentioned suggestions regarding Brazilian women. In view of existential intersubjectivity, the power and role of the ethnographer could also be the subject of a reassessment and rehabilitation. The second effort I would like to mention is my proposal for what I have called methodological Luddism (Droogers 1996, 2001). This alternative to methodological agnosticism does not use phenomenology as one


Chapter 7. The power dimensions of the Christian community

main vehicle, but instead explores the potential of the concept game. However, the intention is similar. Although developed as a generally applicable approach, the case of Christianity seems to be the example most in need of such an attitude of inquiry. In terms of methodological Luddism, play is understood as “the ability to engage simultaneously and conjunctively with two or more ways of classifying reality” (Droogers 1996: 53). Although primarily playful, this ability can also be used very seriously: the game is not "just a game". The reference to concurrency reflects connectionist ideas about parallel schema processing. The reference to the subjunctive ("as if") as opposed to the indicative "as it is" comes from Victor Turner's work on the game (e.g. Turner 1988:25, 169). Play is a human gift, of which simultaneity is an important element. The best metaphor for this human ability is a metaphor in itself because it represents a way of treating simultaneously two separate and vastly different realms, one enigmatic and one lucid, both linked by a common feature to make the enigmatic realm intelligible make. . This expresses a feeling, idea or action, e.g. Gram. "I bear my cross with patience". As Huizinga had already indicated in his Homo ludens (Huizinga 1952), play is therefore closely linked to culture, which is seen here as a human gift for creating meaning. Methodological Luddism is a way of exploring the ambiguity of participatory observation as a research attitude in which the field researcher goes beyond subjectivity and objectivity, is here and there, or maybe neither here nor there! The ethnographer plays with two realities, he interferes existentially, but at the same time builds up a picture of what he really experiences. When it comes to religion, this simultaneity is present in a different way, as in the believer the visible and invisible worlds can come together and even merge into a single experienced reality. Furthermore, in studies of religion that use some form of participation, the relationship between the researcher's worldview and that of the subjects being studied can become an issue. As indicated, the study of Christianity includes this background of meaning making. Consequently, this very experience can be problematic for researchers from Christian groups, especially non-Christians or secularized ex-Christians among them, despite their intention to participate. Even if the field worker is sympathetic to Christianity, he or she may be researching a group that seems odd or deviant in some way. A lack of sympathy, on the other hand, can make it difficult to engage and therefore empathize. When vigorous efforts are made to convert the researcher, this approach often complicates the research.

8. Conclusion


and blocks easy communication. However, from the researcher's point of view, people may experience negative feelings and resistance on the part of the researcher and therefore choose to deny access. More generally, the practice of anthropology of religion is hampered by the fact that science and religion have long been viewed as opposites rather than forms of knowledge that have in common that reality is subject to some sort of scrutiny. (Jackson 1998:22). One does not have to be a postmodernist to accept the relative nature of even scientific knowledge. Methodological Luddism is a way of bridging the gap between science and religion. It merely requires that the investigator be intersubjectively placed, even for ten seconds, in the believer's position. It is a call to try to understand this person's experience of a reality that is certainly not scientifically verifiable but is real to this believer. If anthropologists have some preparation to put themselves in a participatory position, why would they abandon this tool when it comes to religion? Applying this method shouldn't be too difficult given the human talent for parallel processing, which connectionists see as an innate ability of the human brain. Luddism is a way of harnessing this innate ability for simultaneity. Perhaps the game is just another metaphor for the phenomenological program, but perhaps it can also serve as a metaphor pointing to new connotations and practices of field research. It would be particularly helpful to overcome the rather artificial contrast and tension that has developed between secular science on the one hand and Christianity on the other. A methodological approach to Luddism would not only make research more productive, but could also facilitate interreligious dialogue.

8. Conclusion If anthropologists wish to study Christianity, they are faced with the task of reflecting on some general questions about the identity of anthropology and the anthropology of religion in particular. A theoretical debate that invites positioning refers to the unique human gift of culture beyond the plurality of cultures, more precisely to the relationship between power and the construction of meaning. Another has to do with continuity and change, togetherness and diversity. A methodological problem has to do with the researcher's own attitude towards the experience of the sacred, to which believers place a central place. The scientific study of Christianity presents this problem in the best possible way.


Chapter 7. The power dimensions of the Christian community

for it is religion that more than any other has had to confront the secularizing influence of science. Scholars cannot fully understand the religious nature of Christianity as long as Christianity and science are viewed as conflicting parties. As a consequence, there is a tendency to limit the scientific explanation of Christianity - but mutatis mutandis of any religion - to non-religious aspects and needs. In this article, these issues have been discussed in relation to their relationship. Through the search for the ways in which repertoires of schemas, understood in the connectionist sense, are used and managed to organize the inner and outer dimensions of certain forms of Christianity and to encode beliefs, culture becomes a meaning-maker in a context , in which the power this can become important. visible. Diversity over time as well as within Christian modalities can then be made explicit and questioned. The global shows itself in its local manifestation. The concrete relationship between the three dimensions can be explored, including the possible dominance of one over the other. With a similar awareness of the relationship between meaning and power, the methodological quality of anthropological research on Christianity can be improved if the trap of secular reductionism is avoided and the religious nature of Christianity is taken seriously. In terms of power, then, religious experience can be rehabilitated and made visible, having previously been ignored under the influence of the repertoire of secularizing, scientific, and hegemonic schemas. In studying Christianity, anthropologists should draw on their experiences as students of contextualized local expressions. Her way of participation could receive new impulses through an attitude from phenomenology and methodological Luddism. So, Christianity could be studied purely for its religious nature, rather than as an institution relevant to their society like any other. The translation of a global religion such as Christianity must be done with an eye on the mechanisms of power that characterize local practice. Attention must be paid to the dynamics of the repertoire of schemes so dear to Christian groups and individual believers.

References Bastide, Roger (1978). The African Religions of Brazil: Towards a Sociology of Interpenetration of Civilizations. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.



Bloch, Moritz (1991). Language, Anthropology and Cognitive Science. Man, 26(2), 183–198. Brightman, R., 1995. Forgetting Culture: Replacement, Transcendence, Relexification. Cultural Anthropology, 10, 509 – 546. Corten, André and Ruth Marshall-Fratani (eds.) (2001). Between Babel and Pentecost: Transnational Pentecostalism in Africa and Latin America. London: Hurst. Csordas, Thomas J (1994). The Sacred Self: A Cultural Phenomenology of Charismatic Healing. Berkeley: University of California Press. D'Andrade, Roy, (1995). The development of cognitive anthropology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Droogers, André (1980a). Grassroots Kimbanguism: Belief in a local Kimbanguist church. Journal of Religion in Africa, 11, 188-211. Droogers, André (1980b). An African Translation of the Christian Message: Alternating Concepts of Mind, Heart, and God Among the Wagenia of Kisangani, Zaire. In: R. Schefold, J.W. Schoorl, and J. Tennekes (eds.), Man, Meaning, and History: Essays in Honor of H.G. Schulte Nordholt. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, p. 300-331 Droogers, André (1990). From Antagonism to Partnership: Social Scientists and Missionary Workers in a Latin American Perspective. In: Roland Bonsen, Hans Marks, and Jelle Miedema (eds.), The Ambiguity of Approach: Anthropologists' Reflections on Their Controversial Relationship with Missionaries. Nijmegen: Focal, pp. 14-31. Droogers, Andre (1996). Methodological Luddism: Beyond Religionism and Reductionism. In: Anton van Harskamp (ed.), Conflicts in the Social Sciences. London: Routledge, pp. 44-67. (Chapter 14 of this book) Droogers, André (2001). Paradise Lost: The Taming of the Religious Imagination. Focaal, European Journal of Anthropology, 37, 105 – 119. (Chapter 3 of this book) Fox, Richard G. and Barbara J. King (eds.) (2002). Anthropology Beyond Culture. Oxford: Mountain. Greenfield, Sidney M. and André Droogers (eds.) (2001). Reinventing Religions: Syncretism and Transformation in Africa and the Americas. Boulder, CO.: Rowman & Littlefield. Grossberg, Lawrence, Cary Nelson, and Paula Treichler (eds.) (1992). cultural studies. New York: Rouledge. Huizinga, J. (1952). Homo ludens: Proeve a bepaling van het spel-element der cultuur. Haarlem: Tjeenk Willink and Zoon. Jackson, Michael (ed.) (1995). Things as they are: new directions in phenomenological anthropology. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press. Jackson, Michael (1998). Minima ethnographica: intersubjectivity and the anthropological project. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Jacobs, Els (2002). The Female Way / 'O jeito feminino': Religion, Power and Identity in the Grassroots Communities of Southern Brazil. Amsterdam: Vrije Universiteit. Robertson, Roland (1992). Globalization: Social Theory and Global Culture. London etc.: SAGE.


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Rostas, Susanna and André Droogers (eds.) (1993). The popular use of folk religion in Latin America. Amsterdam: CEDLA. Rüther, Rosemary Radford (1977). Mary - The Feminine Face of the Church. Philadelphia: Westminster Press. Stoll, David (1982). Fishers of men or founders of empires? The Translators of the Wycliffe Bible in Latin America. London: Zed Press. Stoll, David (1990). Is Latin America becoming Protestant? The Politics of Evangelical Growth. Berkeley: University of California Press. Strauss, Claudia and Naomi Quinn (1994). A cognitive/cultural anthropology. In: Robert Borofsky (ed.), Assessing Cultural Anthropology. New York: McGraw-Hill, pp. 284-300 Strauss, Claudia and Naomi Quinn (1997). A cognitive theory of cultural meaning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Turner, Victor W. (1988). The anthropology of action. New York: PAJ Publications. Versteeg, Peter GA (2001). Take me close: an ethnography of the experience in a Dutch charismatic church. Amsterdam: Vrije Universiteit. Versteg, Peter (2010). The Ethnography of a Dutch Pentecostal Church: Vineyard Utrecht and the International Charismatic Movement. New York: Mellen Press. Yinger, J. Milton (1970). The scientific study of religion. New York: MacMillan.

Chapter 8 Identity, Religious Pluralism and Ritual in Brazil: Umbanda and Pentecostalism 1. Introduction The aim of this paper is first to present a model for the study of religions in a pluralistic society like that of Brazil. It is suggested that religions can be compared in terms of three main dimensions: external, internal and supernatural. The identity of a religious group and how it deals with religious pluralism depends on the composition of these three dimensions. In Section 3 I will address the religious situation in Brazil in general. The social and economic conditions of Brazil have produced a peculiar form of religious pluralism over time, and at the same time religious beliefs and behaviors have contributed to this situation. In Section 4 I will take a closer look at two major Brazilian religions: Umbanda and Pentecostal, defining their individual identities based on the model developed in Section 2. Identities have influenced their attitudes towards religious pluralism, paying particular attention to their ritual behavior as an expression of these attitudes was given. In the last section, I summarize the comparative results based on the conceptual framework and focus on the relationship between power and meaning. It will also suggest that the social science explanation of religion and religious pluralism should focus more on religious beliefs and rituals.

2. A Framework To facilitate the discussion of religious pluralism a heuristic device seems to be the most appropriate, and to this end I propose to present a model for the study of a single religious group (Droogers 1989, 1994; Droogers and Siebers 1991). The


Chapter 8. Identity, religious pluralism and ritual in Brazil

The model focuses on the relationship between power and the processes of meaning formation (Crick 1976: 3) or signification. Religious pluralism arises from a situation where two or more religions exist in the same society and where they are complementary and inclusive or competitive and exclusive. In both cases, religious differences are in the foreground and can lead to the inclusion or exclusion of outsiders. Therefore, it is first necessary to determine how a particular religious group positions itself in relation to other groups and the broader society in which it operates. I call this the external dimension of the group. In a situation of religious pluralism, this is the most obvious of the three dimensions mentioned above. However, it is strongly connected to the other two dimensions of each religious group, which combine to form a three-dimensional model; I will call the first of these two related dimensions internal and the second supernatural. The internal dimension denotes the relationships between the believers themselves, including their religious specialists, if any. However, when I speak of the supernatural dimension, I mean the relationship group members have with God, gods, spirits, saints, or other less personal forces, including the beliefs that influence that relationship. The nature of the central relationships in each of these three dimensions is, I believe, inherent in the group's own ideas of power and meaning. I define power as the ability to influence a person's behavior and meaning as the idea of ​​what reality is in all its various manifestations. An important aspect of a religion's exercise of power is its license to control or dictate that meaning. In each of the three dimensions, power and meaning are linked in specific ways, and I will try to illustrate this for each of them individually. Externally, the central relationship is that between believers and unbelievers. Understanding who is and is not a believer depends to a large extent on a shared body of meaning, while for a number of reasons any distinction ultimately becomes a matter of power. Believers differ from non-believers in that they see themselves inferior to the power of supernatural beings and forces (the supernatural dimension) and religious specialists (the inner dimension). By submitting in this way, believers often accept with great conviction that others have the power to influence their behavior. Unbelievers do not submit to such dictates and power and are therefore "outsiders" even though they are,

2. A frame


but potential "insiders". When non-believers form a minority in society, it is likely that the power of religion will extend to them to some degree. In any case, religious pluralism requires some form of demarcation and appropriate codes of conduct, be they explicit or implicit. The nature of the other two dimensions is bound to influence the discourse on external relations and vice versa. The way in which power and meaning are conceived within each of the two dimensions has implications for external relations and thus for religious pluralism. The outer features can in turn influence the form that the inner and supernatural dimensions take. The inner dimension refers to the way in which believers relate to one another and which, depending on the extent of the religious division of tasks, entails a certain exercise of power. Religious specialists of various kinds can create and maintain a hierarchical social structure in which some members at each level are subordinate to those above them, just as they themselves can exercise power over the lower levels of the ladder. The way in which these power relations are justified and legitimized depends on processes of meaning construction. This is how the connection between meaning and power is made. The same process of signification can, of course, lead to the subversion of the power structure that prevails at a given point in time. The way power is organized internally and the process by which it is justified or criticized will have consequences for the attitude of the religious group itself towards religious pluralism. A group's identity can depend heavily on its leaders, who act as the exclusive "face" of the group. Internal religious pluralism can even be such that external pluralism is seen as normal and unproblematic, as an extension, so to speak, of what is going on within the religious group itself. The same applies to the supernatural dimension. Power can be present in the individual believer's relationship with the supernatural, expressed both in his subservient attitude toward it and in his efforts (often referred to as "magic") to control it. The connection between power and the process of signification is again illustrated by the fact that the importance believers are asked to give to supernatural powers actually determines their attitude towards them. What is happening here, therefore, has obvious consequences for religious pluralism. A strong emphasis on absolute and unique power.


Chapter 8. Identity, religious pluralism and ritual in Brazil

of the supernatural, for example, can create a sense of exclusivity in the outer dimension. At this point it should be clear that attitudes towards religious pluralism are not only influenced by a sum of believers' views on the question of power and meaning in all three dimensions. More than a juxtaposition, it is the three dimensions as a whole that determine the attitude of the group and thus stamp the overall identity of the group within the society around it. Religious identity is thus shaped by external, internal and supernatural dimensions. This does not mean that there is perfect integration and cohesion of the three dimensions. In fact, much of the dynamic of any religious group is fueled by the internal contradictions within and between the three dimensions. Believers simply do not behave coherently despite the official, more or less homogeneous and integrated version of their religion represented by their religious figures. Time brings its own changes in the way people live their lives, and these changes cause them to shift their beliefs and use their beliefs strategically. Nor should we assume that what happens in one dimension is necessarily a reflection of what happens in the others. Although consistency can be considered an ideal, there are exceptions, despite official statements to the contrary. The Pentecostal and Umbanda religions, which will be discussed in more detail later, serve as illustrations. The central idea of ​​Pentecostalism, which is essential to the supernatural dimension, is that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are available to all and should ideally create a basic equality among believers with regard to the inner dimension. However, it is evident that some people are more gifted than others and that the expansion of a group inevitably implies some degree of institutionalization and hierarchy, leading to an inequality between leaders and followers. This often creates conflict and division because followers feel that the original source of inspiration is being neglected. A new church is planted on the basis of a return to the pure and authentic message of equality in spirit until a generation or two later the same process begins again. Contradictions arise among Pentecostals; On the one hand, they receive enough inspiration within the supernatural dimension to condemn and avoid the world (the outer dimension) as evil and "dirty", while on the other hand they

2. A frame


On the other hand, in the same world, the new believers must be recruited and all must work and earn a living. Umbanda focuses on spiritual mediumship with the ability to consult the spirits through their mediums. Ideally, the properties of each spirit and its medium are viewed as complementary to those of all others. The entire spectrum of suffering can thus be covered by the totality of spirits through mediums. Ideally, this core idea of ​​the supernatural dimension should create an inner feeling of harmony and community. However, tensions between mediums or rival groups of mediums are translated as conflicts between their minds (Velho 1975). If the media themselves are in conflict, so are their spirits. This means that what is normal in the supernatural dimension does not necessarily find its parallel in the inner dimension and conversely inner dimension conflicts can temporarily create a parallel in the supernatural dimension. Another example is the contradiction between the ideal of working externally for charity with the help of spirits and the practice of invoking the power of spirits to harm other people. In studying religious pluralism, an important aspect is the delicate connection between the three dimensions, as evident in Pentecostalism and Umbanda. All partners in a religious pluralism context present and defend their views based on the relative identity of their own religious groups. A situation of religious pluralism therefore encompasses a variety of constellations, and by examining each religious group's attitude towards religious pluralism, our three-dimensional model can be useful and its application reveals different perspectives on power and meaning. The dynamics of the three-dimensional constellation will also differ from group to group, adding to the complexity of religious pluralism. The resulting image isn't just one of the things that set them apart. In fact, there can be a surprising degree of similarity and overlap between them, even if they seem polarized and opposite. Much will depend on the members' understanding of power and importance, not only at the official level of religious specialists, but also and especially at the level of the populace. It is important to remember here that power as a concept does not refer to personal property but to a relationship that indicates a give and take, a negotiation process. The influence that one person can have over another person's behavior is never complete, although the margins may be so small that the person is over


Chapter 8. Identity, religious pluralism and ritual in Brazil

Those wielding this power are only able to think contradictory instead of expressing it in words or deeds. When there is overlap and similarity between religions, surprisingly enough, and especially at the popular level, then syncretism becomes an essential part of religious pluralism (Droogers 1989), and in this case we find another illustration of the connection between meaning and ability. The term syncretism has been used disparagingly by religious experts, particularly in the Christian context, to condemn the religious mingling of believers under their supervision; in his opinion, an undesirable practice if borders are to be respected. After all, it's up to them to protect the group boundaries from possible intruders. Syncretism was also promoted by religious specialists such as the Umbanda priests, in the belief that their religion was not significantly different from all others represented in the plural context. In both cases, even if the consequences can be completely different, these attitudes depend on the constellation of the three dimensions. In this regard, some remarks need to be made before applying the framework developed in this section to the Brazilian situation. The manner in which the dimensions are related in a single constellation depends on certain alternatives in each of the three dimensions. One way to understand these alternatives is to determine which side of a power relationship is emphasized by the people involved. In each of the three dimensions, power is negotiated in a particular way and the group's religious identity is correspondingly different and can vary widely. Once again, it must be considered that there need not be consistency between dimensions, but almost always some degree of ambiguity and inconsistency. It is even possible that a clear decision on one of the dimensions is avoided and traces of both consistency and inconsistency are evident: there is therefore an imperative to avoid extremes. In relation to the supernatural dimension, we can see that the emphasis is placed on how God, gods and spirits etc. manifest themselves, and we could call this a revealing way of constructing religious identity. On the other hand, it might be the believer's ritual activity that seeks supernatural support that receives the greatest emphasis. As we've noted, this has long been referred to as "magic," but because of its "second-rate" or even "illegitimate" connotations, I'd rather use the exploratory term religion instead. identity construction.

3. Brazilian religious pluralism


The internal dimension presents the alternatives of a dominant leadership and a dominant lay group as opposites. When power resides primarily in the hands of religious specialists, we have what we call a hierarchical form of religious identity construction, while the opposite, greater power in the hands of the layman, can be described as inclusivist. One of the criteria included in the external dimension is the group's attitude towards society in general. For example, the hostile mode of religious identity construction is characterized by a strong dualism, while at the other extreme we see a much greater tendency towards tolerance.

3. Brazilian religious pluralism Brazil could be described as a laboratory for religious studies, since almost all world religions are represented there in one way or another. Christianity came with the Portuguese colonizers, Jewish immigrants imported Judaism, and African slaves crossed the ocean with their tribal religions, and over time their descendants transformed them into Afro-Brazilian religions. Other groups imported Islam to Brazil and were later reinforced by Middle Eastern immigrants. Japanese religions, old and new, came with the influx of Japanese immigrants and spread throughout the Brazilian population. Both the Spiritistic Kardecismo and the Umbanda are the centers of thought of karma and reincarnation. And countless smaller religions have also found their way onto Brazilian soil. However, what gives Brazil its particular religious pluralism is the combination of different factors and ingredients that, in a specific historical context, have led to a typically Brazilian religious practice best represented in the Afro-Brazilian religions. Now I would like to show the historical background of these religions. The pre-colonial Indian population was literally decimated. However, some elements of their religions survive not only in the few surviving Amerindian villages but also, more indirectly and to varying degrees, in the various forms of syncretic Afro-Brazilian religions today. We should also not forget that the Indians were widely Christianized. Of course, it was the Roman Catholic Church that had the greatest religious influence during the period of colonization. The Christian mission was in charge of the Portuguese king, and he had


Chapter 8. Identity, religious pluralism and ritual in Brazil

the right to appoint bishops. At the end of the last century there was a period of "Romanization" which brought the ecclesiastical province back under Vatican rule. Brazil is now considered the country with the most Catholics in the world; more than 80% of the population profess Catholicism, although only a minority, estimated at no more than 10%, attend Mass. For the majority, popular Catholicism is important: practical, festive and non-sacramental, with the Virgin Mary and the saints at the center. Within the Catholic Church itself, small groups are engaged in progressive "grassroots" or "root" communities that draw inspiration from various elements of liberation theology. Other small groups represent a Catholic version of the Pentecostal tradition within the Charismatic Renewal movement, and many Catholics participate in Afro-Brazilian groups without seeing the need to give up their Catholic baptism. During the colonial period, slaves brought from Africa were baptized, but their religious training was minimal. They continued the customs of their own religions, if only because those practices helped them endure the terrible hardships of slavery. A consequence of this was the rise of syncretic forms of religion that, to varying degrees, incorporated Amerindian, African and Catholic elements and patterns. This led to the rise of Afro-Brazilian religions over time (Bastide 1978). This was not voluntary religious pluralism, but a response to historical pressures, particularly the prevailing relationships between social and economic power. The white elite imposed Catholicism on the soul while at the same time creating the conditions under which all religious resources, mainly African and Amerindian, were called upon to deal with the ailments of the body. Although present for some time, it was not until around 1800 that the first institutionalized urban forms of Afro-Brazilian religions were established. Yoruba cosmology played a particularly important role in this with its integration of Catholic elements, such as the identification of Catholic saints with Yoruba deities, oryx, the use of statues and candles, and the altar as the central axis around which they performed the rituals. . As we have already seen, Native American elements have also been added. There are local variations in the names of these Afro-Brazilian religions, the most prominent being Candomblé de Bahia, which is both very African and very Catholic. The Macumba version of Rio de Janeiro appeared later, using the Portuguese language more than African. Spiritual mediumship is central to all of these different variations, with female mediums often being occupied

3. Brazilian religious pluralism


Leadership positions, particularly in the more African forms. Problem solving is the main goal; After all, spirits can be used for good and evil. And besides, who decides what is right and what is wrong? What is beneficial for one may be equally disadvantageous for another. These older forms of Afro-Brazilian religion persisted for some time, but the most successful to emerge in the 20th century is Umbanda (Droogers 1985). It is estimated that around a third of Brazil's population has regular or infrequent contact with one or another of the small temples of Umbanda, which can be found in virtually every slum and middle-class neighborhood, especially in times of need. Despite its African, Amerindian, and Catholic roots, Umbanda was also influenced by spiritualism in the form of 19th-century French Kardecism, and its success is probably best explained by its adaptation to the tastes of the white, middle-class populace (Ortiz 1978). . ). This has led to the abandonment of its more conspicuous African elements, including animal sacrifices and lengthy initiation periods. His pantheon is notable for a similar adaptation, i.e. My. Spirits of Brazilian origin have been added to the Yoruba Oryx. I will come back to Umbanda later to illustrate religious pluralism in Brazil based on the framework developed in the first section. To bring this brief overview of the religious situation in Brazil to a proper conclusion, we must consider Protestant influences for a moment. Despite initial but unsuccessful efforts, the impact of Protestantism was not really felt until the 19th century, after the influx of German Lutheran immigrants and the work of Baptist, Methodist, and Presbyterian missionaries from the United States and Britain. The churches that have sprung up as a result of this process of immigration and missionary work vary widely in theology, style, and membership. However, being Protestant today means being Pentecostal two-thirds of the time. The first Pentecostal churches were founded by missionaries from the United States as early as 1910 and 1911, but it was not until the 1950s that Pentecostalism itself became a serious force. Several churches were planted and massive evangelism and healing campaigns were carried out; Pentecostalism grew in size and number in step with the growth of Brazil's major urban centers. Some of these churches now operate nationally and internationally, while others are one pastor temples with only a very small number of faithful followers. Some specialize in healing and can be found near government hospitals and clinics where they have it


Chapter 8. Identity, religious pluralism and ritual in Brazil

three healing services per day. Pentecostal churches vary in style and congregation, although all emphasize the dramatic role of the Holy Spirit in the lives of their converts. They work hard to attract new followers, mostly from the lower classes, and their worship services are primarily designed to bring these newcomers into the church. I will continue my discussion of the Pentecostal effect in the next section of this document. The concrete form that religious diversity takes in Brazil reflects something of the general nature of the society in which it occurs. Religious participation is in part the result of a combination of non-religious factors such as class, ethnicity, gender, migration and education. This does not mean that the explanation of religious plurality should be sought in non-religious factors, although they sometimes produce notable differences. However, the scope needs to be broadened by studying the dialectical interaction between religious and non-religious factors in the growth of religious pluralism. The scheme developed in the second section allows this double perspective, especially when it includes the supernatural dimension. We will now use it to compare two religious groups in Brazil in particular: the Umbandistas and the Pentecostals. I focus on the ways in which these two groups, through their behavior, beliefs and rituals, and thus their identities, define their attitudes towards other religious groups within their society.

4. Umbandists and Pentecostals The Supernatural Dimension The experience and belief in supernatural powers is present in both religions, although the content of that experience and belief is very different. Both regard the beginning of religious consciousness as a very dramatic event in a person's life. However, only Pentecostals speak of conversion, although Umbandistas recognize the importance of similar events in personal history, particularly a person's first experience as a spiritual medium. Supernatural power is therefore very often experienced in the context of problem solving and healing, either through the spirit (Pentecostal) or through the spirits (Umbanda). In the Pentecostal act of conversion, the transition in the baptism of the Holy Spirit is expressed through the manifestation of the charismatic

4. Umbandists and Pentecostals


Gifts of healing, tongues and prophecy, these gifts being a sign of the power of God. This power is also available to believers in the form of mutual aid. Conversion also means that the power of God is exercised over the moral life of the convert. Pentecostalism is a total religion that requires total devotion twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. In Umbanda, a god or spirit reveals himself directly through the medium, using his body, speaking through his mouth, and often healing that person through mediumship. The medium is viewed as the "horse" of God or Spirit, and at times a medium can be literally overwhelmed by the supernatural and go into a difficult-to-control trance. The art of mediumship lies in the ability to control a trance which, while it may appear spontaneous, is actually in part a learned form of behavior. Therefore, experienced media are expected to be in full control of the situation at all times. In the learning context, the term “baptism” is often used, but in a different sense than in the Pentecostal churches, namely as a ritual ablution through which a person is formally clothed as a medium. What is particularly characteristic of Umbanda is the syncretic nature of its beliefs and rituals. As we have already seen in the history of Afro-Brazilian religions, African gods and Catholic saints have merged into a dual or even a single personality. Power relations in society have played a central role in the development of these beliefs, as African slaves had to conform to the religious demands of their Catholic masters; They also challenged them by invoking the evil powers of their African gods and rituals, particularly those related to the West African trickster god Exu (Lapassade and Luz 1972). Hence, the creation of meaning led to specific views of supernatural powers. During the 20th century, social influences led to a further shift in meaning, as lower-middle-white white people adapted traditional African beliefs to fit their own. This process led to the emergence of Umbanda from the 1920s, and Ortiz called it "the black magician's white death" (Ortiz 1978). In the history of Afro-Brazilian religions, there has always been a close relationship between power and meaning. Interestingly, the most common categories of umbanda spirits correspond to marginalized social categories, such as black slaves, Native Americans, children, thieves and swindlers (called Exus, in homage to West Africa's only trickster god), prostitutes, and gypsies. Unlike them


Chapter 8. Identity, religious pluralism and ritual in Brazil

Society as a whole sees them, these categories of people are now being promoted to the status of supernatural powers, and the ruling classes are being relegated to needy clients. Since the media often come from the lower social classes, they obviously share this investment. Rolim suggests that a similar situation arose within Pentecostalism, where again power and meaning are linked (Rolim 1980). The economically and religiously disenfranchised underclasses became “owners” of the religions and created their own secular religion, outside the reach of the religious specialists of the traditional churches. A loss in economic power is thus offset by a gain in religious power. The other side of divine power, namely the human effort to influence and use it, is also present in both religions, although not always to the same degree. Pentecostals use their charismatic gifts to solve their own problems and those of others so that supernatural powers are not only experienced but harnessed. Long prayer sessions asking for God's help are common. In Umbanda, almost all experiences of being possessed by spirits are used by mediums and believers to seek supernatural help to solve their problems. Among his opponents, Umbanda has earned a reputation for practicing magic above all else. Mediums consciously seek possession and help from spirits to help their clients. In some cases, this supernatural power is seen as ambiguous, to say the least: it is seen as harmful and destructive, as defiant slaves of centuries past have already discovered.

The Inner Dimension In both religions, inner power relations cannot be understood without reference to the supernatural. They are also in stark contrast to the hierarchical structures at work in society and the Catholic Church. In Pentecostalism, at least in the early stages of a Pentecostal church's history, hierarchical tendencies are mitigated by the potential access to the gifts of the Holy Spirit for all of its members. Every Pentecost service is a testament to the active meaningful and giving role of all its members. In a way, every Pentecostal believer becomes a religious specialist in his own right. The division of labor is very diverse and all members share the gifts of the Spirit contained in healing, prophecy and glossolalia.

4. Umbandists and Pentecostals


However, the success of a church can sometimes lead to an emphasis on organization and a hierarchical division of labor, with leaders often invoking divine revelation to justify their high status and power. It goes without saying that charismatic authority helps advance the careers of these leaders, although less charismatic leaders also stand out: after all, every prophet needs an organizer. The result can be competition and schism, elements which in themselves have greatly contributed to the spectacular growth of the Pentecostal church. The new dissidents start their own churches and attract new followers. Hierarchy and division are therefore normal aspects of second and third generation churches. As already indicated, this process is not free from contradictions, an example being that between the supernatural and the inner dimension. In Umbanda mediumship colors the structure of internal power relations. Because of their ability to mediate between gods or spirits and humans, mediums inevitably have the authority to exercise power over their "clients," and they do. Some outlets perform better than others and achieve a position of power over other outlets, with success being measured by the size of the customer network. The leaders of the new temples are sought from among the most experienced and successful, i.e. Mine. those who are able to "reach" a wide spectrum of spirits have passed through all stages of initiation into mediumship and fulfilled all necessary commitments. They are also usually very charismatic personalities. Here too, as in Pentecostalism, conflicts escalate, for example when a successful medium becomes what appears to be a threat to the current leader of a temple and breaks away to found another group. Again, the spirit world is believed to play a crucial role in such conflicts and divisions.

The External Dimension This dimension is clearly connected to the other dimensions of the power relationship that we have discussed. Pentecostals, for example, use every means available to spread their message, their experienced belief in the power of the Holy Spirit to solve all problems. It is the calling of every member of the Pentecostal Church to fight the devil, who is called the master of world evil and sinners, and they can regularly preach this message in the main squares of most Brazilian cities. An extreme example of


Chapter 8. Identity, religious pluralism and ritual in Brazil

Pentecostal evangelism are the commuter train preachers who bear fervent testimonies of the radical rewards of conversion; They are their own role models and encourage their audiences to face a similar personal transformation. Social scientists differ on the role that Pentecostal churches actually play in society and in the modernization process (Droogers 1991a, 1991b, Hoffnagel 1978, Lalive d'Épinay 1968, 1969, Martin 1990, Willems 1967). Some see Pentecostalism as a modern version of feudalism, with the pastor being the new feudal lord, and in this sense we would expect to find continuity between the rural environment that the migrants left behind and the urban religious context in which you are now finding yourself. itself. Others praise Pentecostal entrepreneurship and see them as the Weberian Calvinists of our day, the vanguard of modernization. In any case, their respect for authority has earned Pentecostals a reputation as exemplary citizens and conscientious workers. Whitsun commissioners were elected to the federal and state parliaments. They are generally staunch defenders of strict moral codes and often take an anti-Catholic stance when defending policies aimed at making Brazil a theocracy. Umbandistas do not consciously seek to influence society, although some have chosen political careers. The social role of the media is usually limited to the help they offer their clients; They seek solutions, through their networks and not just through their spiritual resources, and therefore they intervene in the society that surrounds them. In the same way, as we have already seen, Brazilian society has influenced Umbanda, a religion that offers an interesting mix of accommodation and resistance. This last aspect is implicit and therefore more symbolic in the common categories of spirits that belong to all marginalized groups in society. In a way, these spiritual outcasts return to society through the back door of the Umbanda temples.

5. Umbanda, Pentecostalism and Religious Pluralism Having described the two religions, we are now in a position to take a look at their attitude towards religious pluralism. As already indicated, the constellation of the three dimensions has a direct influence on these attitudes. Let us now take a closer look at this connection.

5. Umbanda, Pentecostalism and Religious Pluralism


The external dimension The two religions discussed here operate in their external relations on the same market with similar target groups in the lower classes of society and both offer religious solutions to practical problems. This creates a certain competitive atmosphere between the two and reveals surprising differences. While Pentecostals generally use public spaces for their recruitment campaigns and attract new followers through informal private networks, Umbandistas only take the latter approach. Pentecostals appear to be more assertive in general, and there have been recent signs that some groups are becoming aggressive in their attitudes toward Umbandistas and adherents of the Afro-Brazilian religion in general. A recent article on the subject (Soares 1993) even refers to it in the title as "The War of the Pentecostals against the Afro-Brazilians". Some Pentecostal churches have taken the offensive against Afro-Brazilian religions to the point of interfering with their ceremonies, particularly midnight rituals performed by Afro-Brazilian groups in cemeteries. These rituals are organized in honor of Exu, the trickster god that non-Afro-Brazilian religions consider to be the devil. The same ritual can also be dedicated to Exu's female counterpart, Pomba-Gira, the spirit of a prostitute or a gypsy. Exu and Pomba-Gira are morally ambiguous, sympathetic to the person who commissioned the ritual while at the same time not sympathetic to those who are supposed to be their enemies. To Pentecostals, these spirits are downright demonic. Pentecostals generally oppose all Afro-Brazilian religions indiscriminately, branding all deities and spirits, even the clearly benign, as demons, forbidding contact with them, and condemning spiritual mediumship as idolatry. And yet these same deities and spirits are taken very seriously, and criticism of them is not based, as in most Catholic and Protestant churches, on the assumption that spirits do not exist, are man-made idols, or can be explained. psychological, but in the belief that they exist and are extremely dangerous (Soares 1993: 43, 44). While the Catholic Church has long viewed Afro-Brazilian religions as backward and primitive and even pre-scientific, Pentecostals take Afro-Brazilian spirit worship very seriously. The Umbandistas will generally ignore and not respond to such criticism. However, when asked for an answer, they will usually say that all religions are true and that everyone should be free to be a man.


Chapter 8. Identity, religious pluralism and ritual in Brazil

ifest yourself. After suffering decades of pressure from the Catholic clergy on the police authorities, the Umbandistas have become sensitive to any sign of aggression towards them. In the past, police actions have prompted them to organize themselves into regional temple associations, for which each temple has had to give up some of its basic autonomy. His unfortunate and threatening clashes with authorities in the past have undoubtedly contributed to his strong defense of religious freedom. The same kind of tolerance is rarely seen in Pentecostal churches; Witness the confident and even aggressive role they play at the religious agora. The people who converted to Pentecostalism from Umbanda are the ones most willing to witness their transition from the kingdom of Satan to that of Jesus. Several pamphlets are available describing the religious careers of former Afro-Brazilian leaders and mediums who are now Pentecostal pastors (e.g. Stevão 1975). In terms of power and meaning, Pentecostals recognize their contribution to the meaning-making process and seek to increase their participation in that market. They are deeply convinced that they are right and therefore cannot understand why other people refuse to share their views. Her firm belief in the work of the Holy Spirit further encourages her in her efforts to spread the message and draw others into the fold. In their fight against Afro-Brazilian religions, Pentecostal churches have used exorcism as a ritual weapon, which they believe is closely related to the dramatic changes that conversion brings. The conversion experience is ritualized in a Pentecostal service or evangelistic meeting, stimulating a final trance in which the "demon" is incorporated for the final time and finally cast out by the power of the Holy Spirit (Soares 1993:43). The drama of the event is heightened by the reactions of the congregation, who sing short thunderous songs against the devil, waving their arms and shouting, for example, "Sai, sai, sai!" (Out!) or "Out!". Burn! Burn!' (Burn!). The irony is that in Umbanda spiritual mediumship is recommended as a means of healing, while in Pentecostals exorcism, the final blow to mediumship, is said to heal the person. When we talk about the external dimension, it is imperative that we look at Brazilian culture in general. DaMatta sees a fundamental ambiguity in Brazilian history and culture, i. My. the dichotomy between hierarchy and equality, order and improvisation, authority and impostor

5. Umbanda, Pentecostalism and Religious Pluralism


God, rationality and irrationality (DaMatta 1979, 1991). Fry and Howe also found this in their study of Pentecostal and Umbandista groups (Fry and Howe 1975). Pentecostalism shows a clear preference for the former (hierarchy, order, etc.), while Umbanda opts for the latter (equality, improvisation, etc.). The Pentecostal War waged against Afro-Brazilian religions could perhaps be seen as part of a tidal movement in Brazilian society between the two poles, sometimes leading to hierarchical structures and even dictatorships, and sometimes to greater equality and a form of democratization. However, it should not be forgotten that Pentecostals have a very clear idea of ​​what society should be - a kind of theocracy - and are willing to fight and suffer for that ideal. It is therefore not surprising that the Pentecostal representatives mentioned above in the regional and national parliaments use their positions to propagate this view as widely as possible. However, Umbandistas and other Afro-Brazilians have no such ideological vision, although their cosmology has the potential to be translated into political action, particularly in relation to ecological and environmental issues, considering that gods and nature spirits are fundamental to theirs religions. Despite the existence of regional federations of umbanda temples, their fragmented organizational structure makes it almost impossible for them to manifest themselves on a national level. However, there are some politicians known as Umbandistas who recruit their voters from Umbanda circles, but there is no doubt that the national Pentecostal churches have been far more effective politically.

The Supernatural Dimension However, these differences in the outer dimensions cannot be fully understood without relating them to the other two dimensions; We will first examine the supernatural dimension. The Umbandista pantheon is constantly expanding, absorbing more and more spirits throughout history to add to its already extensive roster of famous folk heroes. It is also inherently encompassing, the ghosts of the past coming alive again as they manifest through mediums. The various categories of Indians and black slaves have therefore become marginalized heroes of Brazilian history; Names like Lampião and Maria Bonita, for example, famous rebels in northeastern Brazil in the 1930s who were assassinated by the government.


Chapter 8. Identity, religious pluralism and ritual in Brazil

Government troops are still present both in the statues on the altars and in the spiritual mediation in some of the Umbanda temples. In fact, all the religious influences that converge in modern Brazil leave their mark on the altars. It will come as no surprise that even the Buddha is depicted on altar shelves in an Umbanda temple somewhere in the heart of Brazil. Regarding the supernatural dimension, there is no clear ethics of good and evil in Umbanda. Exu and Pomba-Gira, for example, give a very mixed picture in this regard. Umbanda Temple leaders will always deny using these spirits against other people, but will often point out to others that they do so. It is a public secret that many Umbandista leaders and mediums perform rituals to harm individuals, and in fact it is well known that this type of ritual is the most lucrative. When the pantheon is continually expanding and there are no rigid views about what constitutes good and evil, religious pluralism is more readily accepted as a normal phenomenon, and rituals serve as an expression of that pluralism. Spiritual mediumship, more than exorcism, is the ritual tool for valuing religious pluralism, a fact that became quite clear when the Yoruba Oryx entered the realm of the Catholic Saints. Instead, despite their separation from the three Persons of the Holy Trinity and their preference for the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the Pentecostal supernatural dimension is characterized by a strict monotheism. Pentecostal cosmology is fixed, exclusive, and based on a more or less literal reading of the Bible. History, they say, is predestined to the end of time, when Christ will kill the devil; In fact, the slogan “Jesus is near” written in chalk is a common sight on public buildings in Brazil. There is also a strong Pentecostal emphasis on the contrast between good and evil: life is a constant war against the devil. Midnight rituals in honor of Exu are condemned as idolatry and actively opposed. All people, including Umbandistas, need to be saved, evangelized and preached, even in cemeteries in the middle of the night. Once the Holy Spirit has manifested, the spirits must go. The convert's life changes and his behavior is totally strained. Once and for all, literally for eternity, the convert has sided with the good guys and is now a soldier in the war against evil, a war that, from a certain perspective, can also be viewed as a war against evil. Pluralism.

5. Umbanda, Pentecostalism and Religious Pluralism


The inner dimension In the inner dimension, these options of religious pluralism are reflected and promoted. The Umbandistas will always welcome representatives of other religions and try to solve their problems if necessary. The irregular visitor is a normal phenomenon in the Umbanda temples, as many only come when they have problems. They are not claimed unless they show signs of inexperienced mediumship, and umbandistas readily advocate personal freedom, attending both an umbanda church and temple. They even claim that their own activities are not religious at all: their religion is Catholicism. The fact that Umbanda is called “non-religion” could be interpreted as a strategy to make it a national religion, in the sense that it avoids having to compete with other religions by presenting itself as something of of a different order. Umbanda sees itself more as a kind of primary healthcare system, available on the next street corner, than as a religion. National censuses have shown that few people actually call themselves umbandistas, a fact that may paradoxically suggest that many Brazilians consider themselves umbandistas. In any case, the boundaries between inner and outer dimensions are quite vague, especially for customers, less so for the media. Pentecostals also sometimes see themselves as a kind of first aid station, albeit in a much more exclusive sense. The inner dimension unites believers in a community of people who have been touched by the Holy Spirit and are therefore willing to help their neighbor in need, never forgetting that that neighbor is always a potential candidate for conversion. Healing and other problem-solving methods are manifestations of God's will for His people, and His divine intervention is available to all upon request. A commitment is then presented to the person so healed, and the commitment is complete. Even in a more hierarchical Pentecostal church, where some seem to have greater access to the gifts of the Spirit than others, there is still ample room for the new convert to fulfill this obligation. Once the glory of the Lord is fully recognized, religious pluralism becomes superfluous and syncretism an anachronism. The Church is organized for the purpose of guiding as many people as possible to the right path, to the safety of its borders. Outsiders are lost if they are not converted. The boundaries separating the inside from the outside are well defined and strictly enforced, only losing relevance once everyone has joined the herd.


Chapter 8. Identity, religious pluralism and ritual in Brazil

6. Conclusion The framework developed in the first section of this article has helped us to make a comparison between two Brazilian popular religions and their attitudes towards religious pluralism. We have seen that it is the constellation of external, internal, and supernatural dimensions that produces a religion's identity and guides its adherents in their attitude toward religious pluralism. In particular, the ritual expression of this attitude is a corollary of the beliefs that characterize the supernatural dimension. A religion's approach to religious pluralism arises from a mixture of secular and religious factors in a dialectical interaction throughout history. The relationship between power and purpose is complex. In terms of the various constructions of religious identity outlined at the end of the first section of this article, both Umbanda and Pentecostalism seem to represent the revealing type, using both spiritual mediumship and charismatic gifts as channels for the manifestation of religious identity. .. the Holy. . At the same time, however, believers also develop an active ritual attitude typical of the exploratory mode of religious production, in the sense that both religions regard the sacred as a tool for solving problems. There are also similarities in the inner dimension. In both religions the starting point is inclusive, so all believers are assigned roles, and in both groups a portion of each community is there to seek relief from some sort of suffering or problem. In Pentecostalism, those who believe in the solution to their problem often remain as new converts. Newcomers will only integrate into the Umbanda Temples if they have shown signs of possessing mediumistic abilities. In both religions, some members consider themselves more successful and therefore become more influential. When a group's success leads to a change in size, as in the case of expansionist Pentecostalism, institutionalization may ensue, with traces of a hierarchical structure. Under the strong leadership of its leader, Bishop Macedo, one of the youngest Pentecostal churches in Brazil, the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, managed to open more than 700 churches in a span of fifteen years. Much more oriented towards small-scale personal contacts, with rare exceptions, Umbanda develops its patron-customer relationships between media and visitors, the latter occupying a temporary and marginal position within the inner dimension, unless they prove themselves to be instruments of spiritual mediumship.

6. Conclusion


The external dimension, the most important when it comes to religious pluralism, shows clear differences between the two religions. While Pentecostalism takes a hostile and critical attitude towards society, Umbanda is much more tolerant and reflective of society's various processes, although their main spiritual categories imply an indirect criticism of society. As shown above, this difference can only be understood if the prevailing religious beliefs in the supernatural dimension are also taken into account. The active anti-syncretistic exclusivism typical of Pentecostals stands in sharp contrast to the passive, self-evident syncretism of the Umbandistas. The ritual expression of these attitudes is thus reflected in the contrast between exorcism and spirit possession. While both religions extend their practical ministries to the outer dimension, and both have encountered resistance at this level, their main difference lies in their attitude towards society in general and towards religious pluralism in particular. Applying the model of religious power relations developed in the second section of this chapter to two Brazilian examples of popular religion has shown us that power and meaning are closely intertwined and influence each other. Power depends in part on the meaning-making process in which gods, spirits, and humans are seen or experienced as powerful beings. Furthermore, people who play little role in society's power processes can find a way, through the creation of meaning, to create their own real world, at least for them, in which power relations, secular and religious, including religious pluralism, can be reversed. and criticized. It has therefore been useful not to confine ourselves to the internal and external levels usually studied by social scientists, but to include the supernatural level of power relations in our treatment of Brazilian religious pluralism. This should be a standard approach in studying religions, as it allows us to go beyond functional questions and explain certain features of the inner and outer planes. For this reason, the contents of beliefs and rituals have been included in our study of the relationships between power and meaning in a situation of religious pluralism. The attributes of the supernatural have been shown to influence the form and relevance of power relations in the inner and outer dimensions. This, on the other hand, does not exclude the influence that these relationships can have on the form of power in the supernatural dimension; This is an aspect that has already been extensively analyzed. The time has come to reha-


Chapter 8. Identity, religious pluralism and ritual in Brazil

allow for the explanatory role of the content of religious beliefs and rituals, including in the study of religious pluralism.

References Bastide, Roger (1978). The African Religions of Brazil: Towards a Sociology of Interpenetration of Civilizations. Baltimore, etc.: The Johns Hopkins University Press. Crick, Malcolm (1976). Explorations in Language and Meaning: Towards a Semantic Anthropology. London: Malaby Press. Da Matta, Roberto (1979). Carnivals, Villains and Heroes: Towards a Sociology of the Brazilian Dilemma. Rio de Janeiro: Zahar. Da Matta, Roberto (1991). Carnival, villains and heroes: an interpretation of the Brazilian dilemma. Notre Dame, etc.: Notre Dame University Press. Drooger, Andrew (1985). And Umbanda? Saint Leopoldo: Synod. Drooger, Andrew (1989). Power in zin: Een drieluik van Braziliaanse religieuze verbeelding. Amsterdam: Vrije Universiteit, inaugural lecture. Droogers, Andrew (1991a). Paradoxical visions of a paradoxical religion: models for explaining the growth of Pentecostalism in Brazil and Chile. In: Barbara Boudewijnse, André Droogers and Frans Kamsteeg (eds.) (1991). More than pious: an anthropological reading of Latin American and Caribbean Pentecostalism. San José (Costa Rica): DEI, p. 17 – 42. (For a translation see Chapter 12 of this book) Droogers, André (1991b). Bibliography on Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements in Latin America and the Caribbean. In: Barbara Boudewijnse, André Droogers and Frans Kamsteeg (eds.) (1991). More than pious: an anthropological reading of Latin American and Caribbean Pentecostalism. San José (Costa Rica): DEI, p. 137-176. Droogers, Andre (1994). The Normalization of Religious Experience: Healing, Prophecy, Dreams and Visions. In: Karla Poewe (ed.) (1994). Charismatic Christianity as Global Culture. Columbia, South Carolina: University of South Carolina Press, pp. 33-49 Droogers, André and Hans Siebers (1991). Popular religion and power in Latin America: an introduction. In: André Droogers, Gerrit Huizer and Hans Siebers (eds.) (1991). Popular Power in Latin American Religions. Saarbrücken and Fort Lauderdale: Breitenbach, pp. 1-25. Fry, Peter H. and Gary N. Howe (1975). Two Answers to Fear: Umbanda and Pentecostalism. Debate and Criticism, 6, 75-94. Hoffnagel, Judith C. (1978). The Believers: Pentecostal Movement in a Brazilian City. Ann Arbor: International Microfilm University. Lalive d'Epinay, Christian (1968). The Refuge of the Masses: Sociological Study of Chilean Protestantism. Santiago: Editorial del Pacifico. Lalive d'Epinay, Christian (1969). Refuge for the Masses: A Study of Pentecostalism in Chile. London: Lutterworth Press.



Lapassade, Georges and Mark Aurelius Light (1972). The Mystery of the Macumba. Rio de Janeiro: Peace and Earth. Martin, David (1990). Tongues of Fire: The Explosion of Protestantism in Latin America. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. Ortiz, Renato (1978). The White Death of the Black Wizard: Umbanda, Integration of a Religion into a Class Society. Petropolis: votes. Rolim, Franz Karthago (1980). religion and popular classes. Petropolis: votes. Soares, Louis Edward (1993). The Pentecostal War on Afro-Brazilians; Democratic dimensions of religious conflicts in Brazil. ISER Communications, 12(44), 42-50. Stevão, Gilberto (1975), Chief of Umbanda meets Christ (testimony). Curitiba: light in the dark. Velho, Yvonne Maggie Alves (1975). War of Orix: a study in ritual and conflict. Rio de Janeiro: Zahar. Willems, Emily (1967). Followers of the New Faith: Cultural Change and the Rise of Protestantism in Brazil and Chile. Nashville, Tennessee: Vanderbilt University Press.

Part II of the fields

Syncretism Chapter 9 Syncretism: The Definition Problem, The Problem Definition 1. Introduction Syncretism is a misleading term. Its main difficulty is that it is used with both an objective and a subjective meaning. The objective basic meaning refers neutrally and descriptively to the mixture of religions. The subjective meaning includes an evaluation of this mixture from the point of view of one of the religions involved. Typically, in this assessment, the blending of religions is condemned as violating the essence of the belief system. However, as we shall see, the possibilities also include a positive subjective definition. This confusion of meanings has motivated scholars to propose the abolition of the term. However, the term is so widely used that even an academic consensus to remove it would not result in a general moratorium on its use. His abandonment is all the more unlikely given that the number of contacts between believers of different religions is increasing day by day and with it the phenomenon to which the term "syncretism" refers in the truest sense of the word. In any case, the term will continue to be used in the discussion about interreligious dialogue, especially by those who oppose such an undertaking and repeatedly warn of the danger of syncretism (in a negative subjective sense). Also, those seeking religious contextualization can use it in a positive and sometimes almost proud and defiant sense, especially in concrete Third World situations. In this chapter, therefore, I will suggest that it would be unwise to dismiss the term, despite the pitfalls of working with the concept. Since the term is unlikely to go away, it's best to confront these issues head-on. Furthermore, the debate about the meaning of syncretism is too interesting and promising to present simply because of terminological confusion. In the second section of the chapter this discussion


Chapter 9. Syncretism

it is summarized in its previous development. Next (Section 3) an inventory is made of the options available to define syncretism. In the further course of the chapter, four suggestions are made to give new impetus to the syncretism debate. First, it is argued that the distinction between the objective and subjective definition of this term is not so absolute. It is shown that seemingly objective definitions contain subjective echoes (Section 4). Second, it emphasizes the importance of power relations in the production of religion, including syncretism and combating it. In relation to this topic, an interdisciplinary approach is pursued that integrates contributions from the sociology and anthropology of religion (Section 5). The third suggestion points to an additional contribution that the social science approach could make to the syncretism debate. Within anthropology, recent work has focused on symbol systems. These new ideas could well be applied to the topic of syncretism. Syncretism is then seen as a means of transforming religious symbol systems. It is worth examining the connection between changes in symbol systems on the one hand and power relations in the production of religion on the other (Section 6). Finally, it is argued that “syncretism” cannot be defined exclusively objectively (“religious mixture”) or purely subjectively (“illegitimate mixture” or more rarely “legitimate mixture”). Rather, the term refers to the undeniable and controversial interpretation of religions. On the one hand, much of the syncretism goes unnoticed, especially when the mixing takes place in such a way that the basic insights of the religions involved are preserved. On the other hand, the intra-religious controversy surrounding the permissibility of syncretism should not be ignored when defining the term (section 7). The subjectivity of the author is addressed in an epilogue (Section 8).

2. The change in meaning of the term In the course of history, even before religious scholars began to use the term, the term syncretism underwent several changes in meaning (Colpe 1987: 218,219, Kamstra 1970: 8-10, 1985: 210-212, Kraemer 1938: 200 -211, 1956: 392-394, Rudolph 1979: 194-

2. The changing meaning of the term


196). The earliest known use of the term is by Plutarch, referring to the Cretans who, faced with a common enemy, put aside their differences and temporarily united. Much later, Erasmus spoke of syncretism as a positive union of seemingly disparate points of view. In the 17th century the term took on a negative character, referring to the illegitimate reconciliation of opposing theological views. Syncretism, therefore, became a controversial term used to defend true religion against heresy. The distinction between an objective and a subjective definition of the term obviously has historical roots. From the second half of the 19th century there was a tendency in the history of religions to objectify the term by also applying it to early Christianity. Syncretism has been shown to be present in early forms of Christianity. However, as Rudolph (1979:196-97) has pointed out, it retained its negative connotation, denoting a departure from original purity, and is often used to denote cult-like groups. The first scientist to deal extensively with the concept of syncretism is G. van der Leeuw (1956). At one point in his book he limited the term syncretism to the movement from anonymous polydemonism to personal polytheism (1956:186, 636). Elsewhere, however, he expanded this definition by regarding all religions as syncretistic because they all unite different forms or shapes (1956: 692, citing J. Wach). Van der Leeuw introduced the concept of displacement or transposition as the basis of syncretism (1956:693). This means changes of meaning in which the form remains constant. He expressly stated that missions almost inevitably lead to syncretism (1956: 694ff.). Another Dutch author who had a major influence on the development of the debate in question is H. Kraemer (1937, 1938, 1956, 1962). While acknowledging that all religions are syncretistic (1937:7), he locates the roots of syncretism in monistic and thus relativizing religions as opposed to prophetic religions (1937:18-23). Monistic belief systems, like "primitive" religions, are naturalistic. They are autosoteriological in nature. Kraemer allowed for a kind of unconscious and inevitable syncretism that occurs in cross-cultural contact. But this kind of syncretism, to which Christianity was also subjected and which includes the naive syncretism of popular religion, differs from the conscious syncretism of religious elites. The latter is based on monism and is not permitted by prophetic religion.


Chapter 9. Syncretism

In the introductory chapter to A Collection of Studies by Scandinavian Scholars on Syncretism (Hartman 1969), H. Ringgren defined syncretism simply as "any mixture of two or more religions" (Ringgren 1969:7), suggesting that "elements of different religions are fused and influence each other” (1969: 7). He also presented a series of general observations about the conditions under which syncretism occurs, about interreligious encounters, about the nature of the outcome of syncretism, and about the psychological factors that can influence syncretism. The third Dutch scholar who has contributed significantly to the debate, is J.H. Kamstra (1970, 1975, 1984, 1985). that syncretism must be regarded as a common human trait and that it is consequently present in all religions, including Christianity (1970:23). Religious knowledge is always partial; Language and situation limit people's understanding. This leads to syncretism, which Kamstra defines as "the coexistence within a given religion of elements alien to one another, whether those elements stem from other religions or, for example, from social structures" (1970:9-10; trans. Pye, Pye 1971: 83). Interestingly, Kamstra mentioned the possibility of syncretism within a religion and not just in contact between religions (1970:27). According to him, the criterion in both cases is alienation (1970: 27). In later publications (1975; 1985), Kamstra offered a typology of syncretic religions and adopted the distinction between conscious and unconscious syncretism. He spoke of fusion and identification as extreme forms of syncretism, with assimilation and symbiosis as transitional forms between these extremes (1985:217). In an article on the religions of Japan (1989), Kamstra rejects the use of the term for the Japanese situation. The ideas presented in his 1970 paper (Kamstra 1970) were summarized by M. Pye and thus made accessible to readers outside the Netherlands. At the same time he criticized Kamstra. From Pye's point of view, Kamstra, taking Kraemer as a starting point, keeps him within the confines of the theological vision (Pye 1971:85), even as he criticizes him. Kamstra, as we have seen, had emphasized man's inability to know everything fully. Pye called this a theological statement, pointing to Kamstra's quote from the apostle Paul as further basis. Additionally, Pye criticized Kamstra for using alienation as a key concept. For Pye, the word is reminiscent of prophetic religions. It also implicitly affirms the view that religions are threatened by syncretism, be it

2. The changing meaning of the term


behind from inside or from outside. For Pye, however, one could also speak of “outward” syncretism (Pye 1971: 87, his emphasis), which excludes alienation. Another criticism Pye addresses to Kamstra is his neglect of the role of meaning in syncretism. Here Pye proposes ambiguity rather than alienation as a criterion for syncretism. The same element can have two different meanings at the same time. Syncretism is defined as "the temporally ambiguous coexistence of elements from different religious and other contexts within a coherent religious pattern" (1971:93). To overcome this ambiguity there are at least three possibilities (1971:92), viz. a meaning is eliminated (assimilation), a new coherent pattern of meaning is achieved (a new religion), or the two meanings are separated (dissolution). Like Kamstra, R.D. Baird relied on Kraemer, whom he criticizes for both implying and excluding that Christianity is syncretic (1970:142-52). In Baird's opinion, the concept is too confusing and lacks a precise definition. According to him, it is useless to distinguish between conscious and unconscious syncretism, because what really matters is the resulting synthesis. It's a universal phenomenon; The term is not specific enough to be used for historical research. Borrowing and shuffling is a normal part of history. The term syncretism is therefore superfluous in this context and should be discarded. Having ruled out the use of the term syncretism in terms of a new harmony, Baird nonetheless considered reserving the term for "instances where two contradictory ideas or practices come together and are maintained without the benefit of consistency" (1970). : 147 ). In this sense he thought that the term could be used to indicate a theological phenomenon. But this solution is also problematic because the category was not coined by believers: no one describes their own religion as syncretistic. Believers use the word only in encounters with other religions, describing each other's religion as contradictory. C. Colpe (1975, 1979, 1987) uses the term without hesitation. For him there are three "structural laws" that govern syncretism (1975: 17ff.): the prior autonomy of the components assembled in syncretism; balance between autonomy and integration; and a certain guarantee of historical continuity. Colpe distinguished between three types of connections between elements so related: symbiosis, acculturation, and identification (1975:21-23). He also pointed out the nature of the relationship that exists between the religions in contact. This relationship can be symmetrical or asymmetrical. Furthermore, he stressed that cultural contact does not necessarily imply syncretism, and that syncretism


Chapter 9. Syncretism

Cretism is possible without cultural contact (1975:25-28). Colpe initially saw syncretism as a critical term, which is now being transformed into a category of "historical-genetic explanation" of the prehistory of a religious situation (1987: 219). Another German contribution to the discussion comes from U. Berner (1978), who, like Ringgren, discusses the term in the first chapter of a collection of case studies on syncretic phenomena (Wiessner 1978). His goal was to provide a heuristic model. With this model, he orientated himself towards the system concept as used by N. Luhmann. Religions are systems with a specific function, made up of elements that also fulfill specific functions. When these systems come into contact, they can endanger each other. Syncretism is one of the possible responses to such a confrontation. It strives to reduce uncertainty by dissolving the boundaries between systems and thus ending competition. So defined, syncretism is a process. The word should not be applied to a single religion, but always to religions in contact. Berner suggested that this approach allows for an investigation of syncretism at both the system and element levels. Emphasizing that he did not use religious terms, he developed a complex terminology for each of the three levels: the system level, the element level, and the metalanguage level (the researcher's terms as opposed to the subjects' terms). . With this model, Berner wanted to avoid metaphorical language. The phenomenology of religion urgently needs an independent and universal terminology. For him, the answer lies in the system concept. This, he suggested, would avoid the risk of ideological bias. K. Rudolph (1979) has summarized in more detail than is possible here what previous authors have contributed to the syncretism debate. In addition, he presented his own vision of the problem. His conclusion (1979:206-210) from a literature review is that syncretism is becoming a relatively value-free notion, but one that still needs a clear typology and is not yet satisfactorily defined except in terms of a dynamic character. Syncretism is generally viewed as a mixture of religions, and it is generally accepted that no religion, except the most isolated, is free from syncretism, both in its origin and in its subsequent history. Syncretism presupposes encounter and confrontation. As a first distinction, still to be refined, Rodolfo accepts the opposition between conscious and unconscious syncretism. Striking is the relationship between syncretism and social stratification, especially between “Priests, Theologians, Mythologists” (1979: 208) on the one hand

3. Options available


on the one hand and the mass of believers on the other. In this context, it refers to the concepts of the major and minor Redfield traditions. The small tradition coincides with the popular and unconscious form of syncretism. Colpe's terms are adopted and expanded by Rudolph. This results in a series of terms: symbiosis, fusion, identification, metamorphosis, dissolution. The outcome of the syncretism will also depend on the political constellation and possible resistance to domination. Rudolph suggests that 'entanglement' (intersection) is essential to syncretism rather than transposition, alienation or ambiguity (1979:210). All of the authors discussed so far have sought to provide an objective definition of syncretism, although, as we have seen, some have been criticized for being overly theological and subjective in their approach. Christian theologians have approached syncretism in different ways depending on their theological assessment of other religions. I cannot do justice to all the opinions expressed, but I would like to name three widely read authors. WA Visser 't Hooft (1963; see also Mulder 1986) has strongly warned against syncretism as a constructed merging of religions. For him this was a threat to Christianity. Similar warnings were given by G. Thils in the Name of the Catholics (1967). W. Pannenberg (1970: 85-88, esp. n. 37) has shown that syncretism is present in Christianity and has suggested that it might even be viewed as a positive feature, since this is the way in which the universal Christian message is embodied within other cultures (see also Thomas 1985). The Christian faith can be enriched through contact with other cultures, through the influence and challenging questions that they emanate. Pannenberg shows that a subjective definition of syncretism does not always have to be negative.

3. The options available The foregoing summary of interpretations of the term syncretism can be supplemented by a thematic listing of those aspects that can be included in a definition. This serves not only to promote awareness of the choices one faces when defining syncretism, but also to make the ambiguity of the concept clearer. The first option has already been mentioned. Should syncretism be an objective, neutral, only descriptive term, or is it a subjective term, normative in its negative or, more rarely, positive evaluation?


Chapter 9. Syncretism

religious mix? As is clear from Kamstra's and Baird's criticisms of Kraemer, and also from Pye's comments on Kamstra, being objective is not easy. I will come back to this topic in the next section. On the other hand, a normative definition also has its problems, since the criterion of what is to be objected to (or accepted) is not easy to formulate. Another option concerns what to mix. The simplest answer is: two religions. But other ingredients may also be present in what one author calls syncretism. Syncretism can occur between currents of a religion, between a religion and an ideology, between religion and science, and between religion and culture. One must also choose between syncretism as a process of religious penetration, or as a result of such a process, or a combination of both. When speaking of a "syncretic religion" it can mean a religion that is the result of a time of religious encounter. But the term can also refer to an extremely tolerant and perpetually receptive religion, ready to accept and accommodate anything that comes their way. One might then ask whether syncretism is a temporary or permanent phenomenon. So there is some confusion about the elements that are considered contradictory or ambiguous: should they be called syncretistic only while the contradiction exists, or also when a new synthesis is produced by a change in meaning? As we have seen, various authors have proposed a typology of syncretic phenomena, including fusion, symbiosis, assimilation, identification, coherence, dissolution, etc. Rudolph lists sixteen of these terms (1979:207). These can relate not only to types of syncretism, but also to stages in the process and the end result. Since syncretism has often been viewed as a deviation from the original purity of a religion, a choice arises from whether syncretism can occur at the origin or foundation of a religion, or whether it should be used only to later indicate a threat to the initial purity Version. A negative subjective definition tends to emphasize original purity, while an objective definition can show that a religion was an amalgamation of elements from other religions from the very beginning. A topic discussed by various authors mentioned above is the question of symmetry or asymmetry in interreligious relationships. Do the two (or more) religions that are in contact with each other influence each other or does one religion dominate? Should one take the perspective of the recipient religion or the donor religion or both? or is it both

4. The possible subjectivity of objective definitions


give and take? A subjective definition is obviously formulated from the point of view of the religion that is subject to the influence of another religion. Objective definitions can have a broader perspective, but not necessarily, as we shall see in a moment. Finally, the distinction between conscious and unconscious syncretism must be remembered. In other words, one has a choice between explicit, constructed, reflective, and often intellectual syncretism on the one hand, and implicit, spontaneous, relatively unreflective folk syncretism on the other. I will conclude this section by noting a similarity between the definitions of syncretism and religion. There are objective and normative definitions of religion. Some definitions of religion allow for the inclusion of ideological, philosophical, and cultural elements. Religion has been defined as both a process and an outcome. It can emerge as a newly founded, explicitly constructed institution, just as it can appear gradually, spontaneously, anonymously, popularly. Furthermore, the distinction between functional and substantive definitions of religion, which emphasizes what religion does or is, could also be applied to definitions of syncretism. For example, what is the use of ambivalence in syncretism? Or what is characteristic of syncretically composed elements?

4. The Possible Subjectivity of Objective Definitions There are three points at which the concepts used by religious scholars to define syncretism can be correlated with the stumbling blocks in question in theological definitions. The first correlation is based on the notion among religion students that cohesion and integration are normal and consequently any deviation or contradiction is abnormal and even inferior. This opinion is comparable to that of the Orthodox clergy. Syncretism is then a temporary phenomenon, an ambiguity that will sooner or later lead to a new synthesis - or dissolution. This may mean that the early phase of this religion's history is viewed as one of purity and homogeneity, setting the standard that is later threatened by syncretism. In this way, the possible role of syncretism in the founding phase of the same religion is ignored. Second, the context in which syncretism occurs can be reduced to a single religion, even though two or more religions are involved.


Chapter 9. Syncretism

developed This also corresponds to the interest and perspective of the clergy. There seems to be less interest in looking at syncretism from the perspective of influential religion. “Outer” syncretism (Pye 1971:87) is often overlooked. Even less attention is paid to inter-religious believers who, unlike the clergy, may no longer identify with a particular religion. The third aspect is the emphasis on the doctrinal and official, a point also emphasized by Kamstra (1984). Students of religion, particularly when working with texts written by a religion's theological elite, can develop a blind spot to a religion's practicality and popularity. His main interest is therefore the systematization of the cerebral side of religion, which is often presented as the unique side or the representative side. The popular side, though majority, is seen as a less interesting anomaly. Consequently, syncretism has often been viewed as a doctrinal contradiction. Here, too, we touch on a coincidence of administrative and academic approaches. From a popular point of view, however, the doctrinal concerns of the clergy can also justifiably be seen as a departure from the "normal", i. My. The Practical If these observations are valid, one wonders whether religious scholars could ever have spoken of syncretism without the clergy caring about the phenomenon, just as one might wonder whether syncretism would exist if there were no clergy. By pointing out the subjective side of objectively intended definitions, I do not wish to criticize subjectivism. My only intention is to show that perfect objectivity is impossible. To make my own subjectivity clearer, I will return to this issue in the epilogue.

5. Syncretism and Power An almost decisive factor that determines a religion's response to syncretism (in the objective sense) is the concept of truth that is dominant in that religion. In contact situations, claims of exclusivity will lead to accusations of syncretism (in the negative subjective sense) as a necessary supplement. Claims of exclusivity are often held by a class of religious specialists who, with more or less success, monopolize the definition of truth and spend much time trying to resolve possible contradictions and contradictions (Bourdieu 1971). If, as is so often the case, a popular religion manages to keep up with the official religion, this is a symptom.

5. Syncretism and power


from the power of the clergy, who are less effective in maintaining exclusive access to the production of religion. Of course, there are also situations in which the opposite is true: a conservative layman can thwart all efforts by progressive clergymen to facilitate access for laypeople to religious production. The attitude of the clergy is almost always justified "in the name of truth", out of love and respect for it, treating it as a separate court of appeal as if it were ultimately revealed meaning. However, this disinterested attitude of the clergy does not exclude the existence of power relations. If power is defined as the ability to influence other people's behavior, syncretism has a power dimension. In its negative subjective form it presupposes an asymmetrical relationship. The clergy can legitimize their own power religiously. In addition, the power of secular authorities can also be based on religion. In return, the religious elite can receive secular help in the fight against all those who produce religion in their own way, without the consent of the clergy and in contradiction to official religion. As Baird noted, syncretists rarely call themselves by that name. The syncretists are always the others. They can be lay people, but also members of the lower clergy. When the social context includes cultural plurality, the power struggle can be fought not only between clergy and laity or between high and low clergy, but between different cultures. Official religion, whether imported or native, almost always acts as the dominant cultural factor. Contact situations often lead to conflicts. In this case, too, the religious debate about syncretism is not only of a religious nature. The symbols used in syncretism can represent the suffering people are experiencing at that moment. Syncretism can thus be seen as an expression of protest against, for example, ecclesiastical and secular authorities. It is interesting that the difficulty inherent in the concept of syncretism, viz. what has a pejorative connotation is also present in two other terms used by religious elites to oppose unauthorized religious production: magic and cult. Thus, power relations indirectly influence the vocabulary used in religious studies. It is all the more astonishing that this dimension of power often goes unnoticed in religious studies. However, terms such as syncretism, magic, and sect are used to denote what is popular, i.e., popular. H. lower class religion. It is ironic that the Old Testament struggles against the syncretism that coincided with the spread of a central and political cult


Chapter 9. Syncretism

Unity, indirectly through Christian theology, has nurtured academic interest in the phenomenon of syncretism. Even more ironically, phenomenologists of religion essentially think like syncretists: they compare religions and emphasize similarities over differences. In this sense, these religious scholars stand much closer to the popular masses of religious traditions than to the religious elites, which most of them have chosen to study. At the other extreme, when we look at the attitude of religious traditions towards truth and syncretism, we find religions that accept that there are multiple ways of knowing truth. This type of religion may not even have a term comparable to syncretism. Instead, you can use a term absent from religions with a negative view of syncretism, the meaning of which is the opposite of the negative subjective definition. Contradictions can be celebrated and cultivated as paradoxes. Other religions are not seen as competitors but as welcome and legitimate paths to holiness and salvation. The contrast is not between true and false, but between good, better and better. The absence of a rigid, exclusively doctrinal orthodoxy can be accompanied by a practical interest closely related to that of popular religion. Syncretism in the negative sense is simply not a problem. Arguing that power is a dimension of syncretism is one thing; the interpretation of power relations is another. Several models have been proposed within the social sciences. Two categories of models are discussed in this section. Without going into too much detail, one could say that a first category, composed of functionalist models, interprets power processes in such a way that they ultimately tend towards a relative equilibrium situation. Cohesion is normal, because society cannot survive without order. When tensions arise, a complicated process of give and take leads to a new phase of order. A functionalist interpretation of syncretism will emphasize its function as a means of overcoming ethnic or cultural contradictions and as a new synthesis that will serve as the basis for cohesion. It should be remembered that one of the options in defining syncretism was the emphasis on cohesion as something normal. The functionalist preference is clearly at this pole. This emphasizes the role of syncretism as a new synthesis in nation building. It guarantees a new national identity for a new social context. In the second category, consisting of (neo-)Marxist models, the story is told differently. Not cohesion, but conflict is seen as

6. The symbolic dimension of syncretism


normal. Syncretism, then, is not a useful mechanism of operation in the transition to a new order that represents a new compromise between opposing powers. Rather, as a contradiction, it is an expression of conflicting interests, including protest against ruling religious and secular power. As a synthesis, syncretism is interpreted as an instrument of oppression that creates a false unity and obscures social conflict.

6. The symbolic dimension of syncretism Although the question of power is not directly commented on, a third category of social scientific models is relevant to the debate on syncretism. In these models, the human being as the creator of meaning takes a central place (Crick 1976). In particular, in the field of symbolic anthropology, ideas applicable to the study of syncretism have been developed. Syncretism can be seen as a way in which people play, albeit seriously, with symbols and meanings and the patterns in which those symbols are arranged. Of course, the interest in meaning is not new to the study of syncretism, as we have seen in Van der Leeuw's concept of 'displacement' (transposition) and in Pye's use of the word ambiguity. Much work can still be done inspired by this third category of models. A first application relates to speaking of syncretism as borrowing of elements. This suggests that the Elements are the basic units in a process of syncretism and that the only change that occurs is displacement to a different religious context. However, one has to ask what people do with objects, what these objects mean to them, and whether these objects are in fact disjointed, self-contained entities. The borrowed elements in question are symbols or groups of symbols. People can change these symbols or give them different meanings. You can integrate them into a new context, into a different pattern. Just the new position within this pattern can already change the meaning of the symbol and the pattern, as is the case when changing a tile. Sometimes the similarity of symbols, meanings, or patterns between two religions leads to changes that could be described as syncretic. So, in general, it involves more than just borrowing items (Ortiz 1975). Research into symbols can shed light on the dynamics of syncretic religious change (Droogers 1981). Because the symbols, meanings and patterns


Chapter 9. Syncretism

The terns need not all change at the same time, an almost infinite number of possible transformations can occur. The "multi-quality" (Turner 1969a: 8) of the symbols contributes to this diversity. The terms used by various authors when denoting phases of the syncretic process or the results of this process (the whole range from merging to dissolution) can be seen as characterizations of the emerging symbolic patterns. The shift in meaning is prominent in contact situations almost by definition. The recipient of a message does not necessarily understand that message in the way the person sending it wants to be understood. This can only be the beginning of syncretism. Since communication between cultures and religions takes place in the context of duplicate sets of symbols, patterns and meanings, reinterpretations, misunderstandings and distortions are more likely. Symbolic changes can be better understood when examined in a social context. As we argued above, this involves power relations. Of particular interest for the study of syncretism is the approach proposed by Turner (1969b). It has shown how important the fringes of society can be for its renewal, especially since hierarchical relationships are less pronounced there. The same thing happens when society goes through a marginal phase. The founders of the world religions demonstrably assumed such marginal situations (Droogers 1980). Due to the temporary or structural relativization of the centralized hierarchy, the founding of religions can show syncretic traits. Other contributions have been made around the relationship between symbolic systems and power relations. Bourdieu (1971), modifying Weber, shows how the introduction of a division of labor in the production of religion and changes in this division affect the nature of that religion. Bax coined the term "religious regime" to refer to dependent relationships legitimized by a class of religious specialists (1987). Willemier Westra has studied the syncretic religion of Candomblé in Brazil and shown how priests manipulate symbolic paradoxes to maintain power relations (1987). We also need to be aware that contact situations have their own dynamics. As we have seen, they can be marked by crises. Syncretism can then be created based on the needs of the people in that situation. This can lead to something entirely new, unlike any aspect of the religions involved. Again, borrowing items is an underestimate of what is happening. In the light of symbolic anthropology, the distinction between conscious and unconscious

7. Conclusion


deliberate syncretism does not seem correct. If all people are creators of meaning, the question must be asked to what extent this ability is used, when and how. Even by reproducing traditional symbol systems, people can change meanings. The binary distinction between conscious and unconscious is too simple to represent the full range of possibilities. Consequently, the distinction between a large and a small tradition does not make sense. It can take on a pejorative connotation and reinforces the clerical perspective.

7. Conclusion In this article I have summarized the contributions that religious scholars have made to the syncretism debate. I have explicitly listed the most important decisions to be made when defining syncretism. Some of these options have reappeared in later sections of this document. The influence of a negative subjective approach on supposedly objective definitions was traced. I have placed syncretism in a broader social and cultural context and argued that asymmetric power relations are essential to understanding syncretism. The advantages of a symbolic approach were presented. I have advocated for students of religion to avoid a one-sided clerical perspective. Whether transposition, alienation, ambiguity, contradiction, or crossing is the key concept for analyzing syncretism, there is always the possibility that it coincides with spiritual focuses and interests. Syncretism is rarely viewed from the perspective of the "syncretists" themselves. Furthermore, and more importantly, it has often gone unnoticed that divergence, contradiction, etc., are not the essence of syncretism, but the refutation of that divergence by an orthodox clergy, without which syncretism would not exist at all, does not even exist as a concept . It is only when power relations are included in the analysis that this basic feature of syncretism is discovered. With the possible exception of Pye (1971:92-93) and Rudolph (1979:208), no definition of syncretism mentions this aspect. However, this is the real problem both in the origin of the term and in its current content. That many religious scholars have failed to see this is a consequence of the clerical perspective they have often implicitly taken. Changing the definition from subjective negative syncretism (an illegitimate mixture of religions) to objective syncretism (e.g. the coexistence of alien elements with each other) has not been sufficient to capture the essence of syncretism. The role of the clergy in this phenomenon has remained invisible throughout. However, theologically and spiritually


Chapter 9. Syncretism

The views are part of the field to be examined. Only when the dimension of power is included in the approach taken can a fuller vision of syncretism be obtained. All of this tells us that the study of religions is more influenced by the religions it studies than one might wish or expect. Therefore, we propose that the definition of syncretism should include the element of challenge. The seemingly irreconcilable objective and subjective options are not the only alternatives. Syncretism is, first of all, a questioned religious penetration. However, such a definition is still closer to the subjective than to the objective definition. The latter is much broader and includes religious mixtures that need not be the subject of controversy and may even go unnoticed. This is when the outcome does not interfere with established clerical religion. Syncretism, then, can be defined as religious interpenetration that is either taken for granted or a subject of debate. This also implies that some questions may be taken for granted by others, which the former may, but need not, disagree with. Although not elegant as a definition, due to its inclusion of contrasting features it has the advantage of bringing together and going beyond the objective and subjective types of definition, emphasizing the controversial nature of many syncretisms. The expression reflects the ambiguity caused by the ruse of the term. In this sense, reviewing the demarcation problem helped us define the problem. The definition and approach we propose have consequences for our research. In examining concrete cases of syncretism, we should ask ourselves to what extent and by whom the religious penetration under study is being questioned. The symbolic mechanisms must be analyzed. Changes in symbols, meanings and patterns need to be examined in the broader cultural and social context, including power structures. The position that the authors of these changes and their critics take in society must be included in the investigation. Particular attention should be paid to the relationship between the symbolic and social structures. How do they influence each other? What role does (fighting against) syncretism play in maintaining or undermining social boundaries? Are there spontaneous forms of syncretism that are not discussed and are acceptable to all? In examining the place of syncretism in dialogue, the more general questions formulated in the previous paragraph must recur. The fear of syncretism deserves more attention as it can hinder interfaith contacts. The inconspicuousness of some forms of syncretism, on the other hand, can facilitate dialogue. The dialogue can be seen

8. Epilogue


as a process involving the meaning-makers of two or more symbolic systems. Another question to be asked is: To what extent do power relations within religious traditions influence dialogue and possible allegations of syncretism? Who represents a religion in dialogue? Is there lay participation? Is syncretism an issue in the discussion and do the so-called syncretists participate in the dialogue?

8. Epilogue In conclusion, I must ask myself how objectively or subjectively I have discussed the objective and subjective definitions of syncretism and suggested a way out of this dilemma. I have been able to discover subjective elements in the objective approach. But have I escaped subjectivism myself? It's better to be consciously subjective than seemingly objective. Some stages in the course of an investigation tend to be more susceptible to subjectivity than others, I think. While the choice of subject and the choice to write for a particular audience is a matter of individual motives, data collection needs to be more objective and open to scrutiny by others. However, the choice of a theoretical model is subjective rather than objective. Hence, one might expect an option for one of the three types of social science models (functionalist, Marxist, symbolic) that I have discussed in the previous sections. However, I propose that all three be used for what they primarily are: heuristic tools that can open our eyes to hidden aspects of syncretism (cf. Droogers 1985). The models can sometimes contradict each other, as is clearly the case with the functionalist and Marxist models, each representing opposing ideologies. However, social reality connects cohesion and conflict in a dialectical way. In this context, including power relations, man acts as a maker of meaning, trying to understand both order and contradiction, both on a social and symbolic level. The right to meaning-making can be at stake, as in the conflict between the clergy and the masses. Thus, all three models fit together, although their proponents would condemn this approach as eclecticism or even scientific syncretism. But even as I defend this eclectic position, I have chosen to rehabilitate the laity in religious matters. Your religion is so important


Chapter 9. Syncretism

as important a field for the study of religion as the religion taught (Kamstra 1984). Despite the official clerical dominance documented by religious scholars, the laity are active creators of meaning. The involvement of lay people in possible inter-religious dialogue should be encouraged as they can represent the hidden face of a religion. The clergy of a religion should not monopolize dialogue. This also means that the inter-clerical dialogue is only part of the possible encounter between religions. A different dialogue should be encouraged at the level of ordinary believers. Since syncretism creates everyday life rather than fun, this dialogue is perhaps even more promising than the "official". When Christian organizations like the World Council of Churches champion the interests of the voiceless, this should also be effective on issues of dialogue and make the voiceless spokespersons. I have distanced myself from a negative subjective definition. I tried to rehabilitate popular piety and syncretism. I also advocated dialogue. As a Christian, however, I must admit that the problem of the limits of syncretism is real. For this reason, the controversial element has also been retained in the definition. However, I would not unilaterally emphasize doctrinal boundaries. In view of the current world problems, practical questions in the dialogue seem to be more important. Here, too, the so-called syncretists are often on more familiar territory than their clergy.

References Baird, Robert D. (1971). Category formation and religious history. The Hague and Paris: Mouton. Bax, Mart (1987). Religious regimes and state formation: Towards a research perspective. Anthropological Quarterly, 60, 1-11 Berner, U. Heuristic Model of Syncretism Research (until August 1977). In: Gernot Wiessner (ed.) (1978). The study of syncretism: theory and practice. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, pp. 11-26 Berner U. (1978). The "syncretism model" as an instrument of a historical phenomenology of religion. In: Gernot Wiessner (ed.) (1978). The study of syncretism: theory and practice. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, pp. 27-37 Bourdieu, Pierre (1971). Genesis and structure of the religious field. Revue FranÅaise de Sociologie, 12, 295 – 334. Colpe, Carsten (1975a). Syncretism, Renaissance: Secularization and Reform of Religions in the Present. In: Jens Peter Asmussen, Jørgen



Lassøe and Carsten Colpe (eds.) (1975). Handbook of the History of Religions. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, pp. 441-523 Colpe, Carsten (1975b). The reconciliation of the historical and structural determinations of syncretism. In: Albert Dietrich (ed.) (1975). Syncretism in the Syro-Persian cultural area: report on a symposium in Reinhausen near Göttingen from 4.-8. October 1971. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, pp. 17-30 Colpe, Carsten (1977). Syncretism and Secularization: Complementary and Antithetical Tendencies in the New Religious Movements. Numen, 17, 158-176 Colpe, Carsten (1979). syncretism. In: Little Pauly, V, pp. 1648 – 1652. Colpe, Carsten (1987). syncretism. In: Mircea Eliade (ed.) (1987). The Encyclopedia of Religion, XIV New York and London: MacMillan, pp. 218-227 Crick, Malcolm (1976). Explorations in Language and Meaning: Towards a Semantic Anthropology. London: Malaby. Droogers, André (1980). Symbols of Marginality in the Biographies of Religious and Secular Innovators: A Comparative Study of the Lives of Jesus, Waldes, Booth, Kimbangu, Buddha, Muhammad, and Marx. Numen, 27(1), 105-121 (Chapter 1 of this book) Droogers, André (1981). syncretism. Theological Studies, 21, 139-150 Droogers, André (1985). From waste production to recycling: a plea for an eclectic use of models in the study of religious change. In: Wim van Binsbergen and Matthew Schoffeleers (eds.) (1985). Theoretical investigations in African religion. London: KPI, pp. 101-137 Hartman, Sven S. (eds.) (1969). Syncretism: Based on papers read at the Symposium on Cultural Contacts, Meetings of Religions, Syncretism; held in subscription September 8-10, 1966. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell. Kamstra, Jacques H. (1970). Syncretism: Op de grens tussen theologie en godsdienstphenomenologie. Leiden: Great. Kamstra, Jacques H. (1975). The spider web. In: J. Sperna Weiland (ed.) (1975) Answer: Shapes van geloof in de wereld van nu. Amsterdam: Meulenhoff, pp. 175-196. Kamstra, Jacques H. (1984). Een moeilijke keuze: De godsdienst van de gewone man. Nederlands Theologische Tijdschschrift, 38, 253-279. Kamstra, Jacques H. (1985). Religion in Syncretism. In: DJ. Hoens, J.H. Kamstra and DC Mulder (eds.) (1985). Dead interior of the Study of the Services of the Gods. Kampen: Kok, pp. 210-223. Kamstra, Jacques H. (1989). The Religion of Japan: Syncretism or Religious Phenomenalism? In: Jerald Gort, Hendrik Vroom, Rein Fernhout and Anton Wessels (eds.) (1989). Dialogue and syncretism: an interdisciplinary approach. Grand Rapids and Amsterdam: Eerdmans and Rodopi, pages 134 and 145. Kraemer, Hendrik (1937). De wordelen van het syncretisme. 's-Gravenhage: Boekencentrum. Kramer, Henrik (1938). The Christian Message in the Non-Christian World. London: Edinburgh House Press. Kramer, Henrik (1956). Religion and Christian Faith. London: Lutterworth Press.


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Kramer, Henrik (1962). Syncretism, II: Within the mission's area of ​​effect. Religion Past and Present: A Handbook of Theology and Religious Studies, VI. Tübingen: Mohr, pp. 567-568 Leeuw, G. van der (1956). phenomenology of religion. Tubingen: Mohr. Mulder, DC (1986). "No other god" - "No other name". The Ecumenical Review, 38, 209-215 Pannenberg, Wolfhart (1970). Basic Questions of Theology, II London: SCM. Pye, Michael (1971). Syncretism and ambiguity. Numen, 18, 83-93 Ortiz, Renato (1975). They syncrétisme à la synthesis: Umbanda, a Brésilienne religion. Archives de Sciences Sociales des Religions, 40, 89-97 Ringgren, Helmer (1969). The problems of syncretism. In: Sven S. Hartmann (ed.) (1969). Syncretism: Based on papers read at the Symposium on Cultural Contacts, Meetings of Religions, Syncretism; held in subscription September 8-10, 1966. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell, pp. 7-14 Rudolf, Kurt (1979). The syncretism of theological criticism of scientific-religious concepts. In: Humanitas Religiosa: Festschrift for Harald Biezai's 70th birthday. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell, p. 193 – 212. Sperna Weiland, J. (ed.) (1975). Answer: Shapes van geloof in de wereld van nu. Amsterdam: Meulenhof. Thils, Gustave (1967). Syncretism or Catholicism. Tournai: Castermann. Thomas, M.M. (1985). The Absolute Character of Jesus Christ and Christocentric Syncretism. The Ecumenical Review, 37, 387-397 Turner, Victor W. (1969a). Forms of symbolic action: introduction. In: Robert F. Spencer (ed.) (1969). Forms of symbolic action: Proceedings of the Spring 1969 Annual Meeting of the American Ethnological Society. Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, pp. 3-25. Turner, Victor W. (1969b). The ritual process: structure and antistructure. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, Visser't Hooft, WA (1963). Without Another Name: The Choice Between Syncretism and Christian Universalism. London: SCM. Wiessner, Gernot (ed.) (1978). The study of syncretism: theory and practice. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz. Willemier Westra, Allard Dirk (1987). Axe, kracht om te leven: Het gebruik van icons bij de hulpverlening in de Candombl-religie in Alagoinhas (Bahia, Brazili). Amsterdam: CEDLA.

Chapter 10 Comparing Syncretists, Fundamentalists, and Scholars 1. Introduction A definition of syncretism is sometimes used that broadly and generally extends the field of common religious penetration to forms of cultural blending (e.g., Adogame et al. 2008). The term is thus given meanings similar to creolization (e.g. Hannerz 1992: 264 ff.) or hybridization (e.g. Canclini 1995). The advantage of such a broad approach to syncretism is that it can be shown that processes in the religious domain that mix elements from different sources can also be found in other domains. Mixing is not the exclusive privilege of religions. Broad concepts make similarities visible. The downside is that a broader concept is always less precise when used for descriptive, classifying, or analytical purposes: the specifics of a particular area, such as B. Religion, become less relevant. Solace can be found in the relativism inherent in the art of defining phenomena. As long as the map of the different options is legible for all, any definition of syncretism, whether narrow or wide, contributes to the assessment of the area covered. In this article, I will focus on a specific field of cultural syncretism, namely religious syncretism. However, my treatment of religious syncretism involves a threefold expansion. First, I will introduce a comparison between syncretism and fundamentalism, looking specifically for the differences. Second, I will compare believers and scholars, focusing on similarities in spirit. Third, in passing, I will explore the relevance of my approach to religious syncretism to the study of cultural syncretism. The article begins with a rationale for the comparisons I made. I then briefly discuss the concepts of syncretism and fundamentalism, which I will later use as a basis for comparing the two phenomena. A three-dimensional model is presented to deepen the mechanisms of power in syncretism and fundamentalism. In the following section I apply the model to syncretism.


Chapter 10. Comparison of Syncretists, Fundamentalists and Scholars

and fundamentalism. In the final section, I compare the moods behind syncretism and constructivism, or fundamentalism and positivism.

2. Inappropriate comparisons? A preliminary remark must be made on the first comparison, that between syncretism and fundamentalism. A comparison between syncretism and fundamentalism may seem inappropriate or even impossible, since syncretism and fundamentalism are not really comparable. Although both terms are part of the vocabulary of the religion student, they are rarely related to each other. Am I comparing apples and pears? Much depends on the characteristics driving the comparison. Although syncretism and fundamentalism are much older than the modernization and globalization processes, both can be seen as opposite reactions to these processes in the current world situation, which is my main reason for including fundamentalism in the syncretism debate. If I focus on syncretism and fundamentalism as different forms of religious reflection on globalization, there is sufficient basis for comparison. By contrasting the positions taken, such a comparison can sharpen our understanding of each of the two phenomena. These two modes of religious construction and reproduction make very different uses of the same religious repertoires. When religions with many centuries of history and tradition are exposed to processes as recent as modernization and globalization, one might wonder what is happening to them and how tradition and innovation are related. What if these processes place believers and their religions in a global media and information market that grows with migration, where competition and expansion are organizing principles? Syncretists and fundamentalists make opposite choices when confronted with alternatives and challenges to the accepted beliefs and practices of everyday life: the former seem to embrace the new with enthusiasm, while the latter seem to question it. In both cases, as I will show, the dimension of power and control is an important aspect of the comparison between syncretism and fundamentalism. The framework for comparing these two forms of religiousness is therefore a three-dimensional model of the power relations that exist and are used in each religious context

2. Inappropriate comparisons?


strategically by the participants in this religious setting. The three-dimensional model allows me to take stock of internal and external factors that may play a role in the rise of fundamentalism or syncretism, without losing sight of the specific nature of religious practice. Syncretism and fundamentalism as opposite forms of using religious repertoires express and have implications for power relations. The three-dimensional model can also help us understand the conditions under which each of the two phenomena can thrive or change. An assessment of the role of fundamentalism and syncretism in the current cultural context of globalization points to a perhaps unexpected and seemingly inappropriate parallel to the paradigmatic scholarly debate between positivist and constructivist approaches. This refers to the second possibility of broadening my horizons by including the comparison of competing scientific paradigms in my reasoning. I will argue that there are striking similarities between fundamentalists and positivists on the one hand, and between syncretists and constructivists on the other. Obviously, both positivism and constructivism can be applied to the academic study of fundamentalism and syncretism, but what is more important here is that, as specific forms of reflection, they share striking similarities with the worldviews being studied. This may seem like a stretch: where syncretism and fundamentalism might already be considered incommensurable and too different to be compared, this would be even more the case for a comparison between syncretism and fundamentalism, which places more emphasis on similarity than on obvious differences is laid on the one hand and fundamentalism and positivism on the other. Religion and science are commonly viewed as opposing institutions and sometimes appear to be at war with each other. Especially secular scholars will disapprove of any comparison between science and religion, at least when common elements are discovered; the differences are quite obvious to them. Commonalities have often been overlooked, a blind spot explored in this article. In conclusion, I would like to suggest that both syncretism and fundamentalism, albeit with opposite results, are creative ways of being religious in changing circumstances. Specifically, I would like to contribute to the discussion of the question of the power constellations under which these phenomena occur. In addition, I hope to contribute to the debate about the relationship between science and religion by exploring a side that has remained little revealed: the shared mindset of believers and academics. Another offshoot of


Chapter 10. Comparison of Syncretists, Fundamentalists and Scholars

This discussion aims to show the relevance of this argument to the study of cultural syncretism.

3. Definition of Syncretism and Fundamentalism Various efforts have been made to define syncretism and fundamentalism. Depending on the discipline, theoretical preference and selected illustrative example, the two phenomena were defined differently. The usual difficulties that accompany any effort to define a term have led to predictable proposals such as: B. distinguishing between different types of syncretism or fundamentalism, sometimes in the plural (Lawrence 1998, Marty and Appleby 1991), or abandoning the term altogether (Baird 1971). : 142-52). Another recommendation was to emphasize the dynamic nature of these phenomena and to avoid any definition that simply represents a fact. Regarding syncretism, my own contribution to the debate has been influenced by my vision as an anthropologist with a particular interest in religion as a means of making meaning in a cultural context shaped by mechanisms of power. In a 1989 interdisciplinary anthology edited under the auspices of my university's Department of Religious Studies (Gort, 1989), I defined syncretism as "religious interpenetration, either taken for granted or the subject of debate" (Droogers 1989:20, 21). ) and suggested that the power aspect should play a prominent role in the study of syncretism (Droogers 1989:16-18; see also Greenfield and Droogers 2001). Other anthropologists have also emphasized the importance of the political dimension (e.g. Stewart and Shaw 1994). In preparation for my attempt to compare syncretism and fundamentalism, I will use family resemblances to briefly discuss the defining characteristics that might be included in describing the two phenomena.

Fundamentalism I'll start with fundamentalism. Although it originated as an emic term in American Protestantism, it has been recognized in other world religions. An often mentioned commonality is that it is a critical reaction to the modernization process. I view modernization as the process by which the results of science and technology influence the shaping of societies. Fundamentalists often take an anti-modernist stance,

3. Definition of syncretism and fundamentalism


This does not prevent them from using the technological means of communication and transport that modernization has made available in abundance in the most remote corners of the world. In the anti-modernism of fundamentalism, social and moral aspects predominate. In general, the new is interpreted from the perspective of the old. It does so in such a way that people are unaware of the innovation and modernity implied by the fundamentalist position, while forgetting the modern challenge to which it is an answer. Through globalization, the process by which the world is experienced as a place, both modernity and fundamentalism have become part of the world as we know it today. The media was instrumental in this, especially after 9/11. One could even say that the media and politicians have taken the definition of fundamentalism from academia and developed their own definition with a heavy emphasis on Islam, terrorism and the use of force, to the point where the origin of the Term 'Christian' sometimes seems to be Another characteristic of fundamentalists worth mentioning is their activist, exclusive and assertive attitude. Its anti-modernist program reflects a dualistic mindset that divides the world into two camps. Military metaphors sometimes morph into actual, or at least militant, military activity. In terms of power, charismatic leaders can play a leading role in fundamentalist circles and increase the appeal of the message to their own personalities. In public appearances by fundamentalists, body-related markers such as beards or body-covering clothing can be used to identify followers and increase their visibility. When sacred texts are available, they are often read verbatim as indisputable truth and historical accounts. Religion is conceived in an essentialist form that anthropologists would call. There is also a rather legalistic way of dealing with ethical questions. Finally, a common feature is male dominance, often associated with the literal reading of sacred texts that privilege men in positions of power. In summary, fundamentalism's “family resemblances” are: • Anti-modernist • Assertive, activist • Dualistic, “hostile” thinking • Led by charismatic leaders • Sacred text taken literally and as history


Chapter 10. Comparison of Syncretists, Fundamentalists and Scholars

• Moral conscience, laws • Identity reinforced by external characteristics • Male dominance Now one last question can be asked. Can the term fundamentalism be given a much broader connotation than was the case with syncretism? If the term syncretism lends itself to such an expanded use, could the concept of fundamentalism undergo a parallel expansion? If syncretism, in the broadest sense applicable to all cultures, corresponds to notions such as hybridization and creolization, then fundamentalism would refer to the reverse process, i. My. as a return to essentialist cultural patterns in response to modernist influences, perhaps for political reasons. Giving the concept such new meaning would be reminiscent of the metaphorical use of the term "fundamentalism" when selecting one or more characteristics that might correspond to some of those listed above. Therefore, regional separatist movements could be termed “cultural fundamentalism”. This extension of the term "fundamentalism" may seem less convincing than the extension of the term syncretism, but follows similar lines of argument.

Syncretism Coming now to a brief and incomplete characterization of syncretism, the first aspect that naturally emerges is that elements from different religious sources somehow come together in a new constellation. It can be seen that the degree of intermingling of the elements varies and consequently types of syncretism have been distinguished, where p. Gram. symbiosis forms at one end of the spectrum and complete merging at the other. The two or more religious sources that provide elements for the syncretistic process do not necessarily occupy an equal position. One can be dominant, coloring and redefining elements borrowed from the other religion. Depending on which approach a scholar prefers, and this would fit the definition of cultural syncretism, non-religious elements are seen as part of the process, especially when the religious sphere holistically affects or is affected by other areas of life. A lot seems to happen without reflection, as a natural or better said as a cultural routine process. Consequently, and in contrast to fundamentalists, people who mix different religious elements

3. Definition of syncretism and fundamentalism


The Elements need not do so consciously and would not endorse or propagate their behavior, let alone raise the banner of syncretism or any other term. This is reinforced by the practical impetus of syncretism as a way to solve existential problems. If one religion fails as a problem solver, another can offer compensation. It also means that emergencies, which abound when modernization processes fail to bring prosperity and health, can stimulate people to resort to forms of syncretization. Another aspect that can be mentioned here is that phenomenological or other similarities between religions can promote syncretism. Similarity can facilitate blending, such as when pantheons are structured the same way or when psychic experiences are common to both religions. But similarities not only stimulate syncretism, complementarities can also create an environment for syncretization, e.g. Gram. when one religion helps where the other fails, or when one religion has a strong idea of ​​a supreme God that the other lacks. Another feature worth mentioning is that the actors involved in syncretization are often secular believers, mostly women, who have escaped the control of religious specialists (mostly men). Here the power dimension of syncretism and anti-syncretism becomes visible, both in relation to gender and religious organization. The term "syncretism," whether used by religious leaders or scholars, is a product of the amazing event in which seemingly separate elements of different orders come together. In this sense, scholars and religious leaders are surprised because both think similarly and rather essentialistically and assume as normal that there are more or less closed autonomous systems that are perforated and disturbed by syncretists. While religious leaders denounce this as heresy, scholars take the opportunity to study this unexpected matter out of turn. In summary, syncretism can exhibit all or most of the following characteristics: • Syncretism occurs in response to contacts between religions • Modernization and globalization create opportunities for mingling • Syncretists rarely act consciously • Syncretists focus on everyday life and see religions as problem solvers • Grief, p. Gram. due to modernization encourages shuffling • Similarities make shuffling easier • Complementary differences make shuffling easier


Chapter 10. Comparison of Syncretists, Fundamentalists and Scholars

• Lay people are active, especially women • Religious leadership is critical As with fundamentalism, reference can now be made to the broad definition of syncretism. Which of the defining characteristics just mentioned can be transferred metaphorically or literally from the religious to the broader cultural realm? It seems that there are indeed similarities that make the comparison between religious and cultural syncretism instructive, just as my own, perhaps equally unexpected, comparison between the terms syncretism and fundamentalism is enlightening. However, some features cannot be included in the extension of the religious sphere to the general cultural sphere. In cultural syncretism, contact is not primarily between religions, and the leaders of a society do not necessarily have a say. Another difference may affect the gender dimension, since cultural syncretists are not predominantly women. But the other items on my list also apply to cultural syncretism and can help improve our understanding of hybridization processes.

4. Syncretism and fundamentalism in comparison If we now turn to the comparison of the two processes, it is not possible to return to all the features just mentioned. The two feature lists cannot simply be placed side by side with a clear assignment between each item. Likewise, I do not wish to claim that fundamentalism and syncretism necessarily belong together as two sides of the same coin in all religious situations. Also, my comparison will emphasize the contrasts and omit the common features. When distinguishing between emic and etic usage of the terms, it can be said that both terms were originally used at the emic level long before they became part of academic vocabulary (Droogers 2001). In its older emic meaning, syncretism did not carry the negative connotation that later religious leaders ascribed to it in condemnation. An example is Erasmus of Rotterdam, who recommended syncretism as a positive and productive way to reconcile differences in Christian theology. The more recent emic use of syncretism refers to the vocabulary used by leaders to condemn the blending of Christian and non-Christian elements that is taking place among ordinary believers. Executives often consider this practice impure and offensive, even

4. Syncretism and fundamentalism in comparison


heretical, also because it threatens the clergy's monopoly on the production of religion with regard to the power structure of religion. Consequently, the same leaders can be identified with fundamentalism. However, if tolerance of other religions is a core value of your religion, leaders may be more lenient. This tolerance can change, for example when the leaders of Hinduism, which has long been considered a very tolerant religion, adopt fundamentalist positions in competition with other world religions. Continuing the comparison, one sees that while fundamentalists, particularly certain American Christians, proudly refer to themselves as such, syncretists almost never adopt this particular flag and are often not even aware of the term. Another difference at the emic level is that fundamentalists see the whole world as their stage, while syncretists have a more local perspective. Including the etic level, it has already been observed that both the emic and academic applications of these terms start from a more essentialist assumption. This is the deeper reason why syncretism draws our attention. In the same way, although on the opposite end, fundamentalism's exclusivity has attracted attention because it represented the most overt defense of essentialism in religion. Aside from the emic and etic usage of the terms, the phenomena themselves show some striking differences. An apparent and fundamental contrast between the two processes is that fundamentalists opt for an exclusive religious source with one version and interpretation, while syncretists see no problem in using more sources and feel free to interpret them as they do want, despite orthodox intentions or protective measures. By using a single source, fundamentalists use a limited set of metaphors or even a single key metaphor, which becomes codified and sacrosanct, while syncretists examine the usefulness of many metaphors, particularly when viewed as complementary to one another and effective in practice. carry. Another contrast is that fundamentalists seek institutionalization, while syncretists operate in a much more informal realm. Religious (and sometimes political) authorities officially promote fundamentalism and commonly condemn syncretism. Fundamentalists and syncretists, while popular in their pronouncements and success, differ in their assessment of religious authority. In the long run, syncretists could adopt a form of fundamentalism. When syncretism achieves the status of an official religion, as in some Japanese and Brazilian religions, it can become a single-minded religion and in some even take on fundamentalist traits.


Chapter 10. Comparison of Syncretists, Fundamentalists and Scholars

its manifestations. Likewise, fundamentalism can eventually be eroded by syncretic tendencies. In terms of gender, and in keeping with the distinction between official and popular religion, fundamentalists—including women—accept male dominance, while active syncretists are typically women. Their way of producing religion can serve as a form of unconscious and thoughtless resistance to male dominance. Women can use the exclusive informality of their own religious sector, separate from male dominance, to develop syncretic ideas and practices. Syncretism and fundamentalism can also be compared in terms of repertoire use. By using the repertoire metaphor for the way culture, society and religion are administered and lived, several characteristics of cultural, social and religious processes can be clarified. Like cultures, societies and religions, almost by definition, a repertoire will change and maintain some degree of continuity. Items are added and deleted. Innovation, renaissance and reform can happen. Repertoires contain many latent elements that are activated only when the situation or context calls for it. The cultures, societies and religions of the world bear the traces of this process throughout their history. In the world religions, for example, different schools and movements make their own selections from the general repertoire. In religions that are legitimized by appeal to the sacred, power relations regulate access to repertoires and the right to change or maintain them. Control over repertoires is part of the power play that takes place in any culture, society or religion. Because the repertoires are used contextually, they can contain inconsistencies, particularly in their popular usage, despite the leadership's efforts to maintain a particular logic or system, and despite their possible emphasis on orthodoxy and orthopraxis. The processes of syncretism and fundamentalism can be understood as opposing forms of dealing with cultural and especially religious repertoires in the context of modernization and globalization. While fundamentalists focus centripetally on an exclusive repertoire that opposes threats to the fundamentals, i. My. Principles, syncretists centrifugally use as many repertoires as necessary to solve their existential or practical questions and problems. Both modernization and globalization are processes that expand the range of available repertoires while creating situations where the need for repertoires is stimulated. This leads to centripetal or centrifugal reactions. In summary and more schematically:

5. The three-dimensional model



Ethical term instead of Emic Tolerant More sources, more versions Experimentation with metaphors and metonyms Condemned by religious leaders Barely institutionalized Experimentation with many repertoires

Ethical and emic term Intolerant One source, one version Coding a central metaphor Hailed by religious leaders Institutionalized Loyal to a repertoire


5. The three-dimensional model The three-dimensional model presented here focuses on power and can therefore be helpful in understanding the mechanisms of power at work in both syncretism and fundamentalism. The three dimensions that are distinguished are the outer, inner and supernatural dimensions. In each of these dimensions, categories of actors involved in power relations can be distinguished. Depending on their relationship, the modes of religious construction differ. In schematic form, the model looks like this: DIMENSION


religious build mode


Believers / Believers Lay Believers / Religious Specialists

Horizontal vs. Vertical


hostile vs. Tolerant Believers / Unbelieving Believers / Believers of Other Worldviews

SUPERNATURAL BELIEVERS / God, gods, spirits, saints

manipulative vs. submissive

In this model, I bring together the power relations that prevail at the three levels of the religious group: the inner, the outer, and the supernatural or transcendent. The entities to which the model can be applied can be as small as an African clan or a cell group in a local Pentecostal church, or as large as the Muslim Brotherhood or the worldwide Catholic Church. While the external and internal levels mainly refer to the


Chapter 10. Comparison of Syncretists, Fundamentalists and Scholars

social-structural aspects, the supernatural dimension is more of a cultural nature or, in particular, reflects the religious world view. By power I mean the ability to influence the behavior of other people. Internally there are power relations between believers, but also and more visibly between religious leaders and lay people. On the external level, there is a balance of power between believers on the one hand and non-believers on the other, or perhaps more importantly, believers of other religious denominations. On the supernatural level there is a power relationship between believers and their God, gods, spirits and whatever other forms the sacred may take. In general, the behavioral, reflective, and perceptual repertoires built and activated at each of the three levels are interconnected and mutually influence each other. Having defined the three levels, I would now like to point out that the balance of power at each of the three levels moves along a spectrum between extremes and can change over time and on a case-by-case basis. So when there is a clear leader internally, his position can be strong and influence the thinking and behavior of ordinary believers. In other cases, at the other end of the spectrum, there may be a preference for more horizontal relationships between members, but also between leaders and members. Changes can occur over time, as is the case with reforms. Within the inner dimension one could distinguish between the poles of a vertical, hierarchical mode and a horizontal, inclusive mode of power relations and religious construction, with many variations in between. On the external dimension, power relations can take the form of efforts to influence the behavior of strangers, for example by converting them or imposing ethical rules. Christianity and Islam, for example, have become known throughout history for their proselytizing and legislative influence. At the other end of the spectrum, this trend can be completely absent. On the contrary, believers can easily adopt values ​​and patterns of behavior that are normal in the society around them, effectively reversing the direction of the mechanisms of power. Liberal Protestants and Reform Jews, for example, have sought ways to reconcile religion and science. Consequently, at this level we can distinguish between an exclusive or even hostile pole and an inclusive and tolerant pole. In the course of their history, religious groups can move from tolerance to intolerance and all positions in between (cf. eg Yinger 1970: 256 ff).

6. Power relations in fundamentalism and syncretism


Power relations are also expressed on the transcendental or supernatural level, even if believers do not like to believe that their religious experience implies power or prefer to see power one-sidedly as a glorification of the power of their god. In terms of influencing the behavior of others, believers accept and can submit to the influence of the sacred in their lives. On the other hand, believers may seek to partake of the power of the Holy and to manipulate the Holy to their advantage. Religions know all forms of sacrifice and prayer. One of the possible meanings of the term "magic" indicates the manipulation of sacred power for the purposes of the believer. We can label the poles of the spectrum of power relations at this level as submissive and manipulative respectively. Again, over time and depending on the context in which they find themselves, believers may change their views of the sacred and move along the spectrum.

6. Power relations in fundamentalism and syncretism The three-dimensional model can now be applied to the phenomena fundamentalism and syncretism to be compared. The model is useful when considering under which power relations the conditions for syncretism or fundamentalism are favorable. Although the model does not take into account all factors that may be relevant, it can show under which religious constructions fundamentalism or syncretism can occur. If we look at fundamentalism in this way, it seems to me that, in view of its characteristics summarized above, it generally goes hand in hand with an emphasis on the inner dimension of vertical and hierarchical power relations, with a clergy there to protect the fundamentalist legacy . Because of the emphasis on the purity of their teaching and practice, a vertical structure that guarantees discipline is implied and even necessary. Looking at the external dimension, fundamentalists, as a result of their exclusive perception of truth, protect the boundaries of their group and adopt a rather hostile attitude towards non-believers and believers in other religious expressions. Although methods may vary, the rest of the world is destined to adopt the fundamentalist core position. At the supernatural level, the fundamentalist position seems to lean towards a subservient rather than a manipulative position. The rigor of the position coincides with a vision of the sacred as dominant that demands total devotion in all areas.


Chapter 10. Comparison of Syncretists, Fundamentalists and Scholars

of life. It should be noted that the forms of religious production adopted at the three levels are mutually reinforcing, thus forming in this case a triangle whose vertices are vertical, hostile and subservient forms of religious construction. As for syncretism, it works best in the inner dimension when believers can escape the control of religious leaders or when such control is simply absent due to more horizontal power relations. One might even think of the rare case of leaders promoting a mixture of elements from a variety of religions. On the external level, syncretism is naturally open to external influences and therefore adopts an open and tolerant attitude towards other believers and their religions. Returning to the supernatural level, the practical approach of the syncretists indicates a manipulative rather than subservient attitude. While recognizing the power of the sacred, it is precisely because of this that it is a potential resource for solving problems. As other religious sources are adopted, the number of sacred powers available for such use increases. Again, the constellation of positions and attitudes on all three levels can serve to strengthen the end result. In this case, the triangle consists of the corners of horizontal, tolerant and manipulative religious constructions. Thinking about the broader view of syncretism, one may wonder what the three-dimensional model has to offer those interested in the broader definition of syncretism, particularly in understanding cultural hybridization. The model was developed for the study of religious groups (e.g. Droogers 2003), but some of its components can stimulate an understanding of cultural syncretism (or, for that matter, cultural fundamentalism, if that term is meant to be included). The vocabulary). The supernatural dimension of the religious realm could be rephrased as a cultural dimension encompassing repertoires of values ​​and broader beliefs; the other two dimensions contain repertoires of a social nature that govern the internal and external relationships of a group or society. The degree of cultural syncretism - or the resistance to such syncretism - could be examined as a constellation of the three dimensions and the interaction between the repertoires characteristic of each. Although this does not result in triangles as orderly as those suggested above, the blending of cultural elements may turn out to obey mechanisms similar to those predicted by religious syncretism or religious fundamentalism.

7. Positivism and fundamentalism, constructivism and syncretism


7. Positivism and Fundamentalism, Constructivism and Syncretism To conclude this exercise, let us now examine the possible similarities between fundamentalism and positivism on the one hand and syncretism and constructivism on the other. First, the two ways of doing science should be discussed. Following Guba (1990), a distinction can be made between paradigms – paradigms defined as “a basic set of beliefs that guide action” (Guba 1990: 17) that determine scientific action. Although Guba mentions four, for the purposes of this article I will confine myself to the two extreme types, the positivist and constructivist paradigms, and omit from this discussion what he calls the post-positivist approach and critical theory. The positivist position, as summarized by Guba (1990:20), presupposes a law-driven reality. The task of the scientist is to discover these laws and to produce generalizations. Many of these laws relate to cause and effect relationships. There is only one reality and only one main story. In addition, the researcher should not interfere with the reality under study: his preferences or values ​​should not influence the result. The positivist methodology requires empirically testable hypotheses maintained under carefully controlled conditions. Science is the prime example of this paradigm. At the other end of the spectrum, the constructivist position adopts an ontology that presupposes the existence of more realities than multiple mental constructions devised by scientists of different persuasions. There are fragments of stories that can be told across an unlimited number of realities. These realities are social and experiential, local and specific, and depend in their form and content on the person who possesses them. The findings arise in the interaction between researchers and those being researched, but also in the debate between researchers. Consequently, the method used is dialectical and hermeneutic. In this science model, there is no ambition to reach “the” scientific truth, or at least it is put into perspective. Constructivists emphasize that the study of man requires its own scientific model. Following the positivist tradition, fundamentalism and syncretism are examined for their objective general characteristics, the kind of aspects that would help define the phenomenon. In view of the regularity of social reality, it is considered possible


Chapter 10. Comparison of Syncretists, Fundamentalists and Scholars

make general predictions about the conditions under which fundamentalism and syncretism arise. Whether it is, for example, Christian, Muslim or Jewish fundamentalism, common characteristics and mechanisms are sought. Causes and consequences can be identified and general structures can be made visible. In fact, my three-dimensional model serves exactly this purpose: my claims can be tested as hypotheses for research. I have attempted to isolate a limited number of factors, particularly those related to power constellation. On the other hand, if we followed a constructivist interaction approach, the focus would shift from the conditions defined by a positivist approach to what syncretic or fundamentalist actors do with those conditions and how each of them constructs their reality and religious identity. . By interacting with the people being studied, the researcher will try to get as close as possible to this process of constructing a meaningful world. But at the same time, the researcher also builds a meaningful world. In both cases, the social and experiential basis for the construction of these identities and worlds depends on the consensus that can be reached about a particular point of view. The proposal to speak of fundamentalisms in the plural is an example of the recognition of the variety of forms and ultimately the plurality of experienced and constructed realities. By using the three-dimensional model to draw attention to the mechanisms of power at work in syncretism and fundamentalism, I brought the actors and their strategies into the discussion, not only those of the religious leaders, but also those of the simple believers. Depending on the chosen scientific paradigm, a different picture of the investigated phenomena emerges and different aspects are selected as typical. In addition, the two models differ significantly in the degree of generalization. They also differ in how they deal with variables, the positivist model attempts to control them, the constructivist approach treats them as raw material for the ongoing process of identity and reality construction. The positivist paradigm will help to visualize the structural data of the mechanisms of power, while the constructivist approach will show the processes by which the actors do something with these structures. The positivists emphasize the rules and generalities, the constructivists the exceptions and particularities. After comparing the two perspectives and their application to the study of syncretism and fundamentalism, it seems to me that something more can be said about the scientific models and the two religious phenomena that concern us here. Guba's definition of a paradigm, quoted above,

7. Positivism and fundamentalism, constructivism and syncretism


with its explicit reference to action-guiding beliefs, it seems to facilitate such a comparison. Between positivism and fundamentalism on the one hand, and between syncretism and constructivism on the other, there seems to be a certain affinity in the way of reflection or attitude. If we assume as an important difference between positivists and constructivists that the term "reality" is used in both the singular and the plural, then there is a parallel to the fundamentalist approach in an exclusive form of sacred reality, while the syncretists have no qualms about to work with various forms of that reality, despite the official versions condemning or denying notions about it. Of course, syncretists can view this religious plurality as a holistic cosmos in which they have learned to navigate skillfully. But holistic vision or not, the least that can be said is that syncretists reject an exclusive vision of sacred reality. They are thus defying the power structure that accompanies such a unique vision, fundamentalist or not. The positivist belief system assumes a reality "out there" for granted, just as the fundamentalist belief system assumes the only sacred reality about which there is only one "big" story to tell. Incidentally, in the positivist vision, one is not allowed to interfere with this reality while it is being examined. For both fundamentalist believers and positivist scholars, laws and rules determine the reality on which they focus. The constructivist paradigm opts for realities in the plural, even questioning whether those realities are really "out there." Many different versions of stories can be told about these realities. There is a difference, however: syncretists believe in their realities more than constructivists believe in theirs. They believe in the realities that other religions suggest, at least while working to solve problems. Syncretists play with different realities in forming their religious identities. Any regularities or causalities that arise are used flexibly and practically spontaneously. Finally, just as fundamentalists and syncretists have different backgrounds when it comes to power processes and mechanisms, academics can be said to play different power games in the way they practice science. Fundamentalists and positivists try to impose a rather monopolistic, centripetal, law-based and strict worldview. Both are modernists in their own way. Syncretists and constructivists seem to oppose this view. They adopt a mode of reflection that corresponds to the human capacity to think an infinite number of realities with a centrifugally growing number of identities, open to improvisation when conditions call for it. They are much more postmodern.


Chapter 10. Comparison of Syncretists, Fundamentalists and Scholars

8. Conclusion In this chapter I have shown how believers and scholars of different orientations choose to make different uses of the repertoires available in their religious or academic world. It has been suggested that fundamentalists and syncretists take different positions, both in dealing with outsiders and in dealing with the sacred, within a framework that focuses on the relationship between meaning and power. In addition, unexpected similarities were found between fundamentalists and positivists on the one hand, and between syncretists and constructivists on the other. An exclusive and centripetal use of a single repertoire was contrasted with an inclusive and centrifugal use of multiple repertoires. So scholars and believers have more in common than the usual division between religion and science suggests.

Literature Adogame, Afe, Magnus Echtler and Ulf Vierke (2008). Introduction: Unpacking the New: Critical Perspectives on Cultural Syncretization in Africa and Beyond. In: Adogame, Afe, Magnus Echtler and Ulf Vierke (2008). Unpacking the New: Critical Perspectives on Cultural Syncretization in Africa and Beyond. Zurich and Berlin: Ref, pp. 1-23 Baird, Robert D. (1971). Category formation and religious history. Mouton: The Hague. Canclini, Nestor García (1995). Hybrid cultures: Strategies for entering and exiting modernity. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Droogers, André (1989). Syncretism: The definition problem, the problem definition In: Jerald Gort et al. (Ed.) (1989). Dialogue and syncretism: an interdisciplinary approach. Grand Rapids and Amsterdam: Eerdmans and Rodopi, pp. 7 – 24. (Chapter 9 of this book) Droogers, André (2001). syncretism. In: International Encyclopedia of Behavioral and Social Sciences. London: Elsevier, pp. 15386-15388. Droogers, André (2003). The dimensions of power in the Christian community: an anthropological model. Religion: A journal of religion and religions, 33(3), 263 – 80. (Chapter 7 of this book) Droogers, André (2005). Syncretism and fundamentalism: a comparison. Social Compass, 52(4), 463-471 Gort, Jerald et al. (Ed.) (1989). Dialogue and syncretism: an interdisciplinary approach. Grand Rapids and Amsterdam: Eerdmans and Rodopi. Greenfield, Sidney M. and André Droogers (eds.) (2001). Reinventing Religions: Syncretism and Transformation in Africa and the Americas. Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield. Guba, Egon G. (1990). The paradigm dialogue. Newbury Park: Wise.



Hannerz, Ulf (1992). Cultural Complexity: Studies in the Social Organization of Meaning. New York: Columbia University Press. Lawrence, Bruce B. (1998). From Fundamentalism to Fundamentalism: A Religious Ideology in Multiple Forms. In: Paul Heelas (ed.) (1998). religion, modernity and postmodernity. Oxford: Blackwell, pp. 88-101 Marty, Martin E. & R. Scott Appleby (eds.) (1991). Observed fundamentalisms. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Stewart, Charles and Rosalind Shaw (eds.) (1994). Syncretism/Anti-Syncretism: The Politics of Religious Synthesis. London: Rouledge. Yinger, J. Milton (1970). The scientific study of religion. New York: Macmillan.

Chapter 11 Joana's Story: Syncretism and Gender at the Actor Level 1. Introduction Syncretism is usually seen from the supra-individual level. At the heart of the analysis are the religions from which the elements are selected or the religion that is the result of such a syncretic process. Although anthropologists have a habit of paying due attention to "real people doing real things," whistleblowers rarely speak directly to the reader. The discourse almost always remains at the structural level. However, it seems useful to pay attention to how the actors deal with the structures and how their way of interpreting events and positioning themselves is related to this process. Such a microanthropological approach could visualize how an individual involved in the syncretic process builds their identity by effectively and strategically using repertoires or religious beliefs and other schemata available in their social environment. Such an effort is made in this chapter. The main character is Joana (not her real name), a Brazilian woman, in her forties at the time of the fieldwork, living in the large metropolitan area of ​​Porto Alegre, southern Brazil. Part of his life story is described and analyzed. Recorded conversations with her in Portuguese took place in 1990 and 1995 as part of my research on the religiosity of people who do not consider themselves members of a religious institution. I present her story as she told it. No attempt was made to verify the facts with anyone else. The years between 1990 and 1995 were particularly turbulent for Joana. As I will show, her religious beliefs helped her survive the aftermath of a failed marriage to an abusive man and the tragic end of a harmonious but impossible relationship with another man. Gathering all the resources at her disposal, she demonstrated that she was doing what anthropologists call "syncretization" without knowing the term. Her case also shows how religion and its mix can empower a woman when faced with the downsides of gender differences.

1 Introduction


Recommendations This is not a form of power that necessarily allows you to influence other people's behavior. The main beneficiary of the syncretic empowerment seems to be Joana herself because she has found a way to master her life and overcome a deep crisis. Although part of her problem was that there was a gender power imbalance and her husband exercised his power over her in violent ways, his form of empowerment did not result in him changing his behavior but instead gave her the power, his own life to live . . How has Joana benefited from the religious resources she has been exposed to throughout her life? What do you think about what it means to be a woman, a man? How did Joana manage to survive and (re)organize her life? And what role did your religious experience play in this syncretic empowerment process? An interesting feature of Joana's story is that she falls into the category of people who do not participate in institutionalized forms of religion. However, their repertoire of religious models stems largely from institutionalized religion. In order to make the contrast between the free use of the repertoire by an actor and the institutional aspect of religion easier to understand, three dimensions of institutionalized religion can be distinguished: (a) the internal, (b) the external (both predominantly socially structural, but always with an aspect of meaning) and (c) the supernatural (mainly cultural or symbolic, but often with a socio-structural aspect). The existing social relationships in the inner and outer dimensions are subject to the construction of cultural meanings. On the other hand, beliefs about God, the gods, the spirits and the saints imply relationships between them and the believers - modeled after the social structure: God is father/mother etc. The relationships between the opposing categories in each dimension are actually power relationships. Internally, religious and secular specialists contest their spheres of influence. Gender is often an integral part of this dimension, for example when religious specialists are exclusively or predominantly men. Externally, all believers are connected in some way to a society in which a particular religious perspective, perhaps theirs, may be dominant, just as a particular definition of gender may be dominant. Alternative views and definitions may arise. Supernaturally speaking, power is also present in the relationship between believers and sacred beings, and here too gender concepts can play a role, as when God, gods or spirits are explicitly seen as male or female. The three dimensions must be seen in context. In each specific case, it can be assumed that peculiarities are a determining factor.


Chapter 11. Joana's Story: Syncretism and Gender at the Acting Level

Order of the particular link or lack of link between the dimensions. This may involve contradictions between dimensions as it is unlikely that all three dimensions will ever be in full harmony and consistency. What is said in one point can be contradicted in another situation. So the supernatural dimension has a lot of weight in the official ideal versions of the religions. In practice, however, the supernatural dimension can sometimes be ignored, as in the inner dimension: the principles are modified under the influence of practice. An advantage of this interdimensional approach is that the usual debate between mechanistic and subjectivist approaches can be avoided. Both structure and agency are given due attention as relationships between actors, including supernatural ones, are considered. Furthermore, a focus on the supernatural dimension helps to avoid a one-sided reductionist view of religion, as if societal structural mechanisms would explain everything. Important as the latter may be, they cannot be considered as the only factor in the process of religious production, and it seems useful to also take cultural structural processes into account. As the focus in this chapter is on one actor, some remarks should be made on the relationship between agency and structure. Actors can be shown to interpret events and phenomena using a repertoire of meanings available in structures, both symbolic and social. The practice of signification can be represented in a "triangle of signification" that connects events, structures and actors. When events or phenomena cannot be interpreted with reference to the available social and symbolic structures, structural changes will occur and new meanings will be added to these structures. On the other hand, events and phenomena are partly formed under the influence of social and symbolic structures. Within this triangle, actors form their identity in terms of gender and religion. This can be said differently with regard to the newly developed connectionist approach within cognitive anthropology (Bloch 1991, D'Andrade 1995, Quinn and Strauss 1994, Strauss and Quinn 1997). The central question of cognitive anthropology is how knowledge is culturally organized. Connectionism gets its name from the connections said to exist between parallel files of knowledge in the human mind. Thanks to these connections, these files can be consulted simultaneously in a paradigmatic way, just as the conductor of an orchestra consults the scores of the various instruments in a split second in a summary view. This approach contrasts with the common view that people organize their knowledge

1 Introduction


Edge as in speaking or writing: i. H. according to the so-called propositional logic. This could also be called a syntagmatic approach, for example when a listener to a CD of orchestral music selectively hears only the main theme and can sing or whistle. Now, when people consult social and symbolic structures in their process of finding meaning, as indicated above by the signification triangle, they simultaneously appeal to different but interconnected archives. Once they arrive at a conclusion in this paradigmatic way, they will formulate it in the more easily observed syntagmatic way of propositional logic. The term schema is often used in place of file. D'Andrade defines schema as "the organization of cognitive elements in an abstract mental object that can be held in working memory with default values ​​or open slots that can be filled with appropriate details in various ways" (D'Andrade 1995:179). Open slots are reminiscent not only of a computer, but also of an empty bureaucratic form that needs to be filled out for a specific case. Religion is full of schemes that help people organize and interpret their experiences. Again, these schemas are not as eternal as the gods who populate them are supposed to be: humans adapt the schemas to their experiences, just as their schemas act as constraints on their behavior. Each new situation forces a person to carry out a quick and simultaneous consultation of the available schemes that correspond to the situation, generally a routine procedure; but when the schemas do not fit the situation or have simply been forgotten, new schemas develop, perhaps after a certain degree of confusion and chaos. Power, as an aspect of influencing behavior, tends to retard this process because its exercise depends on the persistence of certain schemas imposed on the actors affected. The rulers therefore prefer verbalized sentence logic to the connectionist practice of "let a thousand flowers bloom" - which is risky for them. Politicians don't like subversives. The clergy generally do not like heretics. Likewise, concrete gender situations can be interpreted and managed with the help of a number of more abstract schemata of masculinity and femininity. Schemes are subject to change according to changes in the signing process. Changes in the vision of gender relate to changes in the current systems. There is one more notable feature of the schema concept. D'Andrade (1995: 232) distinguishes three classes of schemas, which are organized hierarchically. The first class of schemas is that of principal motives, which contain a person's most general motives.


Chapter 11. Joana's Story: Syncretism and Gender at the Acting Level

Goals, rather autonomous action in the triggering behavior (e.g. love, security, play, caring). Below this is the more middle class of goals that help in the realization of the main motives. D'Andrade gives the examples of a job and a marriage. The lowest class is that of schemes whose motivation depends on previous classes. These programs are often part of everyday life. So if the main reason for marriage is love, marriage in turn motivates writing a love letter or buying a bouquet of flowers. D'Andrade (1995: 233) understands that behavior is the result of sets of hierarchically organized objective schemas. The motivational strength of the schemes decreases according to the hierarchy of the three classes. Everyone defines their own hierarchy. Conceptually armed, I now turn to the story of Joana.

2. Joana's Story Joana's case shows how religion can be a source of power for a woman. When I met her in 1990, Joana struck me as a cheerful and well-balanced person. She had been married for almost twenty years. Her husband worked as a salesman for an international engineering company and spent much of his free time, especially at weekends, performing local folk music on local stages. The couple had two daughters, aged seventeen and nine at the time. Joana was a successful professional. After interrupting her two-year college education through marriage, she worked as a secretary and now taught a foreign language to children at a commercial language school. After her brother-in-law introduced her to me in 1990, I asked Joana what religion meant to her. Maybe because it was our first contact, she didn't tell me at the time about the problem she already had with her husband. Nor did he speak about the relationship he had with another man. When we met again in 1995, his situation was radically different. She had been going through great difficulties for years, and as our conversation progressed it became clear that life in 1990 was not as happy and balanced as she had imagined. In the following I mainly quote the 1995 interview. However, reference is made to the earlier interview to show the ongoing process of meaning-making. Between 1990 and 1995, Joana's marriage had broken up. The facts are quickly told. While working as a musician in pubs

2. Joan's story


They were in the house, her husband was beginning to drink too much. As a result, he lost his regular job as a salesman. The family lost friends. He became so violent at home that he once tried to kill Joana with a butcher knife just before the 1995 job interview while she was sick in bed. She escaped, she says, by a miracle. Then she left him and moved to another apartment with her daughters. Her husband then went to Argentina to work as a musician. When she tells me what happened, Joana constantly refers to her religious beliefs. Many things have happened, including a break in the family...because my husband is a very difficult person. And thanks to my faith, my conviction that God exists, that there is someone to protect us, I speak to you today... His final attack was to kill me. It was really very difficult. He's an alcoholic. He's someone who doesn't believe in anything. He only believes in himself. He doesn't understand that he needs treatment, that he needs to believe in something, that he needs to save the good things and channel them productively... It was very difficult for me because I'm a very objective person. I have a strong will. I have a life ideal that is my mission: to provide security for my daughters... to make them a harmonious home. And it all fell apart. My daughters also have a lot of trust. None of us regularly attend an institutional religion... but we never lose touch with God, where we draw our strength from, where our strength really comes from... It shows in his faith and mine. I always manage to get up... I felt like I was in a deep dark pit I couldn't get out of... I couldn't rest, I couldn't eat anything... because he was always causing trouble, breaking things, threaten us verbally and sometimes physically.

Joana explained that she always trusted her husband, took care of him, dedicated her life to him. She was surprised when he started behaving aggressively. He said he's always believed that if you get married, you get married for life. As he explained, he felt like he was playing a card because at the time he thought marriage was forever. That's why I was desperate when things started to go wrong. He concluded "in a very cold way" that life is a win or lose game. However, she emphasized that you don't have to sit idly by when things go wrong. You have to have trust. Only someone of great faith is able to face such a situation. So, thanks to my faith, I knew that God would never leave me, that he was waiting for an opportunity, that he would give me an opportunity to get out of here, to breathe the way a human being deserves to breathe.


Chapter 11. Joana's Story: Syncretism and Gender at the Acting Level

However, at the height of the crisis, her daughters had hinted that God does not exist, because if He did exist, He would not allow these things. Why, they asked, do good people have to suffer so much? Johanna answered them: Only God can answer that for us. We have no right to judge what he does. He knows why he is doing these things. One day, however, [we will realize that] everything we are going through will allow us to grow and have a wonderful future. Then we will understand why these things happen. Everything in life is a lesson... One must be a warrior and fight against the odds of life. So I think that my belief and my desire to understand what happened, to want to be part of a whole, helped me to be able to speak to you today.

Joana acknowledges the role that her husband's free will played in his destruction, even though God is the source of that free will. "He [her husband] likes this [life he leads] so you have to let him live it, right? It is the free will that God has given you, the right to choose what you want. However, Joana is proud to have acted in time to save himself after taking him to a psychotherapist and to Alcoholics Anonymous for some time. When nothing changed, she decided it was time to save herself and her daughters. She believes that she has done enough for him and that her conscience is clear. Joana continued to speak about her belief in guardian angels. She shared with me her religious experience as a child when she was a member of the Assembly of God, the Pentecostal church where her father, a former Kardecist spiritualist, pastored for some time. She spoke lovingly of her father, telling me, for example, how he always welcomed guests to his table and made hospitality a core value in his home, even though the family rarely had enough to themselves. His mother came from a Lutheran family. Joana's interest in angels came from neither Pentecostalism nor Lutheranism. "They believed that there is only God and nothing else, no mentor, no guide, it was always God." In 1995, the Angels became commercially popular in Brazil and elsewhere. Shops had statues of them in their windows and sold books about them. However, all but one of the books were translations of American publications. ... a year ago I was given one of these angels. I still have it in my bedroom. ... It's not the picture that gives me strength. But it gives me a good feeling when I walk into the room, I see the face of this little angel, ... and it gives me a kind of power.

Joana then spoke of God:

2. Joan's story


I've always talked to God. It's not like he used "ready made" phrases... I open my heart to him because I know he sees everything. I know better than anyone. God sees everything, knows everything that happens and why one exists, because I believe that nothing happens by accident. For me it's like this: I'm not a follower of any religion. However, I truly believe in the supreme being who knows why things happen.

In 1990 Joana did not speak of angels, but the statements she made then about Catholic saints were similar to what she would say about angels five years later. The reason she wanted to be baptized into the Catholic Church at the age of eighteen, despite her Pentecostal upbringing, was because she was fascinated by the saints, whom she found beautiful. As a former Protestant, he added that he knew the saints in the church were just images before which he refused to kneel and ask for things. "One does not negotiate with God," he emphasized. "You can make a request, but then you have to wait. If you deserve what you ask for, you will get it. I asked God a lot and He helped me and gave me strength." However, she has her favorite saints like Saint George and Saint Teresa who she says have helped her. However, she doesn't see herself as a typical Catholic and struggles with the institution, its dogmas, and most importantly, its claim to absolute truth: "All religions are true, not just the Roman one." However, she now considers herself Catholic, but in her own right, referring to Christ and St. Peter as Bearer of the Catholic faith. In his view, however, faith is much more general and ultimately a matter of conscience. A person's heart is the church of God. First God came into my heart and then I went to religion. God was always my friend, the best friend i have... i believe the best judgment the best god we have is our conscience we all have faith.

In the 1990 interview, Joana was very critical of what she considered to be business activities in the Catholic Church, such as baptism and burial, which only take place for a fee. She compares the church's wealth to one of her first experiences with religion, when a priest who taught religion in her public school class said that all rich children burn in hell. Joana says that she then decided not to participate in the life of the church. Joana referred to a very non-Catholic element in her religious beliefs in our 1995 conversation: reincarnation. "I believe in other lives and in lives already lived." She associated this with the idea of ​​what a person experiences


Chapter 11. Joana's Story: Syncretism and Gender at the Acting Level

Experiences and suffering in this life are a result of what he did in a previous life. By suffering now, you are paying for what you have done in the past, so to speak. She used this notion to explain her husband's violence and believes that she has now fully paid off the debt from a past life because "not even Christ would accept what he did to me". The fact that she miraculously escaped his assassination attempt gives special meaning to the idea that her life is saved and a new phase has definitely begun. She compared herself to a phoenix risen from the ashes. However, she still lives with the trauma of her past and almost every night dreams of running away from her husband. She says her prayers are her therapy and when her daughters have nightmares involving their father, she advises them to pray and ask God for protection and to heal those traumas. In 1990, Joana was referring to the Spiritist-Kardecist belief in reincarnation when she told me that early in their marriage she had given birth to two stillborn babies. She was still mourning her then. Her older sister, although not a Kardecistin, had told her that she was indeed privileged because God was using her body to allow "these spirits of light" to enter her body and move on. It helped her process the loss of her two children. Subsequently, treatment by a Kardecist therapist helped her with a persistent headache problem. Joana also told me about her eldest daughter who was suffering from leg pain and in a dream saw herself being operated on by the ghost of a young doctor who had just died in a traffic accident in the town where they live. The girl identified more and more with Kardecism. She has intuition, Joana observes, but she is afraid of becoming a medium herself. In 1993, Joana attended a Bahai group for about six months, but withdrew because she did not want to accept the role of leader that was offered to her. In addition, he disagreed with some of the central ideas of the Baha'i faith, although he found that belief beautiful in general and their prayers in particular. For example, he had difficulty accepting the belief that Christ, like many other enlightened people, was simply a "ray of sunshine" from God and that Bahaullah was "almost more divine than God himself." To them, Christ is a wonderful figure. Although he is not a son of God, for them he must be, "because he fought, sacrificed himself for the ideal he had, for the esteem he had for man, for his simplicity and self-sacrifice." Speaking of these experiences, Joana concluded that organized religion always exaggerates and distorts. Its commitments deny free will:

2. Joan's story


"One must see God as something good, not as a being who will punish us." She prefers to pray alone, which does not preclude the possibility that she may attend and enjoy a religious session from time to time, be it a Baha'i or a Kardecist spiritualist or otherwise. “Sometimes I go to a Catholic church when nobody is there and I pray. It does me good and gives me delicious peace. I really feel better.” His youngest daughter stayed in the Bahai group and even went to international meetings. Eventually, however, she left too, although she did not give up the faith herself. Joana tells how, at the time when she herself came into contact with the Baha'i, she first tried to live apart from her husband. Members of the group helped her. There were also religious undertones in the way his youngest daughter, who still identifies as Baha'i, lived through the events. The girl had promised to say a certain number of prayers to Bahaullah, in whom "she has great faith". Although she has distanced herself from the Baha'i, Joana supports her daughter's participation: "It's good to have so much faith." After Joana escaped her husband's attack, her daughter vowed to pray to Bahaullah for nine consecutive days in exchange for the promise (vow) she had made. Taking a vow, usually before a saint, and fulfilling it when what one asked for was obtained, is common in popular Catholicism. This practice had been adopted and adopted by his daughter as part of her Bahai faith. Joana has discovered other sources of strength. She saw a film about the life of Tina Turner and, to her surprise, found that the famous singer had experienced similar situations to hers. Then one of his daughters gave him the book the film was based on. He identified even more with Turner when he read it. What she learned from this, she said, is not to get too attached to things that bother you, be it work or marriage. "I think that's what I'm doing and allow myself to be a little lucky," he added. "Thank God," Joana sees the relationship with her daughters as harmonious and even as a kind of sisterhood (the Portuguese word for brotherhood, irmandade, is also used for a religious order). Towards the end of the 1995 interview, when Joana spoke about her beliefs in reincarnation and past life memories, she gave an example. He spoke about a platonic relationship he'd had for eight years with an older man who wasn't married. It ended with his death in 1993. According to Joana, the relationship was one of great affection. "I had a very good friend. he was someone


Chapter 11. Joana's Story: Syncretism and Gender at the Acting Level

like...if I hadn't been married at the time, I would have been the ideal person that I would have always wanted in my life. It was a case of love on both sides. However, they didn't get sexually involved because "he understood my situation ... that I never wanted to do anything that I thought was wrong." I wouldn't feel good about it. Joana told her husband about the relationship and he did not object. She would not leave him for this man. Although they continued to meet socially, Joana never visited him at his home. They met when Joana took a job as a secretary in an office where he worked. Nobody else seemed to like it, which made her wonder why she'd done it. "To me he was the sweetest person you can imagine." She was almost certain that she had met him somewhere before and taken a liking to him. Thinking about it, she remembered dreaming about him as a child. The dream took place in a castle surrounded by beautiful meadows. The two were together, a couple obviously in love. It was something very real to me, I even felt his body next to me. He cared about me and he liked me. He concluded that they had been lovers in a previous life, reunited in this one. Shortly before his death he called her and asked her to come to his apartment. Joana still remembers the exact date. However, she refused, saying to him: "You know that I will always love you, but I cannot visit you." He replied that one day when she decided to visit him, it would be too late. His response was to ask if this was a threat, "that the day I was free you wouldn't love me anymore?" When she called his office two weeks later, the secretary said she could not speak to him. him. Joana felt guilty and believed it was because she had refused to go home. She was then transferred to the secretary's boss, who informed her that her boyfriend had died the day she last spoke to him. The official cause of death was an aneurysm. Joana felt robbed. My god, why is that? I live with a very difficult person who torments me. I'm not ashamed of what I thought then: why did he die and not my husband? Why does someone who is good and productive in life die? But today I understand that I cannot control life. just over It's destiny that you have to accept and it happens. It happens, it happens. No other way. Because of what happened, I believe in my past lives. This immense causality...

Joana's portrayal of this episode in her life emphasized the contradiction that while her friend was always kind and loving to her, e.g

3. Discussion


others found him ugly and imposing and were disliked for it. The only explanation he could think of came from a dream that he said might have been a brief memory from a past life. "I really hope, and I sincerely mean it, that we have another life together ... [although] a huge void has been left here. It shaped me. Joana added that one day she read the phrase, "God who made the shoulders also made the crosses." He concluded that God knows the size of a person's shoulders and therefore the size of the person cross that the person can carry. "And also until when you have to take it. I think the hardest part is over. I leave it. It's over'. Sometimes she thinks he's not dead, that one day he'll call her and tell her it was all just a joke. On the day of our interview, Joana reported seeing someone on a passing bus who may have been her twin. The man had pushed up his sunglasses and was looking at her. But of course he wasn't. If it had been, he would have gotten off at the next stop. So it wasn't him. But I was really upset.'

3. Discussion Joana's story allows us to examine how a Brazilian woman creatively mobilized parts of different religious belief systems in her culture to find meaning and understanding in a moment of personal crisis. It shows budding syncretism and reveals the syncretization process. It also offers us a look at some of the power processes involved in the construction of gender identities in a religious context. The case is not necessarily representative at a societal level, although it represents a process that can take place at a much broader level. The Brazilian cultural context may be optimal for combining ideas and practices that seem incompatible in other settings (see Greenfield 2001). The events of Joana's married life forced her to make sense of what had happened to her. With each new event, she was forced to construct her own triangle of meaning, drawing on some twenty schemes from her repertoire, as accumulated and adapted throughout her life. Surprisingly, the schemas she uses, including her views on gender, are essentially, if not exclusively (Tina Turner!), religious in nature. She maneuvered her meaning triangles and managed to survive and defend herself and her two daughters. The vocabulary he used expressed his struggle and related directly to power and strength (forÅa).


Chapter 11. Joana's Story: Syncretism and Gender at the Acting Level

Throughout her life, Joana has become familiar with a range of religious worldviews. Some of them I knew from personal experience, while others I knew from talking to friends and family. Thus she had indirectly learned about Kardecist spiritism and assimilated it through conversations with her sister. Direct participation does not appear to be a requirement for the adoption of ideas. From the perspective of institutionalized religion, some of these views are seen as mutually exclusive, but that didn't stop Joana from picking and using them as she wished. Her decision not to be active in a religious group brought her into the informal sector of religion. You could say she had no religion, but she was very religious. The experiences she has had with different religions throughout her life made her avoid participating. However, he understands and knows these religions in their inner and outer dimensions and especially in their supernatural dimension. The way he constructs his religious identity is an indirect criticism of the rule-based, formally institutionalized religion he sees as bitolad: narrow, limited, short-sighted. The use of parallel schemas (in connectionist terminology) of different religions during our conversations brought them closer to the paradigmatic pole of comparison (the vision of the conductor of the scores) than to that of syntagmatic propositional logic (the single theme that is being addressed by the listener). . , which he in fact condemned as dogmatic and too narrow. His independent position has enabled him to apply this syncretic approach. Indirectly, the elements he drew from various religious sources made his case somewhat representative of more than one institutionalized religion, albeit mainly on a symbolic level rather than on a social-structural level, which he generally avoided. What she experienced was relevant only to her, but was clearly based on the repertoires of the Brazilian social and cultural context, although she made her own choices. Afro-Brazilian religions were virtually absent from his discourse. In 1990 he had spoken of Umbanda, saying that he liked "the bright colours, the music that belongs to them" but that he considered it a pagan religion. She wasn't attracted to it, "not even a little bit." It seems to be the syncretic climate of Brazilian society that enabled Joana to construct her religious and gender identity the way she did (cf. Droogers 1995a and 1995b). The minimum Brazilian creed seems to be: A person must have faith no matter what (Droogers

3. Discussion


1987). Joana has shown us how to creatively combine relative agency (the subjectivist pole) with structural constraints (the mechanistic pole) in the construction of identity over the course of life events. She consciously used her freedom to be religious without having to join a religious group, thereby distancing herself from institutionalized settings. When the Baha'i group wanted her to take a leadership role, she refused and eventually distanced herself from the group. On the other hand, for his repertoire of religious ideas and meanings he was very dependent on the institutionalized religions with which he was in contact throughout his life. In this process of cultural practice, not only her religious identity but also her gender identity – and that of her husband! – is very much at stake, mainly because of the breakdown of his marriage. A closer look at the cultural repertoires of meaning he uses reveals a surprising variety of schemes (Ewing 1990). It is overwhelming compared to the efforts of most institutionalized religions to protect their borders and therefore their identities. It is less striking when understood from the point of view of the individual actor than as a way of being religious. At the top of the schema hierarchy is a dynamic and heterogeneous concept of God as a source of help but also of proof. For Joana, it's a master motive to a large degree. The idea is even to kill her friend and let her husband live. Hence there is also some doubt about the existence of God as a moral and just being as understood by the Judeo-Christian tradition. It is not clear whether God is outside or inside the person (in the form of moral conscience) or both. God is also the source of human free will, which Joana cites as one of the explanations for her suffering. At the same time, it points to an inevitable fate in life. Christ plays a different role at the middle level of the schema hierarchy because he is a means to a higher end. For Joana he is an example of perfection, uma pessoa maravilhosa (a wonderful human being), struggle, sacrifice, an ideal, human appreciation, simplicity, self-sacrifice, all major motives that make him the Son of God for her. despite what the Bahai faith claims. Although the disagreement caused her to leave the Bahai group, Christ is not important to her in her struggle to live. Neither did his mother, the Virgo, who, although mentioned in the 1990 interview, was not included in the 1995 conversation.


Chapter 11. Joana's Story: Syncretism and Gender at the Acting Level

In a more abstract way, faith (f) is an important ingredient, representing optimism and confidence, and as such another main motive. Joana called her ex-husband someone with no faith. Faith is important, he told his daughter, and having faith is more important than having any particular faith. In this way, elements from different religions could be combined into one's own faith. While God seemed to occupy a central place when interpretation of events was required, this did not preclude invoking other schemas to explain suffering. A prominent role was given to the Kardecist belief in reincarnation, which also appeared at the top of Joana's schema hierarchy. To her, it explained the deaths of her stillborn babies and also implied that the suffering she endured in her marriage was viewed as a form of payment of a debt from a past life. On the other hand, her belief in reincarnation justified and legitimized her love for her friend and the hope, or even certainty, that they would be together in the future. Another source that gave strength to Joana, although more on the mid-level of plans, was the Guardian Angels. The image made them reflect not only on the protection they offer, but also on their childlike innocence, which was a key motive for them. In addition to the angels, certain Catholic saints were also of help at this middle level. Although the details are not clear from the interview, the Bahai group helped Joana when she tried to leave her husband for the first time. By offering help, they were also part of the middle level and contributed to a higher goal system (happiness) through practical third level programs such as direct counseling. Clairvoyance, also as an accepted middle-level schema, provided a way to legitimize and explain events such as her friend's allusion to her untimely death. Although not quoted in the excerpts above, Joana told me that both she and her daughter predicted certain events. For example, in the days before her husband attacked her, her daughter had complained that she felt something terrible was about to happen. Besides these religious plans, there are other secular ones that Joana refers to. At an intermediate level, her work gave her strength and self-respect. Even at the intermediate level, in trying to explain her husband's alcoholism, she relied on psychotherapy to highlight his affective limitation (a major motive) as the reason. However, on request

3. Discussion


When treated herself, her response was that her therapy was prayer, returning to the middle level of the religious realm. It is also striking that certain metaphors served as intermediate schemes. The fight was an important concept for her and her daughters. Joana also compared life to a deck of cards where we must play the hand that is dealt to us. When he talks about his relationship with his daughters, brotherhood is mentioned as a source of strength. Phoenix rising from the ashes was the metaphor she used to describe her resurrection - what she called it - again a religious image. There are certain Portuguese words that Joana used to indicate situations of happiness: maravilhoso (wonderful), harmonia (harmony), lindo (beautiful), gostoso (delicious). Indirectly and sometimes directly, Joana portrayed gender roles in an ideal marriage as part of a major motif. Her affection for her father suggests that his behavior was the model of masculinity for her. When describing his critical attitude toward marriage candidates, it was clear he had certain criteria, and when he spoke about his ideal vision of a home, he mentioned some of those main themes: love, devotion, loyalty, respect. Marriage for them is of God and must be eternal. In a negative sense, her husband's behavior also defined a gender role. In her friend Joana she found what her husband lacked. In times of crisis, she had to choose between alternative lower- and middle-level schemes that competed for her preference: should she stay with her husband or divorce? Should she help her husband and believe his promises, or should she leave him? Will she remain faithful to him or choose to live with her friend? Should she have sex with him or not visit him at all? Johanna claimed to draw strength from religion and therefore received from it the strength to survive. As she put it, "Now I'm strong enough to put an end to this." Although it can be considered normal in a male-dominated society for women to accept their husbands' alcoholism, which is a common low-level scheme in Brazil, Joana refused. As she told her story, her moral and personal strength, fueled by the motives of the highest masters, stood in stark contrast to the medium and low-level physical violence used against her by her unfaithful ex-husband. Her relationship with her friend is described as sweet (twelve), conforming to an overarching gender scheme. However, people disliked him, suggesting that he employed his own low- and mid-level power schemes in his relationships with them. For Joana, the superiority of the candy regimen was a compelling argument.


Chapter 11. Joana's Story: Syncretism and Gender at the Acting Level

for his love, despite or even the fact that he wasn't nice to others. We can ask: Is Joana's power the kind that can affect the behavior of other people? That's not clear from his story. Because his involvement in formal bureaucratic structures was minimal (he would not even join religious groups), he had no framework to influence other people, except for his work. As for her personal relationships, she was unable to change her husband's attitude or behavior, although she tried. It seems likely that the education he gave his daughters, along with the "sisterhood" they shared when the family was in trouble, was a way of influencing them. His boyfriend respected her even though he eventually invited her to his apartment. Aside from these examples, Joana seemed to have power as a factor influencing behavior. So the power you have is more of an illustration of the second aspect of power, survival in life? His speech puts much more emphasis on how he used his relationships with God, angels, and saints to gain power to survive than on efforts to influence people. So the power Joana has is her strength to survive, like when she escaped death at the hands of her husband.

4. Conclusion Joana's story was presented with the aim of examining the syncretic process at the actor's level. The analytical approach focused on the relationships between gender, power and religion. Questions were asked about Joana's use of religious resources, her views on gender issues, and how she wields power, both as an ability to influence people and to survive. Building on Joana's story, it can be argued to define power not only as the ability to influence the behavior of other people, but also to organize one's life. Though expressed in terms of strength (forÅa) rather than power (Might), the way he endured the events of his life can certainly be seen as empowering. The primary source of this empowerment, although he did not participate in organized religion and thus lacked group support, was his "religiosity", which he constructed from a variety of religious ideas and practices available in his culture. Since religion, more than any other aspect



culture, in this case Brazilian, offers answers to questions of life and death, it may come as no surprise that the survival aspect of power has a strong religious component. For a woman, gender is often the primary area in which power processes take place. The phase in Joana's life between the interviews was marked by the failure of her marriage. The way she spoke about this experience clearly shows her way of living her religiosity and also her views on gender. The analysis of Joana's story also shows the relevance of a practical and schema-theoretical approach. His account of events and his interpretation of his life made it clear that cultural and social structures, agency and structure, formal and informal behavior, the public and private spheres all need to be dialectically examined together to understand how the extremes meet. with each other and are linked. Schema theory proved to be a useful tool in this regard because it helped us to understand how Joana, as an actress, had her own way of dealing with the schemas available to her, as found in the cultural and social structures of Brazil. He did this by defining their meaning, rejecting some (Assemblies of God, Umbanda), choosing others (God, Reincarnation) and applying them in his own way in the process of interpreting the events that characterized his life. Although not consistently or fully articulated at all times, this personal hierarchy of schemas helped her give meaning to her life and, to a lesser extent, influenced those closest to her.

Please note that I am grateful to Els Jacobs and Marjo de Theije for their insights into power and gender. The first draft of this chapter was read as paper during a symposium they organized during the BRASA meeting in Cambridge in September 1996. Sidney M. Greenfield was kind enough to help me refine this paper into a publishable article.

References Bloch, Maurice (1991). Language, Anthropology and Cognitive Science. Male 26(2), 183-198; D'Andrade, Roy (1995). The development of cognitive anthropology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Chapter 11. Joana's Story: Syncretism and Gender at the Acting Level

Droogers, André (1987). A Brazilian minimum religiosity. Religion and Society 14(2), 62-86. Droogers, André (1995a). Syncretism, power, game. In: Goran Aijmer (ed.) (1995). Syncretism and trading in symbols. Gothenburg: IASSA, pp. 38-59 Droogers, André (1995b). Identity, Religious Pluralism, and Ritual in Brazil: Umbanda and Pentecostalism. In: Jan Platvoet and Karel van der Toorn (eds.) (1995). Pluralism and Identity: Studies in Ritual Behavior. Leiden: Brill, pp. 91-113. (Chapter 8 of this book) Ewing, Katherine (1990). The Illusion of Wholeness: Culture, the Self, and the Experience of Incoherence. Ethos, 18(3), 251-279. Greenfield, Sidney M. (2001). Population growth, industrialization and spread of syncretized religions in Brazil. In: Sidney M. Greenfield and André Droogers (eds.) (2001). Reinventing Religions: Syncretism and Transformation in Africa and the Americas. Lanham etc.: Rowman and Littlefield, pp. 55-70 Strauss, Claudia and Naomi Quinn (1994). A cognitive/cultural anthropology. In: Robert Borofsky (ed.) (1994). Evaluation of cultural anthropology. New York: McGraw-Hill, pp. 284-300 Strauss, Claudia and Naomi Quinn (1997). A cognitive theory of cultural meaning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Pentecostalism Chapter 12 Paradoxical Views on a Paradoxical Religion: Models for Explaining Pentecostal Expansion in Brazil and Chile Irony and uncertainty in the explanation of human activity” (Marcus and Fischer 1986:14-15).

1. Introduction Pentecostal and charismatic movements, grouped here under the concept of Pentecostalism, are spreading spectacularly in various parts of the world, including Latin America and the Caribbean. Social scientists who study Pentecostalism have focused their attention primarily on the amazing growth of this form of Protestantism and its place in the religious marketplace, rather than on Pentecostalism itself. In this article I will discuss some of the explanations that support given its amazing growth. I confine myself to the cases of Brazil and Chile because several authors have written about these particular situations and their work can be seen as an illustration of a debate that has repercussions beyond those two countries. This does not mean that an exhaustive summary is made of what has been written so far about Pentecostalism in these countries: my main concern is to reflect on the explanation process. Pentecostalism first came to Brazil in 1910 when, through the efforts of two Swedish-American lay missionaries, the foundations were laid for what would become the Church of God in Brazil. In 1911, Italian-American Pentecostals working among Italian immigrants founded the Christian Congregation. A new one in the 1950s


Chapter 12. Paradoxical views of a paradoxical religion

A wave of expansion ensued, inspired in part by the United States, with the rise of several churches now active across the country. A significant addition was the Igreja Universal do Reino de Deus (Universal Church of the Kingdom of God), which was founded in 1977 from an all-Brazilian initiative and is now trying to expand in several countries around the world. Today it is estimated that about 10 percent of the Brazilian population are Pentecostals. Brazil also has a strong charismatic movement. In Chile, Pentecostalism had a different origin, much more - but not exclusively - from the interior. Although there were some earlier demonstrations, it really began in 1909 after a Methodist revival in which an American missionary, Hoover, played a central role. He and his followers founded the Pentecostal Methodist Church, which is still the largest of the Chilean Pentecostal churches today. In 1932 that church went through a phase of schism that led to the birth of another Pentecostal church that is still active and prosperous today. Over time, several other churches were established, bringing Pentecostal numbers to 13.2 percent in the 1992 census (Kamsteeg 1995:63, 1998:72). Social scientists typically look primarily for external social conditions that can be identified as triggering some form of religious change, such as the spread of a religion. However, this does not preclude paying attention to the relative autonomy of the factors that make up the intrinsic characteristics of a religion. Indeed, the question of the relationship between religious and social processes is one of the most intriguing in the debate surrounding Pentecostal growth. As we shall see shortly, the question has led to a multitude of answers. In general, the authors of explanatory models have paid little attention to charismatic movements. Pentecostal churches were the main object of study. Implicitly, however, much of what has been said about Pentecostal churches makes sense when applied to charismatic movements. This justifies the use of Pentecostalism as a generic term. Many writers pay attention to certain contradictory features of Pentecostalism. Curiously, the models proposed to explain Pentecostal growth contain contradictory elements by comparison. Scientific logic would demand that contradictions be avoided. If the inconsistencies are persistent, they are experienced as problematic. I will suggest this if we start from an eclectic position (Droogers 1985; cf. Marcus and Fischer 1986:

1 Introduction


X, 7-16; Tennekes 1985: 61-62, 64, 86), who combines different explanatory models, the contradiction must not be treated as a problem but as an enrichment of the discussion. Regardless of our models, reality contains more contradictions and is more complex than we usually dare to admit. Most of the persistent contradictions in Pentecostalism can also be characterized as paradoxical, seemingly contradictory, because they relate to different times and places. Pentecostal believers would not care for them. Likewise, some of the contradictions between explanatory models can be understood positively by pointing to the rather one-sided choices that authors make from a spectrum of possibilities at a given time and place. Once this is understood, contradictions become less of a problem. Consequently, this chapter has a two-pronged focus. Not only the Pentecostal expansion is discussed, but also the art of social science explanations. This contribution is an English version of a text first published in Spanish (Boudewijnse et al. 1991: 17-42). I considered fundamentally rewriting the text, but decided to reproduce the plot of the Spanish version, albeit with minor changes, and add an afterword to newer ideas. I am aware of the fact that some of the debates described in the original version have lost their appeal to anthropologists and that a polyparadigmatic approach has become more normal since I wrote the earlier version. However, I have the impression that many of the ideas discussed at the time are still relevant in other circles, for example in some missiological studies of Pentecostalism. In addition, it seems useful to have an overview of the history of at least some of the debates about the growth of Pentecostalism, especially in light of its current global growth. It is an intriguing question to what extent interpretations developed over time in Latin America can also be applied elsewhere (cf. Poewe 1994). Therefore, much of the Spanish version has been retained in the current text. The epilogue is added as a programmatic statement of the directions that could be and are indeed being taken today. Interestingly, they represent approaches that do more justice than their predecessors to the paradox of the Pentecostal phenomenon. The theory building of the social sciences seems to have left behind the phase of the production of exclusive paradigms. The article begins with a discussion of the diversity of theoretical approaches. The actual or perceived contradictions in Pentecostalism are discussed. In the following sections different explanation modes,


Chapter 12. Paradoxical views of a paradoxical religion

summarized based on Anomie, Class, or Failed Modernization. You will always ask yourself what the model clarifies, but also what remains problematic in your application. Finally, the dual approach is revisited, both in the Pentecostal extension and in the explanation of the social sciences. In the afterword, I suggest how recent theoretical perspectives in the social sciences might contribute to the study of Pentecostal growth.

2. Theoretical Diversity Although the issue of Pentecostal expansion in two Latin American countries is a relatively limited issue, there are a number of approaches and models that are nourished by the theoretical diversity in the social sciences and by the diversity of the phenomenon being studied. An inventory of the basic social science explanations helps us to understand the often contradictory proposals in the literature. Such an inventory can include the formulation of each author's central problem, since it is based on a particular selection of the characteristics of the phenomenon of Pentecostal differentiation and growth. Some examples of contradictory tendencies can be given: • The selection of characteristics can be influenced, for example, by choosing consensus or conflict as the basis of social processes. The topic almost always has ideological connotations, ideology understood in the sense of a constellation of ideas that legitimize a certain type of society, be it realized or desired. • Another option concerns the choice of a mechanistic or subjectivist approach, with the first generally emphasizing what structures do with actors, the other what actors do with structures (cf. Alexander 1990). • The authors differ in their assessment of the role of religion: as a response to social change or as a cause of social change. • Similarly, much attention can be paid to religious external factors or internal religious factors with external consequences. • For some, the essential quality of religion is what it does, what it produces in society and in the lives of its followers, while for others the crucial question is what religion is, and then they mainly ask what it means when it is said that. that religion refers to an invisible dimension in reality.

2. Theoretical Diversity


It also makes a difference whether the focus is on the emergence of a religious phenomenon or its persistence. Likewise, the break with the past or continuity or both is emphasized. So if the starting point of the search for an explanation has such different positions, the construction of a theory that points to causal relationships is an arbitrary undertaking. So I understand that the models currently on the market have limited value when viewed on their own. They show their usefulness much more in mapping the field of study - including its particular causal relationships - than as coherent and exclusive explanations. In the eclectic approach represented here, the models are not mutually exclusive from the outset, but have a good chance of complementing one another. Its purpose is to open the investigator's eyes to possible causal relationships. Exclusivity would limit the scope of one's own observations. The contradictions in the above models, understood in this way, are much more of a blessing in disguise than a curse. They enrich the existing heuristic tools and draw attention to the most diverse characteristics and contexts. To give an example, as I discuss the role of Pentecostalism in a situation of rapid social change, some models will draw my attention to societal trends towards a new consensus, while others will point to ongoing conflicts. Accordingly, in examining the role of Pentecostal churches and charismatic movements, I will examine their role in fostering consensus as well as in provoking conflict. So the contributions of different authors have to fit together like stones in a mosaic. Only together will they give a true, if never complete, picture of Pentecostal reality (cf. Lalive d'Épinay 1977: 9). This does not mean that ideological disputes should be ignored. On the contrary, ideological decisions can be crucial in formulating the central research question, or in choosing research methods, or in choosing a form for the final report. As long as the goal is to understand social reality, any suggestion, one-sided and one-sided or not, is helpful. In fact, it will be difficult to find models that are free from ideological influences. This is not to say that everything that has appeared in print is important by definition. It is also good to caution against undue expectations as to the contribution of the social sciences to the understanding of Pentecostalism. Although an eclectic approach seems to guarantee better results than a monoparadigmatic method, modesty is advised.


Chapter 12. Paradoxical views of a paradoxical religion

3. An ambivalent religion Thus, even before the subject of Pentecostal growth is addressed, a confusing and enriching theoretical variety is noticeable in the social scientific study of religion. Turning to the Brazilian and Chilean Pentecostal movements, we are confronted with further contradictions, paradoxes and variations. Let's take a closer look at the paradoxes seen in what has been written about the growth of Pentecostalism in these countries. The following is a list of those I have found: • Because of its emphasis on the Holy Spirit, the Pentecostal faith rehabilitates the laity. However, there are highly hierarchical churches where pastors have a lot of power. As a result, egalitarian and hierarchical tendencies appear simultaneously. • Freedom of expression, especially of emotions, is a common feature. At the same time, church services are masterfully controlled and the discourse is sometimes conducted in a fundamentalist manner. Sermons and church discipline can be legalistic. • Pentecostal believers treat the society around them with a dualistic and antithetical attitude. The "world" is portrayed as lost and corrupted. In this context, terms such as “protest” and “social strike” were used. Pentecostal believers have said goodbye to the world and started a radically new life (Tennekes 1985). However, they have also earned a reputation as exemplary citizens and employees, excellent participants in a world they are meant to hate. • Many Pentecostal believers avoid politics, but precisely because of this abstention they can be an important factor. In addition, some authors speak of a symbolic protest by the Pentecostals, which indirectly criticizes the ruling system. You can also find churches taking on a political role, either to defend their members' interests or to attack the devil called communism or immoralism, or both. • Pentecostals emphasize the apocalypse and the return of Jesus, but also pay attention to short-term practical solutions here and now. • Women tend to be more numerous than in other churches, but they rarely hold leadership positions. With biblical justification, leadership is often reserved for male members only.

3. An ambivalent religion


A paradoxical tendency in charismatic movements is that their members remain faithful to their church but strive for as much autonomy as possible. Another closely related feature is that the clergy plays an important role, but the lay faithful have often been able to create their own space, particularly in prayer groups. Consequently, not all of the characteristics that the authors have identified as typical of Pentecostalism are found in all churches and movements. Although the gifts of the Holy Spirit (healing, glossolalia, prophecy) are central throughout, the practice varies in intensity, from tightly controlled emotion to seemingly limitless ecstasy. Exorcism can be a common practice or an extraordinary practice. Healing can play both a central and a marginal role. Although most Pentecostal churches oppose or ignore the ideas of liberation theology, for some they are a source of inspiration (see, for example, Bonilla 1985; Kamsteeg 1995, 1998). Speaking of variation, a distinction has already been suggested: that between charismatic movements seeking Pentecostal renewal within established churches, both Protestant and Roman Catholic, and autonomous Pentecostal churches. Among the latter, various types of churches can be distinguished (cf. also Souza 1969; Yinger 1970: 251-281). First, there is a difference in historical depth. The oldest churches were founded at the beginning of this century and show denominational characteristics: more hierarchical, more committed to secular values, partly ecumenical relationships. More recently, in the 1940s and 1950s, a new wave of church planting took place, often initiated by a massive foreign-led campaign. In the 1960s, mass campaigns increasingly took on a political agenda, and the call for conversion was intended to influence a decision against left-wing ideology. New churches were formed as a result, though not always Pentecostal (Domínguez and Huntington 1984; Valderrey 1985). Pentecostal churches can emerge as a one-person initiative and grow into a national country or even operate internationally. In Brazil, the Igreja Universal do Reino de Deus (Universal Church of the Kingdom of God) represents both a recent wave of growth and a highly idiosyncratic form of Pentecostalism. Historically, the charismatic movement is a special case: it emerged in the late 1960s and soon spread to Catholic congregations, but also to established “mainstream” Protestant churches.


Chapter 12. Paradoxical views of a paradoxical religion

Second, a difference in the method and practice of churches, and thus often in size, can lead to a distinction between church types. One type consists of healing rooms with three services per day, often located near hospitals or polyclinics. Another type is the neighborhood meeting hall, assembled in the home of its leader and founder. Then there are the churches that operate across the country. They often started out as urban churches but now have a rural presence. These national churches sometimes have a large building as a token of their success and as the headquarters from which their leaders operate. Some of them use mass media and have been called the electronic church, others abhor electronic media. Several churches have opened international branches. In practice, charismatic movements are again distinguished by their attempt to renew established churches from within. They work within existing parishes, often, though not exclusively, with local clergy as leaders. Prayer groups are important at grassroots level. A third distinction can be made according to the social status of the believers. The position of the underclass of Pentecostal believers is usually referred to as a ubiquitous feature. A more refined typology, however, would include churches that specifically cater to the poorest people in society, but also churches that started out that way but gradually became populated by middle-class people. A common explanation in the literature is that Pentecostalism promotes social advancement. There are also churches that try to attract middle and upper class people. It goes without saying that different explanations can be given for the success of these different churches. Such a variety of later criteria and typologies suggests that it will be difficult to arrive at universal explanations and conclusions. If we add that contradictory features can occur within apparently homogeneous types, it becomes clear that generalization is almost impossible. In fact, the diversity and contradiction found have stimulated theoretical work on Pentecostalism. Interestingly, they have hardly been noticed by the Pentecostal believers themselves. The researchers drew attention to the variety of characteristics. Sometimes a social-scientific frame of reference, ideologically nuanced or not, sometimes a more ecclesiastical, Catholic or Protestant perspective aroused interest in the Pentecostal movement. Whether from an academic or church point of view

4. Anomie and Pentecostal growth


Of course, observers noticed the Pentecostal departure from familiar patterns. Another circumstance contributed to the formation of the complex picture. If the growth of Pentecostalism is to be linked to profound changes in society, then the coexistence of old and new will add an extra impetus to the contradiction and sense of paradox. A total break is impossible. The transition from old to new, while dramatic, does not happen in a single moment. For some time, old and new elements will coexist. Contradictions will abound. As I will now show, all of these paradoxical features have presented a challenge to writers who have attempted to explain the growth of Pentecostalism. In the following sections, successive anomie, class, and modernization are treated as explanatory themes.

4. Anomie and Pentecostal Growth The anomie approach can be summarized as follows. In the jargon of social science, anomie represents a situation in which the lack of norms is the cause of uncertainty about appropriate behavior. This puts pressure on interpersonal relationships. Rights and obligations are no longer clearly defined. Within social relationships, the sense of security is lost. Words and gestures no longer have the same meaning for different people. In societies subject to rapid and drastic change and sharp conflicts of interest, anomie seems inevitable. However, according to the authors working with this model, mechanisms are deployed that lead to a redefinition of the rules adapted to the new circumstances. A complete lack of norms would spell the end of society. Starting from their basic needs, people start searching for a new community. In this way, a new consensus gradually emerges, until the cycle repeats itself after a while. Anomia is viewed as a temporary deviation from consensus, which is considered normal. Applying this model to the growth of Pentecostal churches in Latin America, the authors have suggested that these churches succeed because they offer new norms in a situation of anomie. Anomie arose from migration to urban centers. People leave rural areas for different reasons. In the cities, the system of standards could not keep pace with rapid urbanization and industrialization. Rural rules no longer apply, urban rules have not yet been invented. The personal relationship, character


Chapter 12. Paradoxical views of a paradoxical religion

stic of life in the country has lost its meaning in the impersonal city with its anonymous inhabitants. Because surviving in the city is problematic, norms threaten to erode. According to some prominent authors, Pentecostalism fills this social and ethical vacuum. There is thus a positive functional relationship between socio-cultural change and the growth of the Pentecostal church (Lalive 1970: 60; Willems 1964: 96; 1966: 209, 231). The work of Emílio Willems (e.g. 1964; 1966; 1967) is my first example of the application of the anomie model, mainly to the Brazilian situation, although he also dealt with the Chilean Pentecostal movement. Willems sees anomie not only in the city, but also in rural areas, since the feudal structure has become increasingly irrelevant. Writing before Vatican II and the impact of liberation theologies, he saw the Roman Catholic Church as a symbol of a backward structure. According to Willems, the Pentecostal Church is so successful because it distances itself far more than the other evangelical churches from the diseased traditional social structure. He speaks of a symbolic rebellion (1964:103; 1966:226; 1967:140) not only against tradition but also against Catholicism. Pentecostals are able to organize without the help of an elite, showing that paternalistic relationships have lost their meaning. Feudal and class society disputes the equality of believers. The service of all believers inspired by the Holy Spirit takes the place of the Catholic clergy's monopoly on salvation. The gifts of the Holy Spirit turn the impotence of the humble into strength. Those ignored by the world, in turn, ignore the world. It is clear that the rigor of Pentecostal morality is very effective in an anomic context. New converts begin a new and radically different life because conversion puts an end to the lack of clear rules. The Pentecostal Church gives the socially uprooted a new framework, a "personal community" (Willems 1966: 224-225). They find new homes, including new brothers and sisters to replace relatives left behind in the camp. From a marginal position, people gain standing within the community, commensurate with the task entrusted to them and their performance in their duties. From losers they become heroes of faith, blessed with the gifts of the Spirit. Anonymous people become "sister" or "brother so-and-so". All the money that used to be spent on alcohol, lottery, women, etc. and is now considered a sin can be used for social advancement. Thus, in Willems' approach, Pentecostalism is not only a reaction to an anomic situation, but also stimulating at the same time

4. Anomie and Pentecostal growth


ula the growth of the middle class and thus contributes to modernization. Another author who uses the notion of anomie, although sometimes confusing it with Marxist intuitions, particularly in his later work, is Christian Lalive d'Épinay (1970:60, 80). He also links Pentecostal growth in Chile to urbanization (1970:78-79). However, his interpretation differs from Willems', although he claims to follow Willems (1970:88; see also Fernandes 1977; Tennekes 1985:61-87). The main difference is that Lalive does not emphasize the failure of the rural feudal structure but sees it perpetuated in the urban Pentecostal Church. The Pentecostal pastor (1970: 88, 126-127) assumes the role of the landowner, who, as the patron, decisively determines the life of his clients. The symbolic protest against modern society is a return to the past. For Willems, the Pentecostal Church was a stimulus to democracy and liberalism, for Lalive authoritarianism and political conformism abounded, although he acknowledges the possibility, new to Chilean society, of commoners rising to leadership within the church (1970:147). While Willems has pondered the modern rational nature of Pentecostalism, Lalive is struck by its irrationality. While Willems saw a connection to the values ​​of modern society, Lalive interprets conversion as a break with those values. Consequently, Lalive does not embrace progressive, modernizing and democratizing tendencies, but instead discovers conservatism, feudal continuity and thus support for the political and economic status quo. Modernization and liberalism are excluded. The answer to anomie is largely a reconstruction of the past, not a one-to-one copy, but a reinterpretation. The regained past is religiously legitimized. Lalive speaks explicitly of paradoxes and dialectics (1970: 14, 88-89, 101, 121, 344), e.g. Gramm. between continuity and rupture, authoritarian relationships and equality. Alienation is combated by integration into a community, while at the same time people are cut off from society (cf. Tennekes 1985: 64-69). There is another difference where the positions are reversed, with Willems emphasizing continuity and Lalive pointing out a break. According to Willems, Pentecostalism is a continuation of popular Catholicism and Brazilian millenarianism, while Chilean Pentecostalism is described by Lalive as a cultural island, although serving social assimilation (1970:344). So it can be seen that the similarity in the model does not necessarily lead to common conclusions. It is true that Willems had Brazil in mind at the time


Chapter 12. Paradoxical views of a paradoxical religion

he wrote despite being familiar with the Chilean situation, while Lalive confined his analysis to the Chilean case. The differing results of the studies conducted by Willems and Lalive inspired Judith Hoffnagel to conduct field research at a local Pentecostal church, a branch of the Assemblia de Deus (Assembly of God) in Recife, northeastern Brazil. In his doctoral thesis (1978) concludes that Pentecostalism stimulates individual change but is an obstacle to the transformation of society (1978:5). A notable result of Hoffnagel's (1978: 254-255) study is that in the church she examined, more than half of the immigrant members were already Pentecostal believers before they left their rural region of origin. In addition, most members who had joined the Church while living in Recife had done so after living there for a long period of time. This particular church does not attract the poorest, but what Hoffnagel calls "the successful poor" (1978:256). The upward social mobility of members is not as surprising as Willems predicted, although it is still there. What Hoffnagel did in the Brazilian case can be compared to Hans Tennekes' (1985) study of the Chilean Pentecostals. He also studied local churches, this time in Santiago, to test the theories formulated by Willems and Lalive. His approach was inspired by the work of Poblete (1969; O'Dea and Poblete 1970) who had applied the anomie model to the case of Puerto Rican Pentecostals in New York. What is new about Tennekes' approach is that he does not contrast anomie with community, but with an integrated social structure. A community is only a kind of social structure and therefore not the inevitable result of dismantling anomie. Furthermore, it suggests that one must distinguish between individual anomie and social anomie, and that the two do not necessarily occur together. In attempting to verify the anomie model, Tennekes found that it was difficult to translate general hypotheses into research questions. However, he was able to draw some interesting conclusions. It suggests, for example, that the social characteristics of Pentecostals are not really different from those of the populace: poorer immigrants and newcomers are not over-represented in Pentecostal churches. He describes the Pentecostal movement as an important asset for people's search for meaning and thus as a form of popular piety. He criticizes the interpretation of Pentecostalism as a millennial movement passively looking to the future. Instead, it emphasizes the importance of the radical new life here and now that a convert begins to actively lead. Warns against underestimating the protest

4. Anomie and Pentecostal growth


value of Pentecostalism, although its essence is much more moral than structural and much less political. In terms of political options, Pentecostals are no different from other members of the popular classes, although Pentecostals are less involved in political organizations, mainly for practical reasons. Compared to progressive political parties, Pentecostal churches are much more attractive: popular culture is valued, leaders come from the lower classes, an alternative community is offered, and short-term solutions are available. These benefits, visible to all in democratic times, are evident under repressive political regimes. This is how Pentecostal churches grow even faster. Rubem César Fernandes also commented on the anomie model (1977). He points out that anomie does not refer to a transitional phase in a regular cycle that must be corrected by built-in mechanisms of society, but rather is part of a capitalist economy. It suggests that an evolutionary approach to religion is manifested in the application of the anomie model to Pentecostal believers, as if in the future more secularized, conditioned people, now converted to a Pentecostal church, would become members of a political party or association while authors just as Willems claimed that Pentecostalism helped modernize, the same process is ultimately meant to kill religion, so that Pentecostalism seems to be digging its own grave. Meanwhile it is useful as a remedy for temporary ailments, but in the long run life will be so good that Pentecostalism will lose its function. Like Hoffnagel, Fernandes points out that both second-generation urbanites and rural people are converting to Pentecostalism. Furthermore, although the city cannot be described as a perfectly integrated whole, anomie and social emptiness do not appear as dramatically as the models had predicted (cf. Fry and Howe 1975: 85). Slums are not without clear moral codes, power networks and social stratification. Anyone looking for a “personal community” will find it there. In studying Pentecostalism, therefore, it would be wise to pay attention to networks and courtesy trading (see also Brown 1974: 300-301; 1994: 167-169). A final point Fernandes makes is that the boundaries of religious groups and social categories rarely coincide. Therefore, simple and easy explanations are excluded. Likewise, a reference to class society is not very helpful, since Pentecostal believers belong to different social classes. Also, people from the same class don't necessarily have to have


Chapter 12. Paradoxical views of a paradoxical religion

the same religious preferences. I will return to this point when Howe's work is discussed (see also Fry and Howe 1975). At the end of this section, a preliminary conclusion can be formulated. It can be said that the ideas of the authors who have worked with the anomie model are applicable to certain forms of Pentecostalism and to certain categories of believers. There is no hesitation in saying that some people in the Pentecostal Church find “personal fellowship” and rise socially. However, there are many cases of entry into a Pentecostal church that cannot be explained by appeal to the anomie model. The explanation offered by the model is therefore partial. But even if the anomie model can be used in several cases, critical questions cannot be avoided. One of these questions asks about the implicit visions and metaphors of society and modernization. Society appears like an organism recovering from an illness. It is portrayed as behaving like a person looking for a new balance. Modernization seems to be seen as an inevitable and natural process. But is it really irreversible? For many people in countries like Brazil and Chile, modernization appears like the horizon: the closer you get, the further away you go. Population growth and the unfair distribution of wealth lessen the impact of economic expansion. Another point of criticism relates to the assumed normality of consensus and order. Do the conflicts appear only as a symptom of anomie and do they disappear when anomie ends? Is there really a lack of order in urban spaces? Or is it possible that the neighborhoods will take on village characteristics? A question that can also be asked concerns the value of symbolic protest when actors are unaware of it. Can the inquiry verify the impact of this protest? Or does the scholar act like a ventriloquist? Finally, this approach seeks explanation in factors outside of religion. The specific contents of this religion are hardly considered. Religion, in this case Pentecostalism, seems important only for its contribution to maintaining order and values ​​in society, not as a phenomenon in itself. How people choose between religions with similar functions is not explained. The same type of explanation proposed for Pentecostalism can be found in the literature on another urban Brazilian religion, the Afro-Brazilian spirit medium religion Umbanda. An exception is Willems (1966), who, in a comparison of Pentecostalism, Spiritism and Umbanda, describes Pentecostal churches as more attractive than other Protestant churches.

5. Class and Pentecostal Extension


Churches But here, too, the main concern is what religion does, not what it is.

5. Class and Pentecostal Extension Many of the objections just mentioned were also raised by an author whose work is now under discussion: Francisco Cartaxo Rolim. Starting from a Marxist model with Weberian appendages, he inevitably finds different answers to the questions of the authors who have worked with the anomie model. In fairness, the latter were not totally blind to conflicts of interest, as these conflicts were seen as the cause of anomie. But Rolim's approach leads to a fundamentally different interpretation of social conflict and takes the criticism of the anomie model seriously. Social conflicts are identified not as a confusion of norms and values ​​but as a result of class differences. The so-called stable social relationships, which are considered normal in the anomie model, are described as asymmetrical and fraught with conflict. As long as access to the means of production is not open to all, conflict is the rule and not cohesion. The lack of consensus is not temporary, but permanent and structural. In this approach, religion generally appears, true to Marx, in two ways: first, as a sedative - opiate - and thus as a cause of alienation; secondly and less often as a protest channel. As in the anomie approach, religion is understood functionally and not in terms of content. Such an approach can therefore be just as biased as the anomie approach. The choices oppressed individuals make between religious alternatives cannot be explained. Rolim, starting from class society, goes beyond this bias by linking Marx to Weber (Rolim 1973a, 1973b, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1991, 1995). Interests open the way, but the religious vision directs human action along that path (1991:127). Rolim affirms a dialectical relationship between capitalist society and the Pentecostal vision of the world (1991:128). Consequently, he is not only interested in what religion does, but also what it is. Not only external but also internal factors are taken into account. From his first publications, Rolim has been critical of the anomie approach: showing that Pentecostalism reduces anomie says nothing about the content of that religion. beliefs


Chapter 12. Paradoxical views of a paradoxical religion

and rituals must be integrated into the explanation. The essential point is that Pentecostalism is a religious reaction (1977:13). Like Hoffnagel, Rolim conducted field research on Pentecostalism. His research was conducted in Nova Iguaçu, a suburban city near Rio de Janeiro, in the 1970s. Two-thirds of his respondents had been Catholics before converting to Pentecostalism. Popular Catholicism is good preparation for Pentecostalism (Rolim 1973b; 1980: 178-180; cf. Tennekes 1985: 77-86). In both, salvation is directly accessible, independent of the clergy. It is attained through vows (promessas). Freedom of expression is normal in both types of religiosity. In both cases, practical solutions to problems are achieved with thaumaturgic means. Faith is a personal matter. However, there are also differences. According to the Rolim, the Bible takes the place of the popular saint in the Pentecostal Church. The cult of saints is even fought with reference to the Bible: all believers are saints in principle. The stories in the Bible that reveal the power of God are favorites. Conversion stories, especially when based on a miracle, are seen in the same context. The Bible also provides legitimacy for the commission to preach the gospel, which occurs at the initiative of the individual and at every opportunity. Each new believer is the beginning of a group of at least two. This continuous division of cells (Tennekes 1972:151; 1985:21) contributes to the success of Pentecostalism. Like the anonymous authors, Rolim searches for a connection between social change and Pentecostal growth, and he also refers to migration and urbanization, but in a Marxist version (1985:119). Urban society is characterized by capitalist relations of production, which determine the mode of communication between classes (Rolim 1977: 14; 1980: 163). Pentecostalism must be seen in this context, albeit not in a deterministic way. For Rolim, religion is not just a reflection of class relations. This does not change the fact that, in his opinion, they influence religion (1977: 15). Like Tennekes (1985: 114-121), Rolim sees a close connection between the growth of Pentecostalism and the restriction of political freedom. In a period of democracy when dissatisfaction with capitalist society can be expressed through political channels, Pentecostal growth will stagnate (Rolim 1980:184). In Brazil this happened between 1960 and 1964. When political freedom was restricted for economic and ideological reasons from 1964, the Pentecostal churches resumed their growth (Rolim 1995: 172, 186).

5. Class and Pentecostal Extension


In his own field research, Rolim found that most of the Pentecostals he studied were employed in the tertiary sector, the fastest growing in Brazil's urban work structure. In terms of class, these people belong to what Rolim considers an inappropriate class because it is a middle class; in Poulantzas' terms, the 'new petty bourgeoisie' (quoted in Rolim 1985:139n), neither working class nor middle class (Rolim 1977:15), but in between. In other publications, Rolim speaks of the lower middle class (1980:169; 1985:139-140). Why is Pentecostalism so attractive to this group of people? Rolim's answer is that these people do not take a clear position in the class struggle. Therefore, they are receptive to the perspective of social progress. The ideal and role model of the middle class raises expectations. However, these are not always fulfilled (Rolim 1980: 159). Pentecostalism offers a balance through its moral reformism and efforts at elevation of status. The same mechanism operates in bourgeois circles, and consequently Pentecostalism recruits members there as well. This explanation of class structure does not prevent Rolim from discussing why the compensation is religious in nature. Maintaining the class perspective, an explanation is sought in terms of the free access to religious production characteristic of Pentecostalism. Rolim thus returns to a problem already posed by Weber and reformulated by Bourdieu (1974: 27-98, Rolim 1985: 130-135). In doing so, he avoids and criticizes the simple mirror approach (religion reflects the social situation). In addition, living people of flesh and blood appear behind the social structures and mechanisms. The question is who has the right to be spokesman for a religion. Who can initiate changes in a religion? Who is really in control? Bourdieu, following Marxist economic concepts, describes this problem as the problem of access to religious means of production. In the case of Pentecostalism, surely the ideal answer is that, with the exception of baptism and the Lord's Supper, all members have access (Rolim 1977:17; 1980:150-160) because all are baptized with the Holy Spirit and can act by and with that authority . Pentecostal churches have rediscovered the ministry of all believers. Those who in most Christian churches have been the object of evangelization by a monopolizing and salaried clergy become autonomous subjects of this evangelization in the Pentecostal Church itself. This investment instead of reflection, according to Rolim, is the essence of Pentecostal believers' symbolic protest against society. The current division of labor in society is denied by Pentecostals.


Chapter 12. Paradoxical views of a paradoxical religion

ism. In these churches, those excluded in society from access to the economic means of production become subjects with free access to the religious means of production (1980:171, 173). The reaction to class society is religious because religion allows for this reversal. Glossolalia illustrates this symbolically, for their non-verbality negates the verbality of the learned upper class (1977: 20). In this way, Rolim (1980: 155-160) emphasizes that the criticized world is symbolically represented. Other examples are the tone of sermons expressing an “old-fashioned academy” (1980:155) and the bourgeois suits worn by men in the churches examined by Rolim. The outside world brought to mind in this way is subsequently subjected to reversal and negation through the forms of non-verbal expression and the church-world dualism (1980: 157) typical of a Pentecost service. A well-known paradox presents itself. On the one hand, a basic structure of society is symbolically turned upside down and thus denied. On the other hand, the Pentecostal Church uses values ​​that are highly valued in class society: moral reformism and careerism. Thus, despite all criticism of a sinful world, Pentecostal believers, guided by a special reading of Romans 13, prove themselves to be good citizens and good workers of that very world. This means that the capitalist relations of production are accepted. Rolim (1977: 20) calls this ideological dependence. Nevertheless, there were examples of protest actions led by Pentecostal believers that were more than symbolic (Kamsteeg 1995, 1998; Novaes 1985; Rolim 1985: 85-89, 244-251; 1987: 70-90; 1995: 66ff; Tennekes 1985 : 116-120; see also Hoekstra 1998). Summarizing Rolim's contribution, his approach refutes some of the objections raised when discussing the anomie approach. He makes a serious attempt to integrate the specifics of Pentecostal belief and practice into his explanation. It is clear that he regards Pentecostalism as a religious phenomenon and does not limit himself to what religion does. It offers illuminating analyzes of the production of religion in Pentecostalism and its continuity with the popular Catholic past. However, some questions can be raised. When Rolim characterizes the Pentecostal believers he studies as belonging to a kind of inappropriate middle class, he appears to adhere to a dual model of society. If this is the case, one can raise doubts about the validity of such a model. While the anomie model was determined by the metaphor of the organism, here social reality is reduced to a metaphor of

6. Failed modernization and Pentecostal growth


Pyramid layers and dualism. What is the explanatory value of belonging to a certain class? Rolim specifically says that he wants to avoid determinism. If it continues to label tertiary workers as an inappropriate class, one may wonder what the point of this approach is. Another question relates to the fact that Rolim's research and perspective is urban. Of the kind of relationships his class model identifies, the best examples are urban. When the framework for Pentecostal growth is not urban, the question of the value of the class model becomes even more relevant. Another problem is that what Rolim describes in terms of investment and protest is difficult to put into practice. Hence the proof is difficult. The statements of the respondents can hardly confirm or refute these statements.

6. Pentecostalism's Failed Modernization and Growth A further illustration of both the paradoxical nature of Pentecostalism and the models used to explain its growth can be found in two articles by Gary Howe (1977; 1980). Howe was mentioned when I referred to an article he co-wrote with Peter Fry (1975), which can be read as a prelude to the other two. Like Rolim, Howe strives to incorporate the religious content of Pentecostalism into his explanation. In his 1977 article, Howe places Brazilian Pentecostalism in its economic, political, and social context. According to him, the basic relationships are those between capital and labor and between the state and the citizen. Economically, goods for export and for the national market are produced by a capitalist mode of production. Industrialization aims to replace Brazil's monoculture-based agricultural export economy. At the same time, a powerful bureaucratic state is being formed at the political level, the purpose of which is to oversee the economic process. Socially, the trend is toward individualization, emphasizing both responsibility and subjection of the person. In short, the new situation is characterized by the concentration of economic and political power, strict rules in the production process and in the state, and individual subjugation. Howe finds these three characteristics reflected in Pentecostalism. This religion is therefore perfectly adapted to the new situation. There is a parallel between social developments and the content of the Pentecostal faith. From the perspective of believers, power is concentrated in the hands of an almighty God. They submit to this god and to a strict moral code.


Chapter 12. Paradoxical views of a paradoxical religion

The paradox is that they deviate from society and yet adapt (1977:42). Howe admits that this is an "ideal-typical" picture and an oversimplification of reality (1977:46). In his 1980 article he shows the other side of the picture and thus the ambiguity of the situation and its interpretation. Combining the modernization approach with the so-called dependency theory, Howe's thesis is that Brazil is changing but not modernizing. This also implies a critique of the Willems model discussed above. For Howe, the Third World is, by definition, the periphery of the First World. In this role, you will never fully modernize. The history of the First World cannot be repeated in the Third. The latter lacks a periphery of its own unless it is within the country itself: the slums. In any case, the process called modernization is actually an incorporation into a capitalist economy dominated by the First World (cf. Rolim 1980: 178). Howe also points out that there are multiple and very different religions in Brazil. Even if it is accepted that they all reflect the modernization of society, the differences need to be explained. Thus the two religions, Pentecostalism and Umbanda, which have been the most widespread and almost parallel in the 20th century, have similar functions, but they are opposites in their beliefs and practices. This is evident from the vehemence with which Pentecostal preachers condemn Umbanda as devilish. In this sense, the relationship is asymmetrical: the umbandistas are much more tolerant. Like the Pentecostals, the Umbandistas accept God as the supreme being, but the many deities and spirits of diverse origins that manifest through the mediums' trance are far more important. There is no strict ethical system. Instead, spontaneous negotiations with the holy powers are emphasized. The type of power and how to approach it depends on the problem to be solved. This may include intent to harm the people believed to be the cause of the problem. Because problem solving is so central, a person seeking relief usually only participates in rituals until the problem is satisfactorily resolved. Few attain mediumship because of the treatment they receive. Mediums form the hard core of Umbanda temples. The audience is characterized by a large turnover. In stark contrast to Pentecostal preachers, umbanda mediums do not seek to bind their clients in an exclusive, total, "eternal," committed relationship. He

6. Failed modernization and Pentecostal growth


Visitors to the Umbanda Temple use the network it provides manipulatively and strategically and disappear after being helped. Comparing the two opposing religions raises the question of whether all religions reflect modernization equally. The model of a deterministic reflex with one-way causality is therefore on the brink. Howe finds a way out of this impasse by abandoning the idea that modernization is a coherent process. The three characteristics of modernization - concentration of economic and political power, strict rules in the production process and in the state and individual subjugation - have their downsides in nepotism, clientelism, regionalism, corruption, nepotism, personal networking and improvisation that has never happened before. Ultimately, there is the contrast between favors and rights (and duties!), between manipulation and law. Howe (1980) connects this dichotomy with that raised in his previous article between the traditional rural oligarchies, the manipulators, and the new industrial bourgeoisie, the bureaucrats. Howe draws inspiration for this type of claim from the work of the Brazilian anthropologist Roberto DaMatta, who has written extensively on what he calls "the Brazilian dilemma" (1973, 1979, 1985, 1986a, 1986b, 1991). Howe and his colleague Peter Fry had used DaMatta's interpretation in an article (1975) in which they raised the question of why some urban immigrants choose Umbanda and others choose Pentecostalism. According to the anomie model, if the two religions have the same functions (Willems 1966:208; Camargo 1973:184), then what motivates a person's preference for one of the two? Howe and Fry suggested that Pentecostalism represents rules, laws and duties, while Umbanda represents the manipulative and improvisational pole. The Pentecostals are loyal to the church, to the group, the umbandista clients to the individual environment. The Pentecostal system of symbols is ordered and fixed, that of Umbanda malleable and manipulable. To use an economic metaphor: it depends on the biography and personal strategy of the migrant where he will invest and what the balance between effort and result is (Fry and Howe 1975: 83-85). The two religions meet the same demand but with different offerings. Acknowledging that this does not do much to explain the beliefs and rituals of the two religions (Fry and Howe 1975:89), the two authors point out that the effectiveness of the symbols used depends on the person's personal biography and social experience . Person. Immigrant. These affect the meaning people attach to symbols (see eg Burdick 1993; Ireland 1991; Mariz 1994). It is as if God and the deities, the spirit and the spirits became part of the whole


Chapter 12. Paradoxical views of a paradoxical religion

Networks of people and are used in the same way: observance of the norms and laws (Pentecostalism) or manipulation and improvisation (Umbanda). Thus, hypothetically, people from a “bureaucratic” social background will prefer Pentecostalism, while “manipulative” people will choose Umbanda (Fry and Howe 1975:90-91). Pentecostalism represents a successful modernization, Umbanda a failed one. Similarly, in comparing Pentecostalism and Umbanda, Howe (1980) makes a virtue of necessity and advocates a double reflection of society in religion, which represents the two sides of the Brazilian dilemma and hence the Brazilian dilemma: failed modernization process. Historically, the new industrial bourgeoisie has had to yield to the demands of the traditional oligarchy. Although modernization had been introduced as official policy since the 1930s, in practice it was rendered innocuous by any concessions made to the traditional elite. In Howe's (1980:135) view, the failure of modernization implies that Umbanda tends to be the norm and Pentecostalism the exception. Pentecostals are too modern for Brazilian society. They refuse to play the game of manipulation and are therefore vulnerable to abuse, particularly in their relationships with employers and the state. As ingenious as this solution may be, there are some critical questions that need to be asked. Does this hypothesis really take religious content into account or is it just a variation of the anomie and reflection model? Aren't religious attitudes portrayed as social attitudes in disguise? Isn't the whole argument an example of the chicken and egg problem? Where does the argument begin: on the demand side, influenced by biography and social experience, or on the supply side, as suggested by Pentecostal preachers and Umbandist media? Are the Pentecostals successful participants in the modernization process while the Umbandistas are losers? As in the case of Rolim, the hypothetical connections between religious and social processes are difficult to operationalize. The parallels depend on theoretical assumptions. Why isn't the industrial bourgeoisie fully Pentecostal and the traditional oligarchy Umbandista? Here, too, the question arises as to the importance of economic modernity or dependence as factors in explaining religion. Howe's approach does not escape determinism and reductionism. Finally, Pentecostals have their experiences of manipulation, evidenced by the domestic politics, scandals, and divisions of their churches. Likewise, the Umbandistas have bureaucratic leanings, as evidenced by the formation of regional and even national federations.

7. Conclusion


7. Conclusion In this chapter, two paths were taken at the same time: that of the spread of the Pentecostal movement and that of the social-scientific explanation of this phenomenon. Particular attention was paid to the contradiction and paradox in both tracks. First, an inventory of the alternatives and contradictions was made. As the chapter progressed, it became clear how the authors developed their own preferences, rarely extreme but always selective, regarding the options available. Researchers, like the researched, try to give meaning, to produce meaning. This process of signification creates identity. In both science and religion, identity often seems to be based on the one-sided selection of characteristics. It turned out that the two inventories of investigators and examined were linked. A scholar's choice of a particular feature in a theoretical model of society often results in an emphasis on a particular aspect of Pentecostalism. Thus, when Lalive (1970:14) opts for the element of continuity while acknowledging flaws in the religious landscape, he cannot help but emphasize the hierarchical tendency in Pentecostalism. Rolim also starts from conflict and protest, and so he analyzes the emotional freedom, the reversal of the relations of production and the symbolic protest of glossolalia as worthy of our special attention. The other authors and their points of view can also be located anywhere in the two inventories. One might surmise that the variety of models has contributed to a focus on contradictions in Pentecostalism. Anyone looking for regularity - and that's what scientific work is all about - doesn't like contradictions. The latter are a complication in the educational work. Logical consistency is the rule, contradiction is the deviation. Being called contradictory is a derogatory name. If an academic's model makes hierarchy the norm, he will experience egalitarian tendencies as contradictory. When the emphasis is on order and consensus, you will find emotional freedom unsettling. It is only when an eclectic attitude is adopted that paradoxes are no longer problematic because they are then seen as the result of a partial and one-sided explanation. This bias is not only based on scientific preferences, but can also have ideological connotations and reflect a particular worldview. Scholars, although trained to produce objective knowledge, are characterized by their context. The study of culture is itself a cultural phenomenon. A surprised reaction to discover the Pentecostal faith


Chapter 12. Paradoxical views of a paradoxical religion

People who are not of the world but are still in the world can be based on a personal option for socially engaged Christianity. Similarly, puzzlement at the paradox of the support of military dictatorships by apolitical Pentecostal pastors may reveal the author's view that a church should always resist dictators, or that the advice in Romans 13 to respect authority need not be read literally. It seems, then, that the overexposure of paradoxical features in Pentecostalism can be attributed, at least in part, to the opinions of scholars. This does not mean that the approaches described above can be thrown away. While it seemed appropriate to ask critical questions about each of the models, it was also shown that each has its positive aspects. Each author contributed an essential element to the still incomplete mosaic.

8. Epilogue 1996 The three models just discussed represent approaches that belong to a certain phase in the history of the social sciences. That's not to say they had their moment; on the contrary, they are part of the eclectic approach advocated in this article. They should, however, be supplemented by a few brief remarks on the programmatic relevance of some recent theoretical perspectives to the study of Pentecostalism and its growth, especially since these approaches are more eclectic and consequently seem to take greater account of the paradoxical. This section contains brief references to practice theory, cognitive anthropology, globalization, gender approaches, and postmodernism. In each specific case, it is necessary to consider the extent to which these perspectives can be applied and integrated into a theoretical framework that adapts to the specifics of the case under study. If a synthesis is achieved, it might indicate a monoparadigmatic approach, but in itself be the beginning of a new eclectic cycle. Theoretical insights, as presented below, are primarily of heuristic value and draw attention to aspects that appear promising for future research. When proceeding this way, some approaches may be of little value while others are of great help, all depending on the particular case and investigator. It goes without saying that each perspective has its own concepts and metaphors and therefore appears unique to construct scientific knowledge. Therefore, it may not be easy to integrate perspectives into a single framework. However, in a dialectic movement

8. Epilogue 1996


A certain degree of scientific syncretism can be achieved between induction and deduction. The eclecticism represented here is practical in nature, leading to a temporary synthesis, but is always provisional in nature. The first of the perspectives to be mentioned, the theory of practice, exists in such a variety of forms that it can hardly be considered a paradigm or a school. However, some common traits can be distinguished as a sort of family resemblance between them. The central question is how actors and structures are related. By answering this question, a one-sided attitude is avoided. Practice theorists attempt to move beyond the well-known dichotomies and paradoxes which, as we have seen, have also troubled the social science study of Pentecostal churches. In this way they look for the delicate and complex connection between actors and structures and try to show how actors are influenced by social and symbolic structures and at the same time change these structures. In this way, attention is paid both to regularization processes that confirm and reproduce existing structures and to situational adaptation processes in which events generate behaviors that bring about structural changes (Moore 1977; see also Ortner 1984; Sahlins 1985). Over time, people understand what is happening to them, whether they are reproducing or changing structures. Research must have a historical dimension and processes of power must be considered. Pentecostalism in the Latin American context offers a striking example of this process. Believers see conversion as a radical change; Social scientists would speak of a structural change. The convert takes on new social and symbolic structures. Certain events, often related to the resolution of cognitive and material problems, lead the potential convert in this direction. We are only just beginning to understand the complexity of these personal processes and strategies. Structural change is taking place not only on an individual level, but also in society. Structural changes in society pose problems for people and inspire and even compel them to find a solution to their problems. Wherever individual and social regularization processes fail to combat indeterminacy, processes of situational adaptation do occur (Moore 1977). What is happening in the religious sphere is a more specific example of this: when the common family solutions of popular and official Catholicism do not solve the problems, alternatives such as Pentecostal become attractive. As a religious movement, Pentecostalism has its own social and symbolic structures that contain aspects that attract people. In other words, Pentecostalism should not be explained solely by external factors and reduced to a reflection of society.


Chapter 12. Paradoxical views of a paradoxical religion

social tendencies or religious competition. The internal process needs to be examined in detail and in context. Power within the groups studied and in their social context is an important aspect of such studies. Cognitive anthropology can be seen as a useful tool for this type of study of Pentecostal practice. The central question is how people organize their broader knowledge, including emotion, in a cultural context. This in turn includes the relationship between the actor and the structure, because people internalize the structures through cognitive processes and reinterpret them. Cognitive processes are rooted in experience, including physical experience. Humans use schemas consisting of cognitive elements in their simple and simplified form, summarized enough to be remembered. These schemes are completed in daily practice. Humans not only think syntagmatically, putting cognitive elements into a discursive order, but also have a paradigmatic ability through which they can consult and manipulate multiple schemas simultaneously. In studying Pentecostalism, attention must be paid to the actual schemas and also to the manner in which they are used. The conversion is of course a complete basic scheme in each individual case. But there are other schemas and cognitive processes that are learned, reproduced, and reinterpreted in Pentecostal life, including the emotional dimensions. They often have to do with problem solving and physical experiences. Dualism is an example of a way of organizing knowledge about society. The manner in which healing occurs is another example of a set of schemas. The charismatic gifts of glossolalia and prophecy also represent schemas. In general, the schemas in Pentecostalism are dramatic in character. These schemes must be compared with those characteristic of popular religion, especially popular Catholicism. A cognitive approach to Pentecostalism, despite the religion's reputation for rigidity and inflexibility, will reveal aspects of its dynamics. With regard to globalization, the central question is which trends are taking place worldwide. Globality is the awareness of the world as a whole, as a single place (Robertson 1992: 6). This perspective looks beyond modernization as a process of Westernization. Particular attention is paid to the processes affecting all societies, including Western societies. Globalization works on a supranational level, across national borders. Culture is being deterritorialized, which is already visible in the media and communication technologies. Although globalization theories focus on the global level, the parallel question arises as to how these global influences can be transferred to the local level. Some speak of glocalization

8. Epilogue 1996


(Robertson 1992:173). It is also clear that fragmentation is occurring at the local level at the same time, often motivated by ethnic and religious motives, as when former states collapse and fall apart. For religion, globalization means not only privatization and secularization, but also new possibilities for religiosity, most clearly in the spread of fundamentalism (Beyer 1994). For the study of Pentecostalism in the Latin American context, the perspective of globalization suggests that the movement is not only growing through the influence of the North Atlantic, a thesis that Stoll (1990) has critically examined, but that it is largely part of a global one Movement. Martin (1990; 1994) contrasts the Pentecostal expansion in Latin America with Methodist growth as an expression, partly endogenous, of liberal pluralism ending Catholic monopoly and creating free social space. His approach resembles Willems' anomie interpretation of Latin American Pentecostalism by linking it to global processes. The perspective of globalization points to another aspect: Pentecostals feel part of a world movement, a real transnational corporation. They will phrase this in religious terms as the coming of the Kingdom. The aforementioned Universal Church of the Kingdom of God in Brazil is a good example, as it is a “Southern” initiative that now has branches in dozens of other countries, including “Northern” nations. He is also known for his media and electronic device skills. The theory of globalization provides a framework that cannot be neglected when examining Pentecostal expansion in Latin America. Gender approaches represent a shift from feminist and women's studies to the exploration of cultural definitions of the relationship between men and women, men and men, and women and women. Gay studies form a specialized branch of gender studies. The focus is no longer on what defines women as a category, but on the difference between women. Gender is viewed as continuously constructed and reconstructed, as the subject of a process of symbolization and meaning making. Given that Latin American Pentecostalism attracts many more women than men and, paradoxically, is almost exclusively male-led, gendered approaches should be included in the toolkit that can be used to study Pentecostal expansion. Pentecostals generally condemn homosexual behavior, so a homosexual study perspective should be added to this toolkit. A gender approach must include a critical reference to the stereotype of religion in Latin America as a women's issue. The approaches discussed in this article can be reconsidered with regard to the gender dimension. A situation of anomie requires a redefinition of gender roles and


Chapter 12. Paradoxical views of a paradoxical religion

the corresponding values ​​and standards. Pentecostal churches can offer stability by preserving traditions and can also offer new leadership opportunities for women. Modernization can also be examined from a gender perspective, especially with regard to the changed position of women in the economic process and its consequences for Pentecostal women. Finally, postmodernism should be mentioned. In some respects it is similar to the eclectic approach proposed here. He deeply distrusts every exclusive and final framework of orientation and explanation, especially that of modernity. It presents a fragmented reality and the knowledge of that reality even more fragmented. Consensus is difficult to achieve as knowledge is always in the ebb and flow. The representation of reality is therefore problematic and always incomplete. In a more constructive way, this has expanded the range of literary forms available to authors of research reports. The text has become an important metaphor of postmodernism. A postmodernist approach can contribute to the investigation of the Pentecostal expansion by relativizing one-sided approaches. If something can be said, the student's speech should be in the plural. This is an argument for an eclectic approach and freedom in the literary implementation of the research results (see, for example, Guerrero 1995). Moreover, postmodernism's bitter critique of the modernization project may compel us to reconsider explanations of Pentecostal expansion that relate to modernization theories. Finally, through its critique of positivist concepts of science, postmodernism indirectly rehabilitates worldviews that do not obey the criteria of these concepts. Although postmodernism is critical of all-encompassing views, including religious ones, it relativizes the opposition between science and religion and reveals the general incompleteness of knowledge in both. This may lead to a radical shift in the attitude of those Pentecostal scholars who are interested in their attractive irrationality, no longer seeing them as a strange and extraordinary phenomenon, but as something normal and ordinary and therefore attractive to many people. .

Acknowledgments I would like to thank the members of the Pentecostalism study group at the University of Vrije for their comments on an earlier draft of this chapter.



References Alexander, Jeffrey C. (1990). Analytical Debates: Understanding Relative Culture. In: Jeffrey C. Alexander and Steven Seidman (eds.) (1990). Culture and society: contemporary debates. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 1-27. Baal, J. van (1971). Symbols for Communication: An Introduction to Anthropological Religious Studies. Assen: Van Gorcum. Beyer, Peter (1994). religion and globalization. London: Wise. Bonilla, Plutarco (ed.) (1985). Pentecostalism and Liberation Theology. Pastoralia, 7(15), 7 – 111. Boudewijnse, Barbara, André Droogers and Frans Kamsteeg (eds.) (1991). Something More Than Opium: An Anthropological Reading of Latin American and Caribbean Pentecostalism. San Jose, Costa Rica: DEI. Barbara Boudewijnse, André Droogers and Frans Kamsteeg (eds.) (1998). More than Opium: An Anthropological Approach to Latin American and Caribbean Pentecostalism. Lanham and London: Scarecrow Press. Bourdieu, Pierre (1974). The economy gives symbolic deals. Sao Paulo: Perspective, 1974. Brown, Diana DeGroat (1974). Umbanda: Politics of an Urban Religious Movement. Ann Arbor, Mich.: Xerox University Microfilms. Brown, Diana DeGroat (1994), Umbanda: Religion and Politics in Urban Brazil. New York: Columbia University Press. Burdick, John (1993). Seeking God in Brazil: The Progressive Catholic Church in the Religious Area of ​​Urban Brazil. Berkeley, California: University of California Press. Camargo, Cándido Procópio Ferreira de (ed.) (1973). Catholics, Protestants, Spiritualists. Petropolis: votes. Da Matta, Roberto (1973). Essays on structural anthropology. Petropolis: votes. Da Matta, Roberto (1979). Carnival, Bats and Wounds: For a Sociology of the Brazilian Dilemma. Rio de Janeiro: Zahar. Da Matta, Roberto (1985). A casa e a rua: EspaÅo, ciudadania, mulher e morte no Brasil. Sao Paulo: Brazilse, 1985. DaMatta, Roberto (1986a). ExploraÅes: Essays in interpretative sociology. Rio de Janeiro: Rock. Da Matta, Roberto (1986b). Or which face or Brazil, Brazil? Rio de Janeiro: Rock. Da Matta, Roberto (1991). Carnival, villains and heroes: an interpretation of the Brazilian dilemma. Notre Dame and London: University of Notre Dame Press. Dominguez, Enrique, and Deborah Huntington (1984). The Agents of Salvation: Conservative Evangelicals in Central America. Nacla Report on the Americas, 17(1), 2-36. Droogers, André (1985). From waste production to recycling: a plea for an eclectic use of models in the study of religious change. In: Wim van Binsbergen and Matthew Schoffeleers (eds.) (1985). Theoretical investigations in African religion. London: KPI, p. 101-137 Fernandes, Rubem C. (1977). Or debate between sociologists about two Pentecostals. Cadernos do ISER, 6, 49 – 60.


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Fernndez, James W. (1986). Beliefs and Achievements: The Game of Tropics in Culture. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Fry, Peter H and Gary N Howe (1975). Two Answers to Fear: Umbanda and Pentecostalism. Debate and Criticism, 6, 75-94 Guerrero J. Bernardo (1995). 'Pray to God...': Pentecostals in Aymara society in the great north of Chile. Amsterdam: VU University Press. Hoekstra, Angela (1998). Rural Pentecostalism in Pernambuco (Brazil): More than a symbolic protest. In: Barbara Boudewijnse, André Droogers and Frans Kamsteeg (eds.) (1998). More than Opium: An Anthropological Approach to Latin American and Caribbean Pentecostalism. Lanham and London: Scarecrow Press, pp. 145-167. Hoffnagel, Judith Chambliss (1978). The Believers: Pentecostal Movement in a Brazilian City. Ann Arbor, Mich.: Xerox University Microfilms. (1977). Religious representations and capitalism: a structuralist "reading" of Pentecostalism in Brazil. ISER Notebooks, 6, 39-48. Howe, Gary N. (1980). Capitalism and Religion in the Periphery: Pentecostalism and Umbanda in Brazil. In: Stephen D. Glazier (ed.) (1980). Perspectives on Pentecostalism: Case Studies from the Caribbean and Latin America. Washington, DC: University Press of America. Ireland, Rowan (1991). Kingdoms Come: Religion and Politics in Brazil. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: University of Pittsburgh Press. Kamsteeg, Franz (1995). Prophetic Pentecostalism in Chile: A Case Study in Religion and Development Policy. Amsterdam: Vrije Universiteit. Kamsteeg, Franz (1998). Prophetic Pentecostalism in Chile: A Case Study in Religion and Development Policy. Lanham and London: Scarecrow Press. Lalive d'Epinay, Christian (1970). The refuge of the masses: a sociological study of Chilean Protestantism. Rio de Janeiro: Peace and Earth. Lalive d'Epinay, Christian (1977). Religion, Spirituality, and Society: A Sociological Study of Latin American Pentecostalism. Cadernos do ISER, 6, 5-10. Marcus, George E. and Michael M.J. Fischer (1986). Anthropology as cultural criticism: an experimental moment in the humanities. Chicago and London: Chicago University Press. Mariz, Cecilia Loreto (1994). Dealing with Poverty: Pentecostals and Basic Christian Churches in Brazil. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. Martin, David (1990). Tongues of Fire: The Explosion of Protestantism in Latin America. Oxford: Blackwell. Martin, David (1994). Evangelical and Charismatic Christianity in Latin America. In: Karla Poewe (ed.) (1994). Charismatic Christianity as Global Culture. Columbia, South Carolina: University of South Carolina Press, pp. 73-86 Moore, Sally Falk (1997). Epilogue: uncertainties in situations, uncertainties in culture. In: Sally Falk Moore and Barbara G. Myerhoff (eds.) (1977). Symbol and Politics in Communal Ideology: Cases and Questions. Ithaca, New York and London: Cornell University Press, pp. 210-239. Novaes, Regina (1985). The elect of God: Pentecostals, workers and the citizenry. Sao Paulo: Ground Zero (ISER 19 Notebooks).



O'Dea, Thomas F. and Renato Poblete (1970). The anomie and the "search for community": cult formation among New York Puerto Ricans. In: Thomas F. O'Dea (ed.) (1970). Sociology and Religious Studies: Theory, Research, Interpretation. New York and London: Basic Books, 1970. Ortner, Sherry B. (1984). Theory in anthropology since the 1960s. Comparative Studies in Society and History, 26(1), 126-166. Poblete, Renato (1996). Puerto Rican sectarianism. Cuernavaca: CIDOC (Surveys No. 55). Poewe, Karla (ed.) (1994). Charismatic Christianity as World Culture. Columbia, South Carolina: University of South Carolina Press. Robertson, Roland (1992). Globalization: Social Theory and Global Culture. London: Sage. Rolim, Francis Carthage (1973a). Protestant expansion in Nova Iguaçu. Brazilian Ecclesiastical Journal, 33(131), 660-675. Rolim, Francis Cartaxo (1973b). Pentecostal movement. Brazilian Ecclesiastical Journal, 33(132), 950-964. Rolim, Francis Cartaxo (1977). Consciously Protestant Pentecostal movement. ISER Notebooks, 6, 11-20. Rolim, Francis Cartaxo (1979). Pentecostalism and Society in Brazil. Social Compass, 26(2–3), 345–372. Religion1⁄4o and folk classes. Petropolis: votes. Rolim, Franz Karthago (1981). Origins of Pentecostalism in Brazil. Brazilian Ecclesiastical Journal, 41(161), 119-140. Rolim, Francisco Cartaxo (1982). Pentecostal Churches. Brazilian Ecclesiastical Journal, 42(165), 29-60. Rolim, Francis Cartaxo (1985). Pentecost in Brazil: A socio-religious interpretation. Petropolis: votes. Rolim, Franz Karthago (1987). Or which Pentecostal movement. São Paulo: Brazilian (First Steps 188). Rolim, Franz Karthago (1991). Popular religion and Pentecostalism. In: James van Nieuwenhove and Berma Klein Goldewijk (eds.) (1991). Popular religion, liberation and contextual theology. Campaign: Koch, pp. 126–137. Rolim, Francis Carthage (1995). Pentecostalism: Brazil and Latin America. Petropolis: votes. Sahlins, Marshall (1985). islands of history. London: Tavistock. Souza, Beatrice Muniz (1969). The salvaÅ1⁄4o experience: Pentecost in S1⁄4o Paulo. Sao Paulo: Two Cities. Stoll, David (1990). Is Latin America becoming Protestant? The Politics of Evangelical Growth. Berkeley, California: University of California Press. Tennekes, John (1972). The Pinkster Movement in Chile: An Experiment. World and Behavior, 1(2), 148–163. Tennekes, John (1985). Pentecostalism in Chilean Society. Iquique: CIREN. Valderrey, Joseph (1985). The Sect in Central America: A Pastoral Problem. Bulletin Pro Mundi Vita, 100, 1-43.


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Willemier Westra, Allard Dirk (1987). AxÞ, Struggle for Life: The Use of Symbols in the Candoml Religion in Alagoinhas (Bahia, Brazil). Amsterdam: CEDLA. Willems, Emily (1964). Protestantism and cultural change in Brazil and Chile. In: W. d'Antonio and F.B. Pike (ed.) (1964). Religion, Revolution and Reform. New York: Praeger, pp. 101–111. 91-108. Willems, Emily (1966). Religious mass movements and social change in Brazil. In: E.N. Bucklanoff (ed.) (1966). New perspectives from Brazil. Nashville, Tennessee: Vanderbilt University Press, pp. 101–111. 205-232. Willems, Emily (1967). followers of the new faith. Nashville, Tennessee: Vanderbilt University Press. Yinger, J.Milton, (1970). The scientific study of religion. New York and London: Macmillan and Collier.

Chapter 13 Globalization and Pentecostal Success 1. Introduction The feature of Pentecostalism that seems to have attracted the most attention is its rapid spread. The interpretations given to the Pentecostal expansion varied according to each author's paradigmatic preference. For example, some have worked from a modernization perspective (Pentecostals are good citizens of modern society), while others have taken a neo-Marxist starting point (Pentecostals seek liberation from oppression or resist it in their own way). In the 1990s, partly as an evolution and modification of earlier approaches, the notion of globalization came to the fore (Pentecostalism thrives in, or is even part of, the conditions that globalization creates). In any case, both now and in the past, whatever theoretical framework is used, more attention is paid to factors outside of Pentecostalism itself. Only rarely are the peculiarities of the Pentecostal movement taken into account and a more idiosyncratic explanation sought. In this chapter I use the cultural anthropology of religion as a disciplinary frame of reference to consider the inner religious characteristics of Pentecostalism and its articulation within the outer circumstances of globalization. I propose this because I believe that if the starting point of analysis is the dominant external social processes, we can never do justice to the specifics of a particular religion such as Pentecostalism. These social processes often affect other religions as well, whether they grow or not, and the specifics of a particular religious situation are often not adequately explained in light of these external processes alone. I propose that the search for a fuller explanation of the spread of these religions must start from the specifics of a particular religion and proceed from there to influence and articulation with external social processes. Only in such a case can it be clarified why there are different religious reactions to similar events and why a


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A new follower is more likely to choose one of the religions on the market than another (see Fry and Howe 1975).

2. Some theoretical questions Even if religious specifics are in the foreground of the analyses, the complex nature of the relationship between religion and society must also be taken into account. The claim to take religion itself as a starting point does not necessarily imply a one-way causal relationship between the religious and the social, even in a religion like Pentecostalism, with its well-defined boundaries and high degree of autonomy. , or even an oppositional relationship in relation to the surrounding culture and society. Any religion can both influence and be influenced by non-religious social processes; Likewise, there may be some degree of correlation or complementarity between religion and social processes. So my aim is not to prove that Pentecostalism is an internally driven phenomenon, unconstrained by external social conditions surrounding it. That would be as one-sided as a sociological reductionism of religious expansion to the same social conditions, in this case globalization. The rejection of either form of unilateral explanation means that a point of view has to be developed about the mutual implications of the interaction between religion and society. This would amount to summarizing the entire history of the discipline of anthropology (and sociology) of religion, a task well beyond my scope here. However, in light of recent reflections, I think some useful remarks can be made (cf. Hall and Du Gay 1996, Holland et al. 1998, Keesing 1994, Ortner 1984, Strauss and Quinn 1994, 1997). For as long as the discipline has existed, cultural anthropology has struggled with its self-imposed distinctions. The basic questions posed here are: How does the autonomy of cultures relate to the contact between them? how to reconcile the order and continuity guaranteed by a cultural framework with disruption and change; Does culture make people (a culturalist view) or make people culture (a constructivist view); to what extent is a culture homogeneous; How are the universal human and the particular cultural related? These general questions apply not only to cultures but also to religions, including Pentecostalism, especially when examining their connection to the globalization process. Of course, more specific questions can be added, particularly with regard to religion's relationship to the social and cultural context.

2. Some theoretical questions


Does religion reflect and oblige the society around it or does it contradict its basic values? Was this position inspired by religious beliefs and experiences? Does it determine the identity of its followers or is there room for personal initiative? As Pentecostalism spreads to other cultures, how does its specific character relate to that of those other cultures and to human nature in general? And how does this relate to the internal organization of this religion? In the culturalist perspective, culture - including religion as a cultural phenomenon - is seen as a more or less fixed and autonomous set of ideas and actions shared by and socialized by the members of a human group. It guarantees continuity and order and facilitates the identification of the individual group members with their core ideas and values, with their standardized behavior and with their group colleagues. Correspondingly, identity is understood, essentialistically, as a constant and consistent self-understanding, as the hard core of the cultural personality. Since Pentecostalism is often portrayed as strict and even fundamentalist and as shaping the way of life, a culturalist approach may seem appropriate at first glance. However, in the globalizing framework of the current situation, the borders of these autonomous cultures are becoming more and more perforated. One could even say that religions have played an important role in breaking cultural boundaries, spreading their messages to people from cultures not previously associated with them primarily. In any case, the times of ostentatious cultural isolation, if they ever existed, are finally over. It follows that a constructivist critique of the culturalist vision is commendable because it does justice to individual initiatives and global change, just as it also points to dynamism, flexibility and difference. Depending on the context, people construct their identities in non-essentialistic and strategic ways, using elements of multiple selves and a wide repertoire of scripts, nowadays cross-culturally (Friedman 1994, Hall and Du Gay 1996). It is understood, therefore, that cultural reality is in a constant state of flux and fragmentation, with an ever-expanding library of scripts. The new religions, including Pentecostalism, add their own hyphens, as do all other partners in the globalization process. However, this constructivism must not go to the other extreme, where everything is in upheaval and deep chaos. Order and dynamism, culturalism and constructivism should therefore be part of a framework that can serve to clarify the relationship between them


Chapter 13. Globalization and Pentecostal Success

between religion and society. In the case under study, this means that Pentecostalism should not be thought of as a phenomenon with a constant, more or less fixed, autonomous position, or as a religion in constant adaptation and change. Instead, we must seek unity in diversity and diversity in unity. Likewise, Pentecostals should not be viewed as people with a fixed religious position or as advocates of adjustment to changing circumstances. It is much more a matter of studying the localized form that basic Pentecostalism takes in particular cases. There is also a comment on the relationship between the actors and their social context. Neither the one-sided determinism of culturalism nor the equally one-sided voluntarism of constructivism offer much help in understanding how Pentecostal actors operate in the globalized world. These protagonists are both constrained and empowered by their social context; they submit to socialization and social control, act idiosyncratically and can thus take innovative initiatives that attract others and can ultimately change the restrictive structures, be they symbolic or social. On a much broader scale, the processes of globalization have led to renewed attention to the tension between the common and the particular, between the universally human and the specifically cultural. Obviously, if all people in the world were subject to the same global processes, what is common to all humanity would receive more attention than what is purely cultural. The contact between people of different cultures opens up the source of common humanity. While both the culturalist and constructivist approaches seem to emphasize the particular, whether at the cultural or actor level, there will always be a need to also consider the common human element. In the case of the Pentecostal movement, this element is important because, for example, trance-like phenomena also occur in other religions and yet remain typically Pentecostal due to their special characteristics. Just as human cultural talent can only be observed in real cultures, the general human can only be examined in the context of its concrete manifestations. Attempts to examine the ways in which universal human potential is used and interpreted do not in any way contradict the approach advocated earlier in this chapter, which is to begin an explanation of Pentecostal growth in terms of its own distinctive religious characteristics.

3. Some Common Features


3. Some Commonalities Despite the apparent diversity in the Pentecostal world, which I will discuss in the next section, something can be said in a more general, more or less "culturalist" way about the common features of Pentecostalism. This is especially true when the ultimate goal is to understand Pentecostal expansion in the context of globalization and in relation to its internal religious characteristics. Of course there is some unity in diversity, as the internal characteristics of churches and other Pentecostal or charismatic groups show. While some of these qualities could easily be mentioned by Pentecostals themselves, some are more noticeable to the outside observer. In developing these traits, it should be clear that they also come in different forms and that these are ideal types. Healing through exorcism, for example, is certainly not the same everywhere. For example, I once witnessed an Argentine pastor cast out the "demon of economic problems." Local differences mean that an overly essentialist picture of Pentecostalism must be avoided. A good starting point can be the central place given for the presence of the Holy Spirit as experienced in the gifts of healing, speaking in tongues (Glossolalia) and prophecy, all of which have the human body as their place. These gifts or charismata are generally available to all believers through conversion and baptism in the Spirit. The constructivist comment, of course, would be that what people actually do with their potential really matters. The liberal distribution of the gifts of the Spirit is the ideal; the reality may be different because, despite doctrinal equality, not all members demonstrate the same abilities in the same way. Second, there is the experience of conversion, often related to the first experience of charisms. For many Pentecostals, conversion is a dramatic personal event, by far the most important in their lives. And when combined with the experience of the spirit, it has a strong physical component. Its consequences can be felt in everyday life, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. After conversion, the claim of faith on the life of its converts is, formally at least, total and absolute. To witness their conversion, most people divide their lives into a pre-conversion and post-conversion period. The watershed is a primary or proleptic spiritual experience that fundamentally changes the parameters of one's life (Hexham and Poewe 1997:59ff, Poewe 1994). Receiving the gifts of the Holy Spirit often has the effect of


Chapter 13. Globalization and Pentecostal Success

to solve an existential problem and is still an important and healing resource in the constant struggle for life. Healing in this context must be understood in a very broad sense, including non-medical problems such as unemployment or conflicts with others. At the moment of conversion people begin a new life. The metaphor of "rebirth" is widely used and is also implied by full immersion baptism as a bodily experience. Again, we are dealing with an ideal image, and we must remember that membership also includes believers who have not necessarily had such dramatic experiences or who do not live up to the high demands of the full-time model. , Pentecost. Conversion often means that a person says goodbye to the customs of their culture, which are considered sinful and demonic. This can lead to the church being viewed as an alternative cultural community, replacing the dominant culture in important ways and even requiring the breaking of kinship ties with non-converts. In contexts where ethnic identity is prominent, brothers and sisters in the church can form a new “tribe,” so to speak. The original culture will not completely disappear from the lives of such converts, but it will change profoundly and only what is considered harmless will remain. This brings us to a third feature, called the duality of the Pentecostal worldview. In a simple and clear way, just like dividing the story of a personal life into pre- and post-conversion phases, the world is also divided into two parts: that of God and his believers, and that of the devil and his followers. The Pentecostal convert goes from the second to the first and feels saved by it. Both socially and personally, the convert takes sides in the war that is said to be being waged between these two parts of the world. As they look back on the wicked world from whose sinfulness believers flee, they are comforted that they made the right choice. Once this fundamental decision is made, the convert's life becomes transparent and understandable. Therefore, this useful and therapeutic worldview should be shared with others, and as many as possible. Such a rich experience cannot be kept to oneself. There is a certain "compulsion to tell" (Ruth Marshall-Fratani personal communication) that many Pentecostals feel, and the experience becomes truly self-fulfilling when passed on to others. The more people accept the message, the better the world will be until the devil is finally defeated. All people who share in the gifts of the Spirit are therefore obligated to spread the "Good News".

4. Pentecostal diversity


4. Diversity of Pentecostalism The concept of Pentecostalism is to a certain extent a social science construction. The term encompasses a wide variety of forms, even to such an extent that it is difficult to pinpoint exactly what they all have in common. Given this diversity, the constructivist approach seems more appropriate than the culturalist approach discussed in the previous section. Although recognized for their rigor, the first impression one gets is a great diversity in the types of churches and movements that choose to call themselves Pentecostal. First of all, there is great historical diversity. The at the beginning of the 20 ). In a very short time, Pentecostal churches were established in America, Europe and Asia. All are recognizable as Pentecostal, but at the same time have their own particular profile depending on their history and cultural context (Miguez 1998a and b). The charismatic movement, which also deserves the name "Pentecostal", although part of the major churches, including the Roman Catholic Church (Hollenweger 1974:76-97), emerged from the early 1960s. In recent decades, a neo-Pentecostal type related to the charismatic movement has emerged, albeit in a completely different sense (Hunt et al. 1997: 2). Others use the term neo-Pentecostal to refer to the so-called third wave Pentecostals, who themselves come in a wide variety. One approach is to identify these churches as actively expanding, civic-oriented churches with an emphasis on prosperity as the fruit of faith and as a message of 'health and prosperity' (Brouwer 1996:6, 44, 266). So, in addition to historical diversity, there is also social and organizational diversity, and the autonomous church model is widespread. Many followers of the charismatic movement have often chosen to remain loyal to their main churches, whether Roman Catholic or Protestant. Even if a church model is adopted, the size can vary greatly. On the one hand there are hall churches with services in the leader's house and on the other hand multinational churches with a strong presence in many countries. A special case best illustrated in the USA is formed by


Chapter 13. Globalization and Pentecostal Success

Pastors organizing their work as a business using descriptive or personal names such as Full Gospel Healing Ministries or John Johnson Exorcist Ministries Inc. Some use modern marketing and public relations techniques, a business-like strategy also found in some Pentecostal churches. Another major social type is organization around a gifted evangelist who can travel the world, appearing in large local campaigns, held in sports arenas and often in conjunction with local churches, but with their own core group as the ultimate organizer and power. A good example of this is the Korean Paul Yonggi Cho and his Church Growth International (Brouwer 1996: 44, 45). There is also diversity in relation to political issues (Hollenweger 1974). The almost stereotypical image is that of a Pentecostal church which, in the light of Romans 13, actually honors government, even if it is also a dictatorship. But there were also churches, albeit a small minority, that took a politically progressive position and were part of the opposition to dictatorships. Chile in the 1970s and 1980s is a notorious example of procrastination, with most Pentecostal churches remaining loyal to the Pinochet regime while some took an active dissident role (Kamsteeg 1998). And then there are also differences in attitude towards other Pentecostals, not to mention other Christians. On the one hand there can be a very exclusive and hostile attitude, particularly on the part of Protestant Pentecostals towards Catholics, which is sometimes reinforced by fundamentalist thinking. On the other hand, there can be forms of collaboration among Pentecostals, such as when a famous evangelist visits a city or region. Some Pentecostal churches are members of international organizations and networks, including the main ecumenical World Council of Churches, and several use ecumenical training institutes to train their pastors. A final remark refers to a particular source of diversity: Pentecostalism's ability to paradoxically combine opposing qualities (Droogers 1998). Various seemingly contradictory scenarios are used depending on the context and needs. There are several examples of this. There is an eschatological, even apocalyptic trend in Pentecostalism. Pentecostals live in anticipation of the imminent arrival of God's kingdom on earth. They also take a long-term view of human history, although it is not about postponing grief treatment in anticipation of that moment and Pentecostal belief in the moment

5. Contextual Factors


Gifts of the Spirit also serve to solve problems big and small, here and now and in a short-term perspective of human history. Another example of this way of reconciling apparent opposites is the way in which Pentecostal believers despise the sinful world and yet participate in it and have even earned a reputation as responsible and reliable citizens and workers in it. Likewise, traditional culture in general can be condemned, while even Pentecostals cannot fully escape cultural socialization. The way in which equality and hierarchy are combined also illustrates this possibility of maintaining a double perspective. Both forms of social management seem to belong to the Pentecostal repertoire and are used according to need and situation. The combination of opposing qualities can also be found in the simultaneous presence of spontaneity and control, or of individual expression and social conformity. The manifestation of the Holy Spirit seems to stimulate the free expression of emotions; People sometimes witness their faith with tears in their eyes. But at the same time, the pastor often has his own codes for making this spontaneous part of the service happen.

5. Contextual Factors Now that the unity and diversity of Pentecostalism have been properly outlined, I shall discuss the problem of explaining the success story of Pentecostalism. The first step is to take stock of the reductionist explanations that have been put forward since the 1960s. In the next section, we focus on the term “globalization”. Where Pentecostals themselves have attributed the expansion of their churches and movement to the work of the Holy Spirit, social scientists have sought other, more secular explanations. The reference to anomie is therefore common to various explanations of this type, be they economic, social or psychological (Droogers 1998). For example, the growth of Pentecostalism is presented as a remedy or remedy for a disorder in society from which people are suffering. Modernization is often mentioned in this context, especially with regard to developing countries. When modernization is discussed, it is usually placed in the context of the city and urbanization is viewed as an influential manifestation of the modernization process. It tells of personal uprooting and the loss of social and cultural framework conditions. Urban religions, including Pentecostalism, offer a new


Chapter 13. Globalization and Pentecostal Success

Home and even a new family of brothers and sisters, albeit on the basis of artificial kinship. If the same argument is used to explain the spread of other religions, it does not adequately explain the growth of Pentecostalism or people's preference for it. Somewhat more specific is the explanation of modernization, which argues that Pentecostals are model participants in the modernization process because of their trustworthiness and good citizenship (Willems 1967). In this sense, the individualism inherent in the Pentecostal faith corresponds to the individualism that is considered a trump card in a liberal capitalist society, although it is often lived within the narrow community. Still, applying Weber's thesis selectively, it can be argued that among Pentecostals, their faith, personal (missionary) initiatives, desire to fulfill their talents, and work ethic contribute to their strength. Candidates for social advancement in modern society. This argument, I think, is an example of a more specific interpretation, since it takes into account a special feature of the Pentecostal religion and therefore moves away from the level of general social theories. Again, the question arises as to whether this explanation is sufficient and applicable to all new converts (Hoffnagel 1978). It may also be that a Pentecostal church attracts successful and socially mobile citizens because the ideology corresponds to its own expectations and aspirations: the Weberian thesis is thus reversed. This seems to be the case when urban converts turn out not to be recent immigrants but belong to the established middle class. Some authors (e.g. Lalive d'Épinay 1968) have pointed out that the patronage role of the rural landowner parallels that of the influential Pentecostal minister, implying that this urban religion succeeds because it cements a feudal framework that is itself everything but modern; the “customers” simply changed sponsors. Seen in this way, Pentecostalism does not create a break between rural and urban contexts, but stands for continuity. Some authors have developed a variant of the modernization thesis that focuses on the trend towards cultural and social pluralism typical of contemporary society. Particularly where a monolithic religion such as Catholicism makes itself felt in the Latin American context, the rise of alternative religions is seen as the rise of a free social space, a value valued by societies along the North Atlantic axis (Martin 1990). Latin American Pentecostals have thus been portrayed as radically innovative as they develop a new social framework.

5. Contextual Factors


without the traditionally ubiquitous leadership of a sympathetic elite. In this sense, Pentecostals differ from their competitors, the liberation theologians and their flock (Lehmann 1996). The matter, in this neo-Marxist case, can also be viewed from a different theoretical – and ideological – perspective. In its most vulgar version, religion - and thus Pentecostalism - is portrayed as the opium of the people, serving only the interests of the producer-owners. Religions, including Pentecostalism, are meant to grow because they help their converts and followers forget the misery they experience as workers in the modernization of capitalist society. From this point of view, the new social freedom is by no means free, but exposed to manipulation and foreign interests. In more elaborate versions reference is made to Gramsci's concept of hegemony, which suggests that the oppressed are involved in accepting their own fate. Another, less vulgar interpretation holds that the dispossessed victims of economic production ultimately gain control of religious production without any control from the upper-class clergy; in this way they rehabilitate themselves from anonymity and address their fellow victims in the language of their own class (Rolim 1980, 1987, 1995). Again, it should be noted that neo-Marxist approaches are biased. The Marxist perspective does not explain the Pentecostal expansion in the middle and upper classes unless the new prosperity preached by Pentecostalism is legitimized as a blessing from God. Nor does it take into account the growth stemming from indigenous initiatives from the “South”, which sometimes even specifically, as in the case of some Brazilian churches, target the capitalist societies of the “North”, including the USA, and like us As we have already seen, Pentecostalism is politically diverse and even includes believers with leftist preferences to which they are responding. We have discussed the precursors of current theories of globalization and we have seen that their authors have managed to reduce the religious to the non-religious, and consequently their theories are not specific enough. It has also been shown that their statements do not apply to all Pentecostals and are therefore biased. Nevertheless, these contributions from the 1970s and 1980s are relevant to the current debate because many insights from modernization and neo-Marxist approaches are still in use, as becomes clear if we take a closer look at globalization perspectives.


Chapter 13. Globalization and Pentecostal Success

6. Globalization Globalization is called in different ways. Depending on the disciplinary homeland, some authors concentrate on the economic and ecological aspects, others on the social, political and cultural aspects of the phenomenon. In all cases, the world is experienced as a unique place, or also as a non-place, as an abstract sign space or as time-space compression (order: Robertson 1992: 6, Augé 1995, Vieille 1986: 312, Baumann 1998: 2) . World society is presented as a system of interdependence. People, nations, transnational corporations and religions are all doomed to one another. But this world also has its shadow world. There is often talk of a tension between the universal and the particular, the global and the local, the whole and the fragments, which has led to terms such as “glocalization” (Robertson 1992: 173). Globalization has sparked postmodern interest in fragmentation, not so much in relation to the global, but much more in relation to local translations of the global. In the words of Arizpe, "The new 'global' is indeed a new 'local'" (Arizpe 1996: 89-90). The allure of globalization comes not from the characteristics of the global, but from the attitudes developed locally to survive in an era of globalization. The stereotype is that the place is disappearing under the influence of Coca-Colaization or McDonaldization. However, a world culture is highly unlikely. It seems best to follow Axford's advice: "Understanding the complexities of the global system requires a multidimensional approach that addresses the mediated connections between actors and institutional orders, whatever 'level' they are at." (Axford 1995: 26). The only solid conclusion that can be drawn from this is that a cognitive rather than a political, let alone a moral, world order has emerged (Axford 1995: 27). At the political level, the erosion of society as a unit and in particular of the nation state is often mentioned as an aspect of globalization (Axford 1995: 25, Featherstone 1990: 2, Vieille 1986). Transnational corporations are seen as the new states of the future, no longer limited to a specific territory but ubiquitous, especially through the global availability of branded products. Rather than proclaiming the end of the nation-state, it might be more interesting to examine how the nation-state adapts through what might be termed an effort at cultural syncretism, surviving global erosion at the local or local level. That means the calls

6. Globalization


National cultures participate in the transformation of the state, and the boundaries of society are also being redefined. Multicultural societies are the result of this process, representing the wider world within old national and cultural boundaries, changing old concepts of space and scale. Some authors (Drummond 1980, Hannerz 1992) use a linguistic metaphor to describe the cultural change taking place; By speaking of “creolization” using the example of Creole languages, they imply that people today are increasingly proficient in more than one cultural “language”. This account bears a striking resemblance to the founding myth of Pentecostalism as explained in the story of the first Pentecost, when people could understand each other's languages ​​(César 2001). Religion sometimes gets a lot of attention in globalization debates. Fundamentalist forms, especially Christian and Islamic, are said to thrive in the new globalizing climate. Christian expansion has always been seen as a transnational phenomenon with globalizing tendencies, even before the term became popular. For several decades - and without using the word - Christian missiologists have known the concept of "glocalization," as in the case of local cultural translations of the universal message labeled "inculturation." Especially in non-Western contexts, Christian converts have shown how people can take a global perspective while remaining true to their traditional identities. An African church elder once shamelessly told me that he regularly asked his ancestors for help in being a good Christian. The emphasis on globalization as a cultural process has sparked interest in the concept of identity. As we have already seen, two approaches to identity previously presented as mutually exclusive are now combined to represent two aspects of the identity phenomenon. On the one hand, from a culturalist perspective, identity is stable and forms the basis for the experience of continuity; For this vision of identity, Hall uses the metaphor of the root (Hall and Du Gay 1996: 4). On the other hand, it has also been presented in a constructivist way as contextualized, as a strategic device used by people according to their particular needs in a given situation, as a repertoire of multiple selves. To summarize this point of view, Hall proposes the metaphor of the route (Hall and Du Gay 1996: 4). People involved in globalization processes, like the above-mentioned church elder in Africa, tend to protect themselves by trying to remain who and what they are (identity as root) while developing and making their own story


Chapter 13. Globalization and Pentecostal Success

Strategic use of all new opportunities that present themselves (identity as a way). Although not identical, this distinction can be accompanied by that between mechanistic and subjectivist perspectives, each of which emphasizes the autonomy of structures and actors. The more autonomous the structures are, the more they produce people with similar identities who feel they have the same roots. Actors have their own way of dealing with structures, through adaptation or selection, or even build completely new structures and ultimately choose their own ways. In the processes of globalization, the actors are confronted with a new set of structures that seem to be imposed on them, but which they use to go their own way. This then is the somewhat murky globalized world in which the Pentecostal expansion takes place. Many of the issues raised so far raise the kinds of questions relevant to understanding the “why” and “how” of Pentecostal expansion. Moving from the basic characteristics of Pentecostalism to the non-religious aspects of the globalized context, how specific and accurate can our explanation of the spread of Pentecostalism be? What is the relationship between the religious and the social in this case? How are the two related? What are mediated connections in Axford's terms? Does a religion like Pentecostal change as it crosses cultural boundaries? Is the global message translated into local forms? To what extent does Pentecostalism shape people and to what extent do Pentecostals shape and transform their religion? How are cultural roots and constructivist paths related? Can the Pentecostal experience be easily combined with universal human characteristics?

7. Globalization and Pentecostalism In order to find a preliminary answer to these questions (the full answer will require years of research), I will now return to the characterization of Pentecostalism given above and confront it with the globalization process described in the previous section. I will suggest that these inner religious elements together, like a constellation, make Pentecostalism a religion that fits into the globalized world. In the next section I will address the relationship between globalization and Pentecostal diversity.

7. Globalization and Pentecostal Fellowship


What value, then, does the experience of the Holy Spirit have as a religious element in a globalized world? The experience of Spirit is personal, embodied, and therefore dramatically intense. It is not just a message, but more often a physically experienced message. However, this very intimate manifestation of Spirit is not just limited to the personal universe. First of all, what is felt physically is an experience shared by the believer with the universal body of Pentecostal believers, his brothers and sisters, in an artificial worldwide kinship of God's family. The community of believers is the model of the ideal society and globalization has made this world brotherhood more visible. Second, the personal experience of the Spirit maintains a connection not only with other Pentecostals but with all people of this one world, because the message must be carried to all mankind in any case. The ultimate perspective is that of a global world coinciding with the kingdom of God. Pentecostals have their own scenario for the globalized world. The scope of Pentecostal interest is global; after all, the whole world is under God's authority and all people are potential believers. The linguistic miracle of the first Pentecost is more than a metaphor: Pentecostals behave like cultural polyglots. Regardless of whether the nation-state survives the globalization process or not, Pentecostals are certainly not constrained by national borders. They preach their own model of world society and give substance to it in their own communities. They regard fellow believers in other countries as their co-religionists and as such part of the world community. Pentecostalism is taking advantage of changes on a global scale, normalizing the expanded boundaries of people's world and facilitating access to that larger world. Throughout this global environment, it provides a place where the believer can feel "at home," meet other believers, and find converts. "Place" is primarily the Pentecostal meeting place and secondarily a place of recruitment, wherever that may be. This perspective is reflected in the charismata, most clearly in the "speech in tongues" (Glossolalia) as a victory over linguistic differences and the new universal language of the earthly kingdom of God. Through the gift of prophecy people are being taught not so much about the future, even if it may come to pass, but about the right path and course that the world as a whole will take. This gives certainty to the believers who have to accept the misunderstanding of the unbelievers. Healing is the practical affirmation of a vision of the kingdom of God. Globalization is often associated with pain and suffering for many.


Chapter 13. Globalization and Pentecostal Success

Offering: They didn't ask for it, and so any sign of help will be welcomed with open arms. This may seem like a functionalist, and thus reductionist, interpretation, but the mere fact that Pentecostalism is a remedy cannot be denied, even if its success cannot be explained by that "function." The point is that this function depends on religious beliefs and the experience of the spirit. Interestingly, the definition of healing goes beyond purely medical issues to encompass a variety of personal issues that people must contend with in this modern global world. One of these problems is that of identity. Globalization creates all kinds of identity crises in all kinds of cultures, societies and people. The question "Who am I?" becomes more pressing as new behavioral repertoires and beliefs enter the market of public opinion. Globalization brings a solution in the form of Pentecostalism. Interestingly, as some have suggested, the United States is the main distributor of both corporate capitalism and evangelical missionaries (Brouwer 1996:7). Though by no means alone in this area, "shrewd Christian businessmen are successfully selling a new international belief system" (Brouwer 1996:7). Pentecostalism helps to resolve the individual's search for a reliable and compelling life orientation and, moreover, offers a formula that corresponds to the scale of the globalized world by connecting personal and global worlds. Of course, much more can be said about how people in cultures as diverse as Ghana, Korea, and Brazil receive the gifts of the Spirit. For example, Cox has suggested that Pentecostalism thrives on the basis of 'primordial spirituality' (Cox 1995:82) and thus takes as a starting point the importance of bodily experiences in Pentecostalism (see also Csordas 1993, 1994). Reflection on supposedly universal human experiences that include glossolalia, trance, vision, dreams, healing, and hope. Other authors take paranormal experiences as the universal basis of Pentecostalism (Hunt 1997:6). The functional continuity between Pentecostalism and its more traditional or popular predecessors also seems to point in the direction of a common human basis across specific times and places. It may well be that the Pentecostal gifts should be viewed as a specific use and interpretation of a global human body language, doubly adapted to Pentecostal theology and the local cultural context in which it is sometimes supported, such as in African, Brazilian, and Korean countries. . . contexts, through a tradition of similar experiences, albeit critically used and interpreted. The Pentecost repertoire

7. Globalization and Pentecostal Fellowship


toire has colored human possibilities through the role attributed to the Holy Spirit, giving them a unique and exclusive flavor. Conversion, the second religious attribute, brings this complex of beliefs and practices into the new believer's "home." As a dramatic physical event expressed in baptism, with water and in (the name of) the Holy Spirit, it is the prototype of the individual spirit experience. It also has drastic consequences on a personal level, but it acts as an intermediary force between the person and the community of believers, both locally and globally. Rather, it is synonymous with acceptance into the new world community of the redeemed, the prototype of God's promised kingdom and an alternative to the prevailing global situation. It also emphasizes devotion to this divine realm. Conversion stories are often used to spread the message, and in the expanding Pentecostal movement around the world, these stories serve as models for potential converts to adopt. The narrative discourse offers opportunities for cross-cultural identification, despite cultural differences that can make understanding difficult. The basic human experiences of sadness and happiness are easy to spot. Now we come to the third Pentecostal feature, the duality of worldview. This has the benefit of being a simplified model of what is happening in the world: God and Satan are at war and Pentecostals are proud and dedicated soldiers of God. It is an abbreviated theory of globalization tailored for the Pentecostal believer. In this way, misery and suffering can be explained and the moral choices that believers must contend with placed in a comprehensive and decisive framework, while maintaining the belief that the end of the world is expected and understood. At the same time, there is absolute certainty that in the end God will triumph and the devil will be defeated. Here too there is a universal dimension corresponding to the worldwide spread of Pentecostalism, just as the experience of the Spirit and the experience of conversion have a universal human component. Dichotomous views have a certain universality, across and across cultural boundaries, although each society or religion produces its own form of this duality (Needham 1973). The spread of Pentecostalism seems to have accompanied the ability to understand such dual schemes. A dualistic perspective, even in its specifically Pentecostal form, has a good chance of being recognized and accepted on the world market. Briefly, it is proposed that the three characteristics of Pentecostalism, taken together as a constellation, presently facilitate Pentecostalism's access to the peoples of the world. The message adapts to the world


Chapter 13. Globalization and Pentecostal Success

scaled and experienced at the recognizable level of the human body. Precisely because the bodily experience through the charismata is so important, it bodily establishes the universal human potentiality, even when interpreted in a radically exclusive way. Similarly, duality can be traced back to universal dichotomous thinking. Pentecostalism offers a universal framework that can be expanded and developed in both cultural (and culturalist) and personal (and constructivist) contexts. It allows for cultural adaptation and individual initiatives. It connects roots and paths, community and diversity.

8. Globalization and Pentecostal Diversity Having examined the basic Pentecostal constellation of defining religious characteristics in relation to universal human potential as applied in the global Pentecostal worldview, it is now possible to focus on the other end of the spectrum, which almost fragmented Variety of manifestations Pentecostals. How can this diversity be linked to the globalization process? What significance does it have for the spread of Pentecostalism? In my opinion, this diversity can best be seen as an illustration of Christianity's ability to bridge the gap between the global and the local. This adaptability may surprise those who view Pentecostalism as static, dogmatic, and rigid. Pentecostals have throughout history shown themselves to be very capable of adapting to new circumstances. Socially, their strong focus on their mission has given them good insights into how to organize in the most efficient way. What role does this diversity then play in the context of the globalization process? First, let's look at social diversity, which can weaken this sense of togetherness. The great diversity can also be seen as an advantage in the globalization process, especially when this diversity is coupled with flexibility. If globalization is best observed at the local level, then Pentecostal diversity coincides with local diversity, which is the other side of the coin of universalizing globalization. Pentecostalism facilitates translation from the global to the local and vice versa. An example of this is the New Pentecostal emphasis on prosperity, which fits very well with the dream of wealth propagated by the globalization process. As Brouwer said, "It makes religious culture compatible with world market culture" (Brouwer 1996: 9). Another example is that conscious targeting with modern commercial marketing techniques facilitates penetration into new errors of Pentecostalism.

8. Globalization and Pentecostal Diversity


Pentecostalism in the Fields of Zion fits easily into the contours of the social map. However, two limitations should be mentioned. First, the radical choices converts make are expected to have obvious consequences for their cultural repertoire. Much of what was normal in pre-conversion times now becomes abomination, in short, demonic (see eg Guerrero 1995). Pentecostalism is able to give little importance to cultural elements that are seen as contrary to the message. The second caveat is that Pentecostals are ambiguous about modernity. As we have already seen, they obviously fit well into modern society and are good citizens. They also make good use of modern communication techniques, but are not afraid to publicly criticize phenomena such as the loss of “community” and declining moral standards, which they believe are a consequence of modernity and lead to dereligionization or secularization. . In this sense, Pentecostals are antimodern (Hunt 1997:3). As for political diversity, it could be that political abstinence based on respect for the established order really helps a lot in finding missionaries in dictatorially ruled countries. On the other hand, progressive churches may also have served as rallying points for those who opposed the dictatorship, as was the case in some Chilean churches. Ecumenical diversity is linked to globalization, if only in the sense ascribed to the word 'ecumenical': the entire inhabited world. Cox has described Pentecostalism as “a kind of ecumenical movement” (Cox 1995:16), and indeed Pentecostal movements have their own worldwide networks and conferences. The intricacies of information technology were quickly grasped, as illustrated by the rapid spread of the so-called "Toronto Blessing" in the early 1990s. The spread of the Roman Catholic charismatic movement is another example. The latter Pentecostal feature, the combination of opposing features, only exists within the parameters of a simplistic worldview; however, it is easily accessible since any potential convert can find something of value under any circumstances. This may also be related to the global nature of today's world society, whether cultural differences are taken into account or not. Globalization also combines opposite qualities, especially the global and the local.The combination of a "happy ending" for all believers and a problem-solving ability in the here and now is undoubtedly very appealing.So is the condemnation of


Chapter 13. Globalization and Pentecostal Success

the world as a sinner does not demand withdrawal from it, as was the custom in the monastic tradition. In summary, Pentecostal diversity in general has worked to seize the opportunities presented by the globalization process. As a global movement, Pentecostalism has arguably become part of religious globalization. As a form of faith, it has spread its message hand in hand with the most secular sectors of the globalization process, but also in the traditional churches, Catholic and Protestant alike, missionary work has been the constant companion of colonial expansion.

9. Conclusion This chapter has examined the complex articulation between Pentecostalism and globalization. Attempts have also been made to avoid reductionist explanations of Pentecostal expansion that attempt to attribute it to effects stemming from non-religious factors (social, economic, political, and psychological). Without denying the importance of these factors, however, the inner religious characteristics of Pentecostalism have been taken as a starting point to explore how they articulate as a constellation with these non-religious factors, thus facilitating Pentecostalism's role in the current globalization process. In this way, a more specific explanation was found, according to which Pentecostals' physical experience of the Holy Spirit, based on a dramatic conversion experience and lived within the framework of a dualistic worldview, serves to effectively locate the believer on the global, local, and personal levels. The Pentecostal message has the potential to create a religious community that will serve as a model not only for individuals but also for national and global societies. Pentecostals have proven quite capable of tapping into the cultural tools available to all humankind, tools that ensure both continuity and change, that combine social control and individual initiative, and the skills that belong to the universal human toolkit use in a unique way. Although the Pentecostal identity contains manifest and, so to speak, eternal components, believers are able to find a dynamic form that facilitates adjustment to changing personal and cultural situations. Particular attention was paid to the way in which unity and diversity are related in Pentecostalism and how this affects their position in the globalization process. The global reach of the Pentecostal message is consistent with the current global one



Structure. At the same time, the variety of forms of Pentecost corresponds to the local roots of the globalization process.

References Arizpe, Lourdes (1996). Scale and Interaction in Cultural Processes: Towards an Anthropological Perspective of Global Change. In: Lourdes Arizpe (ed.) (1996), The cultural dimensions of global change: An anthropological approach. Paris: UNESCO, p. 89-107 Augé, Marc (1995). Non-Places: An Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernism. London: Vers. Axford, Barrie (1995). The global system: economics, politics and culture. New York: St. Martin's Press. Bauman, Zygmunt (1998). Globalization: The Human Consequences. Cambridge: Polity Press. Beyer, Peter (1990). Privatization and the public influence of religion in global society. In: Mike Featherstone (ed.) (1990), Global culture: nationalism, globalization and modernity. London etc.: Sage, pp. 373-395 Beyer, Peter (1994). religion and globalization. London: Wise. Brouwer, Steve, Paul Gifford, and Susan D Rose (1996). Exporting the American Gospel: Global Christian Fundamentalism. New York: Rouledge. Caesar, Walter (2001). From Babel to Pentecost: a historical-theological-social study of the growth of Pentecostalism. In: André Corten and Ruth Marshall-Fratani (eds.) (2001). Between Babel and Pentecost: Transnational Pentecostalism in Africa and Latin America. London: Hurst, pp. 22-40 Cox, Harvey (1995). Fire From Heaven: The Rise of Pentecostal Spirituality and the Transformation of Religion in the 21st Century. New York: Addison-Wesley. Csordas, Thomas J (1993). Somatic forms of attention. Cultural Anthropology, 8(2), 135-156. Csordas, Thomas J. (1994). The Sacred Self: A Cultural Phenomenology of Charismatic Healing. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Droogers, André (1998). Paradoxical Perspectives on a Paradoxical Religion: Models for Explaining the Pentecostal Expansion in Brazil and Chile. In: Barbara Boudewijnse, André Droogers and Frans Kamsteeg (eds.) (1998). More than Opium: An Anthropological Approach to Latin American and Caribbean Pentecostalism. Lanham and London: Scarecrow Press, p. 1 – 34. (Chapter 12 of this book) Drummond, Lee (1980). The cultural continuum: a theory of intersystems. Man, 15(2), 352-374. Featherstone, Mike (1990). Global Culture: An Introduction. In: Mike Featherstone (ed.) (1990). World culture: nationalism, globalization and modernity. London et al.: Sage, pp. 1-14 Friedman, Jonathan (1994). Cultural identity and global process. London: Wise. Fry, Peter H and Gary N Howe (1975). Two Answers to Grief: Umbanda and Pentecostalism. Debate and Criticism, 6, 75-94.


Chapter 13. Globalization and Pentecostal Success

Guerrero, Bernardo (1995). Praying to God... Pentecostals in the Aymara society in the great north of Chile. Amsterdam: VU University Press. Hall, Stuart and Paul du Gay (eds.) (1996). cultural identity issues. London etc.: sage. Hannerz, Ulf (1992). Cultural Complexity: Studies in the Social Organization of Meaning. New York: Columbia University Press. Hexham, Irving, and Karla Poewe (1997). New religions as world cultures: sacralization of man. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press. Hoffnagel, Judith Chambliss (1978). The Believers: Pentecostal Movement in a Brazilian City. Ann Arbor, Mich.: Xerox University Microfilms. Holland, Dorothy, William Lachicotte Jr., Debra Skinner, and Carole Cain (1998). Identity and agency in cultural worlds. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Hollenweger, Walter (1974). Pentecost between Blacks and Whites: Five Case Studies in Pentecost and Politics. Belfast: Christian Journals Limited. Hollenweger, Walter (1994). Pentecostal Elites and Poor Pentecostals, a Lost Dialogue? In: Karla Poewe (ed.) (1994). Charismatic Christianity as Global Culture. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, pp. 200-214 Hunt, Stephen, Malcolm Hamilton and Tony Walter (1997). Introduction: Languages, Toronto and the Millennium. In: Stephen Hunt, Malcolm Hamilton and Tony Walter (eds.) (1997). Charismatic Christianity: Sociological Perspectives. London: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 1-16 Kamsteeg, Frans (1998). Prophetic Pentecostalism in Chile: A Case Study in Religion and Development Policy. Lanham and London: Scarecrow Press. Keesing, Roger H. (1994). Review of cultural theories. In: Robert Borofsky (ed.), Assessing Cultural Anthropology. New York: McGraw-Hill, p. 301 – 312. Lalive d'Épinay, Christian (1968). The Refuge of the Masses: Sociological Study of Chilean Protestantism. Santiago de Chile: Editorial del Pacifico. Lehman, David (1996). Struggle for the Spirit: Religious Transformation and Popular Culture in Brazil and Latin America. Cambridge: Polity Press. Martin, David (1990). Tongues of Fire: The Explosion of Protestantism in Latin America. Oxford: Blackwell, 1990. Miguez, Daniel R. (1998a). Spiritual campfire in Argentina: Contrasting current theories with an ethnographic account of Pentecostal growth in suburban Buenos Aires. Amsterdam: CEDLA. Miguez, Daniel R. (1998b). What to add to the classics? In Search of New Horizons for Studies in Latin American Pentecostalism. Studies in Religion, 6, 4-6. Needham, Rodney (ed.) (1973). Right and Left: Essays on Dual Symbolic Classification. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Ortner, Sherry B. (1984). Theory in anthropology since the 1960s. Comparative Studies in Society and History, 26(1), 126-166. Poewe, Karla (ed.) (1994). Charismatic Christianity as Global Culture. Columbia, South Carolina: University of South Carolina Press.



Poewe, Karla (1994). Rethinking the relationship of anthropology to science and religion. In: Karla Poewe (ed.) (1994). Charismatic Christianity as World Culture. Columbia, South Carolina: University of South Carolina Press, pp. 234 at 258. Robertson, Roland (1992). Globalization: Social Theory and Global Culture. London etc.: sage. Rolim, Franz Karthago (1980). religion and popular classes. Petropolis: votes. Rolim, Franz Karthago (1987). This Pentecostal movement. São Paulo: Brazilian (First Steps 188). Rolim, Franz Karthago (1995). Pentecostalism: Brazil and Latin America. Petropolis: votes. Strauss, Claudia and Naomi Quinn (1994). A cognitive/cultural anthropology. In: Robert Borofsky (ed.) (1994). Evaluation of cultural anthropology. New York: McGraw-Hill, pp. 284-300. Strauss, Claudia and Naomi Quinn (1997). Cognitive theory of cultural meaning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Alt, Paul (1986). From the transnational to the political world? Mediterranean Peoples, 35–36, 309–38. Willems, Emilio (1967). followers of the new faith. Nashville, Tennessee: Vanderbilt University Press.

Part III Methodological Applications

Methodological Luddism Chapter 14 Methodological Luddism: Beyond religiosity and reductionism 1. Introduction In 1970, as a new anthropologist using the method of participant observation, I witnessed an initiation ritual for children in a small Congolese tribal society, the Wagenia of Kisangani (Droogers 1980). This rite of passage had not been celebrated for fourteen years. For five months almost the entire tribe of about 8,000 people was busy organizing the initiation. More than 1,300 children between the ages of 5 and 20 have been isolated in 14 camps. The ritual accompanied the children in a transition in their lives. He did this by using symbols in dramatic and social contexts that were part of his different phases. My training taught me not only the method of participatory observation, even simulated participation, but also the stereotypical expectation that ritual is a religious phenomenon and that initiation is a vehicle for communicating culture, especially religion. In addition, Africans were considered incurably religious (e.g. Thomas et al. 1969: 5). However, I soon found that the reality of Wagenia was different. His reflection and behavior should correct my academic speech. You made me play. The initiation ritual was mainly secular. It contained few religious references, mainly to the spirits of the dead, such as when children were painted white, the color of the spirits, to avoid being bothered by them. Also, the initiation of the Wagenia boys turned out to be pretty boring for most of them. The explicit transmission of culture hardly took place. The main thing the novices learned, but most of them knew beforehand, was wrestling. In addition, a lot of time was spent training a mockup of a military parade observed in the city. In this fantasy parade, the older children played the roles of civil and ecclesiastical authorities. The senior novice who acted as leader


Chapter 14. Methodological Ludism

In the camp he was given the role of President Mobutu. The youngest boy played the role of archbishop of the region, then a man of very small stature. Though predominantly secular, the ritual was somewhat reminiscent of religion. There were some secrets that the uninitiated, especially women, should not know, but almost everyone knew. However, the women played their role as outsiders, much like I played my role as the privileged. Therefore, it was assumed that the women believed that the children in the camp were left unprotected outside day and night, except when it started to rain. Then a big bird with huge wings came into the camp to protect the children from the rain. A bird-like sound was heard from the camp, and the men and boys sang and danced to the rhythm of the birdsong. As most women knew, this bird was not a bird at all, but represented the hut in the camp, built in the shape of a U, with "breast" and "wings" like those of a bird. The sound of a bird was imitated by an instrument made of two sticks and a large shell. At other stages of initiation, the men represented two more "beasts," again with musical instruments, always implying that the women were led to believe that extraordinary beings were manifesting. Here, too, the women played their roles, but they knew what was being staged. This was my first experience of a fascinating mix of profane and seemingly sacred elements. Alongside the "normal" religious element of belief in the spirits of the dead, there was an enacted element that could be termed religious. The men and women played religion as the novices did when they taught the youngest to play archbishop. It was obvious that everything was at stake, but also that the illusion was being strictly maintained as if it were real. The playfulness seemed part of a religious atmosphere, or at least religious. Of course, my role as a participant was also an illusion, a fantasy method, albeit not religious or religious in nature, although the Wagenia word for white man was the same as spirit of the dead. About ten years later, while doing fieldwork in a Brazilian spiritual healing group, I had another perplexing experience that led me to play (Droogers 1991). The group consisted of about thirty people, many with academic backgrounds. Their leader, a doctor, had developed a special method of spiritual healing. It was a combination of Spiritualist, Christian, Afro-Brazilian and Medical insights. As was the case in the Congo, some sort of enforcement seemed to be taking place, at least to me. But now the game wasn't an obvious part of participating.

1 Introduction


look at the pants; it had much more to do with my own academic bias and assumptions. In this case, playfulness - though not entirely absent from people's behavior - was a particularly promising term for my search for an explanation. Perhaps the Wagenia experience influenced my view of these spiritualists. The group attributed the patient's suffering to demonic spirits. One of these spirits was tricked into manifesting in a spirit medium. The healing session coordinator then engaged in a stern but often humorous and ironic dialogue, I would say playfully, with the spirit, with the ultimate intention of converting it, often "in the name of Jesus". The converted spirit would then cease attacking the patient and agree to continue its evolutionary course through a series of morally advanced reincarnations. Normally, the spirit would initially resist and utter blasphemous utterances, but gradually give up. He was often sent to a hospital in the spirit world to prepare for reincarnation. In just a few minutes a little drama of transition took place, a rite of passage, at least that was my interpretation, in which the cause of the patient's suffering became real for the first time. Very often the demon spirit has been shown to seek revenge for the deeds committed against it by its victim in a previous life. This cause was later removed by conversion of the spirit and sometimes by reconciliation with the patient. Like the children's initiation, the healing process brought about a symbolic and dramatic transformation in a social context and in a series of successive phases. In my opinion, then as now, metaphors were used as effective tools. For the participants, the spirits were real; it was not a useful illusion. On the contrary, the leader of the group presented the healing method as a new medical science in a book (Lacerda de Azevedo 1988, 1997). Knowledge was constructed in a socio-political context in which scientific knowledge should represent the highest standard. As an academic researching among academics and formally called "Professor," I was constantly challenged by my spiritualist friends to position myself and agree with them. My research should validate his method. The leader of the group wanted me to take the message to Europe and spread it there. My participatory observation, however, was much more observation than participation. Despite the fact that several members of the group confirmed that I could be a good spirit medium, I remained an outsider. However, if I did not accept his speech about the


Chapter 14. Methodological Ludism

manifestation of spirits, he would have to find another explanation for his behavior and especially for his healing successes. In both fieldwork experiences, I arrived with the big-city academic discourse I was trained for, but both times I was challenged to change my mind. The people I studied taught me to look for other dimensions: in Congo, religion at play, in Brazil, religion in science. His behavior and reflection made my way of speaking problematic. It turned out that the Wagenia were not as religious as I had assumed; the Brazilian spiritualist academics were not as secular as I had hoped. The supposedly religious Africans put on a secular play with some religious touches, while the supposedly secular Brazilians put on a drama involving religious beings very seriously, presenting their viewpoint as a new learned science, though I found it as playful and inventive at times as the Wagenia. In both cases, the secular and the religious blended in fascinating and bewildering ways. Religious and non-religious factors vied for priority in explaining the phenomena he observed. How seriously should religion be taken? To what extent was religion something essentially playful? How was religious knowledge constructed and how was my academic knowledge of religion constructed? What was the value of practiced participation as a method in the study of religion and ritual? Did the informant and the researcher have in common that they were both players?

2. The problem of doing social science involves debate. Each debate has its own map of options, often based on dichotomies such as mind/matter, self/other, and nature/culture that have accompanied us for a long time. As a social scientist, what can I do when I am involved in such a theoretical or interpretative debate? Should the decisions be accepted as permanent and forever inevitable? Or is there a way to go beyond the known possibilities? If there is a way out, could I follow it without giving up my own preferences? The conflict discussed in this chapter is that between a reductionist and a religionist view of religion. Although a range of differing and nuanced opinions has developed on both sides over time (see next section), the original problem remains

2. The problem


basis of the current discussion (e.g. Idinopulos and Yonan 1994). At the heart of the debate is the question of whether religion can be adequately and completely explained solely by reference to non-religious facts and factors. The debate is asymmetrical in the sense that the problem does not affect reductionists as much as it does religious ones. Reductionists, primarily but not exclusively social scientists, tend to explain religion by referring to the psychological and social characteristics of human life. Reductionists will argue that it is entirely possible to explain religious behavior, including believers' views of the truth of the sacred, by appeal to non-religious factors and without reference to a supernatural reality to be revealed. They will not exclude participants' opinions from their data and explanation of religious behavior, but they will not consider them as truths about the sacred as religious people do directly or indirectly. From the reductionists' point of view, your use of the informant's point of view is appropriate, and consequently there is no problem. Hence, they refer to the claim of religionists that the manifestation of the sacred is an important element in explaining religion as non-debate. They generally see no need to refer to a sacred reality and find the use of the word "reality" in the case of the supernatural dubious at best, although they can accept as a fact to be explained that the supernatural exists as something genuine and "natural" for the believers. For reductionists, the supposed truth of this belief in a sacred reality is not itself an element of their academic study of religion, but merely the fact that people say it is true. Even if the beliefs in question should one day prove to be true in a hypothetical case, it remains to be explained why people accept them. On the contrary, in the religionist vision, an explanation of religion allows for the manifestation of the "other" reality that is the subject of religious activity. Religion would not exist without humans experiencing this other reality, and so its manifestation must be part of the explanation. The comparative approach excludes the acceptance of the opinions expressed by a particular religion on this manifestation. Consequently, fewer specific conceptions of the sacred are adopted, implying that certain religions express certain views about this universal sacred. The sacred that manifests is said to correspond to human abilities, such as the production of symbols. Despite, or perhaps because of, this large gap between religious and reductionist, I will explore a solution that goes beyond family options. I'm looking for it with the term playful or playful. He


Chapter 14. Methodological Ludism

The notion that the playful could show a way out of the problem has been with me for some time, as may have become clear from the brief autobiographical reference to some of my anthropological field research experiences, because it is precisely these experiences that establish the relationship between religion and science on my Agenda. But first a more detailed assessment of the conflict between religionism and reductionism is required, as if it were the map of available options. This assessment is then applied to the cases presented in the introduction. Then the concept of playfulness is discussed. The following section places the topic in an interdisciplinary framework. The penultimate section compares the lessons learned from the previous sections to explore the possibilities of finding a way beyond the old repeat options. A conclusion summarizes the argument.

3. Religion and reductionism: the options It is useful to take stock of the options at stake in the religiosity/reductionism debate. Clarke and Byrne (1993), Guthrie (1993:8-38), Idinopulos and Yonan (1994) and Segal (1989) are sources for such an inventory. The central question can be framed as a choice between two alternatives: should religion be explained in terms related to a manifesting sacred reality (religionism), or should the explanation of religion be restricted to an exclusively "humanistic" and psychological and psychological perspective be? sociological framework relating to human conditions that lie outside of religion (reductionism)? A common distinction is that between methodological theism, agnosticism, and atheism: in explaining religion and for methodological purposes, the student accepts that there is a sacred reality (methodological theism); he refrains from commenting on this question (methodological agnosticism); or denies the existence of the sacred (methodical atheism). In academic practice, the second position has the same effect as the third, but its proponents, by abolishing judgment, seek to show more respect for other people's beliefs. The adjective "methodological" indicates that the options are only valid in research. The scholar may privately hold a different opinion. A reductionist may choose methodological atheism or agnosticism while privately being a theist. This is possible precisely because for him the question of truth is not an element of the explanation of religion. Most likely, the religious are religious people.

3. Religion and reductionism: the options


children, which, however, does not exclude major differences in their religious beliefs. The fact that religions differ in their claims to truth implies that religious adherents must take a stand in some way, either by opting for a particular religion or by accepting a basic outline of the sacred that is intended to be manifest in all religions. In the latter case, however, a preference for a particular religion as the best expression of the sacred is still possible. In short, private opinions and academic beliefs may or may not coincide. One has to be aware that these views did not emerge in an ideological vacuum, but were part of an intellectual struggle to define reality correctly. In terms of the sociology of knowledge, the question arises as to the social and cultural context in which the construction of a scientific discourse takes place. This means that what is normal and natural in our own cultural context must be viewed as problematic and even treated as exotic. This applies to both the religious and the reductionist. The religious developed their views in the context of the expansion of Western culture. The history of western expansion had rehabilitated what had previously been considered barbaric societies into civilizations. It became possible to study the so-called "world religions" associated with these civilizations, collect their texts and document their rituals. Comparisons could be made. Religion in the singular as a human ability came to the fore. Inspired by philosophical phenomenology, methods were developed that had to guarantee scientific quality and a certain correctness of the observations while excluding Western bias. Although many of the new theories were reductionist in nature, some, inspired by a form of modern liberal Christian theology, clung to the idea of ​​a common manifestation of the sacred behind the diversity of religions. Religious had to defend themselves on two fronts, against science and against Christian theology. This latter conflict was often caused by the coexistence of "comparative religion" and Christian theology in the same department. This thankless "attack and defense" position (Sharpe 1975:144) seems to have contributed to the formulation of a religious view by scholars such as Söderblom, Otto and Van der Leeuw. Using other sources, Eliade arrived at a similar position. The acceptance of a non-religious frame of reference, particularly in methodological atheism, feeds on the skepticism of Enlightenment science and the critical question posed by the rise of modernity as to why religion should exist (Clarke and Byrne 1993: 28, 32, 40 ). . ). Criticism of religion was often the main reason for the search for an explanation.


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ation: How could people believe in an illusion? Behind their objectivity, scholars participated in the process of secularization and occupied positions in the competition between religious and scientific worldviews. The debate between religionists and reductionists, although fundamentally different, cannot be isolated from this conflict. It's his hidden agenda. When reductionists call it a non-debate, the rather arrogant assumption is that science trumps religion and dictates the rules. One of the two parties wants to take the judge's place. The reductionist goal of understanding a general theory of religion as such in the universal singular inevitably leads to the exclusion of religious explanations because they are supposed to be linked to specific religions (Clarke and Byrne 1993: vii, viii, 28). The most common explanations in this category relate to non-religious functions such as wish-fulfilment, social order, or cognition (Guthrie 1993: 10). Ironically, the reductionist attention to function has led to a definition of religion in which the criterion was not the supernatural or the transcendent, but group unity or the resolution of ultimate existential questions. As a result, what was previously considered secular, such as ideology or even science, came to be considered religious. Although the basic option was retained, some changes were formulated (Clarke and Byrne 1993: 55, 73, 74; Segal 1989: 126-9). Therefore, it has been suggested by the religious side that the specific forms that religions exhibit are only symbolic approximations to a sacred reality that is by definition beyond our knowledge. In this way, a general theory can be maintained without committing to any particular religion. Likewise, some on the reductionist side have advocated a symbolic approach, arguing that religious expressions are not what they appear to be, but symbolically refer to a different reality, in this secular case. A further refinement has resulted from the question of how the opinions of religious participants should be acknowledged. Direct religionism would accept them as true and valid in explaining that religion. If, in a less rigorous form of religiosity, religions are understood as expressions of a sacred and unknowable reality, the opinions of the participants are heard for their symbolic reference value. On the reductionist side, emphasizing the mechanistic role of structures tends to pay less attention to the opinions of participants, especially when a supra-individual structural mechanism is blamed for the emergence of religion. However, the symbolic approach in reductionism will incorporate the participants' beliefs and behaviors into their expression.

4. Experiences and Opportunities


Planning, as these contain information about the symbolic system. Related to this, but for different reasons, an actor-centred approach will always take into account the religious perspective of the believer. Similarly, when considering a fundamental human trait, that people give meaning to reality, if not necessarily religious meaning, participants' opinions are fundamental data in research (Segal 1989:109-135).

4. Experiences and options The fieldwork experiences reported in the first section can be commented on in the light of these central questions. So experiencing the spirits of the dead was a reality that was not up for debate for my informants from Wagenia and Brazil. There was no question in my mind that their opinions were part of my data. My personal problem with participant observation was, of course, whether as a researcher I accepted that my informants were right and that the spirits were real, especially since my Brazilian informants tried a lot to convince me. However, my skepticism forced me to look for other explanations, such as attributing healing powers to metaphors. The ambiguity of my position implies that I see, in a rather eclectic way, the value of reductionist theories of the three types identified by Guthrie (1993:10), even when it comes to the fieldwork experiences listed above. With regard to wish-fulfilment, fear reduction plays a role both in Wagenia and in the Brazilian case described above. Wagenia boys who paint their bodies white clay seek protection, believing that the spirits can be deceived. When they and their fathers dance with the "big bird," they simultaneously calm their mothers and experience masculine security and unity. Brazilian spiritual healers seek relief for their patients by removing the spiritual cause of their suffering. The interpretation of religion, which focuses on the social order, can also be applied to the cases just presented. The spirits of the dead of Wagenia represent the continuity of society. The initiation ritual reinforces structural social differences in terms of age, gender and kinship. The entire ceremony accompanies the children's transition from the world of women and children to the world of men. In the case of the Brazilian healing group, fighting demons is a way of establishing a charity-based social order. Both the Wagenia novices and the Brazilian spiritualists built their identities.


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The third set of interpretations, more cognitive in nature, also applies to my fieldwork cases. The Wagenia initiation ritual can be understood as a powerful accompaniment of children on their way from childhood to adulthood, although the low frequency of the ritual means that the youngest children are still too young and the eldest too old to achieve this result. However, because some of the basic organizing principles of their society are active at initiation, all children become familiar with them. Although education in the true sense hardly takes place, the ritual therefore has an educational value. Cognitive aspects are also present in spiritistic practice. They not only present their method as a new science, but also include religious categories such as demonic spirits and Jesus in their scientific interpretation of grief. It may be clear that even liberal eclectic use of religious theories does not exhaust the cases described. Neither theory fits the current game, especially in the case of Wagenia and, I believe, among the spiritualists of the healing group as well. It seems that there is room for experimentation and creativity in the religious context. Fantasy experiments are also possible. The line between the possible and the real is vague. All of these considerations led me to the idea that the playful might not only be an underestimated dimension in religion, but also offer a way out of the dilemma between religiosity and reductionism. The epistemological questions (raised at the end of the first section) contributed to this idea. Now I am exploring a path beyond the dichotomy of religionism and reductionism. However, scientific paradigms are persistent and resistant. Outside of the discipline in which they were declared dead for some time, they are mostly still very much alive. Furthermore, the modified frames of reference have not yet addressed the challenge of religious and theological explanations of religion. Methodological theism remains taboo among most social scientists, postmodern lip service notwithstanding. As I will show, the dimension I am adding to the debate has relevance to interdisciplinary religious studies. His claim goes beyond the current controversy between religionists and reductionists and sheds a different light on religion and on the explanation of religion. Before this can be shown, the concept of the playful must first be discussed.

5. The playful


5. The Playful It is almost impossible to give an adequate overview of what has been written about the playful. The literature on this topic is extensive and at the same time extremely diverse and even contradictory. There is an obvious difference between referring to games and sports, or theatre, or the way a child plays, or animal play, or power games in political strategy, to name just a few of the examples that the Authors have sold out. as a starting point. Due to my special interest, I have made my own selection and summary of the available material. This means that I will ignore some important authors in this field and give preference to others who may not be as well known. A working definition of ludic, adapted for my purposes, can be formulated as follows: ludic is the ability to treat two or more types of reality classification simultaneously and conjunctively. Concerning the term "subjunctive," I follow Victor Turner, who distinguishes between the "indicative mood," the realm of "as is," and "the subjunctive mood ... used to express conjecture, desire, hypothesis, or possibility" domain from “as if” (Turner 1988: 25, 169). Simultaneity is the other defining term. Pruyser (1976: 190) ascribes a "double consciousness" to the player. Huizinga, who with his "Homo Ludens" (1952) contributed immensely to our understanding of the playful, emphasized the seriousness of the game, although he is accused of not having sufficiently emphasized the simultaneity of seriousness and play (Ehrmann 1968: 33; Pannenberg 1984: 323, 524). According to critics, playfulness is not an accessory, but an integral part of human reality. The isolation and pluralism that characterize modern society have blinded us to this feature. In Victor Turner's words: "Indicative Mood" has replaced "Subjunctive Mood" (1988: 101). Playfulness was banished to its own sphere. Modern society has thus lost sight of the true nature of gaming. As we shall see later, postmodernism has partially recovered this perspective. Thanks to simultaneity, things can be discriminated and yet equated, just as differences and similarities can be included in a comparison. The playful ability implies a double vision of reality that combines perspectives. One application of the playful skill is therefore the art of dealing with contradictions, dichotomies and paradoxes. Scientifically and methodically, the game stands for an eclectic and polyparadigmatic way of looking at reality. But there are also many examples in everyday life. it is possible


Chapter 14. Methodological Ludism

Enjoy a movie while being aware of how the actors and director did their job. On the one hand, participation and identification take place, on the other hand, what is happening is constantly being observed and checked. Although participant observation is a contradiction in terms, anthropologists make simultaneity their trademark. The position of the participating observer represents both continuity and rupture, both identification and distance, both simultaneity and simulation. A seemingly contradictory approach has proven to be a productive method. Perhaps one should not be afraid to make a virtue out of necessity. In discussing methodological theism, atheism, and agnosticism, I was referring to the distinction between the positions of scholars in their practice of studying religion and when speaking in private. This apparent contradiction can be viewed positively as a symptom of playful empowerment. In the remainder of this chapter I will argue that the ludic as a human ability can and should be manifested in the academic study of religion, and is fundamental to religion itself. I will also suggest that "double consciousness" can be used to find a way beyond religiosity and reductionism. This allows for a combination of two divergent positions and adds the possibility of a meta position.

6. Interdisciplinary Perspectives Simultaneity and conjunctiveness have been discussed in different disciplines and relatively different schools of thought. In a playful manner, unhindered by apparent contradictions or monoparadigmatic and disciplinary scruples, I now call my witnesses from these disciplines and schools to the pits. The synopsis I offer here reflects my rather random and sometimes intuitive reading experience. I was struck by the striking resemblance between seemingly divergent arguments. Despite their diversity, all references reinforce defenses of the application of play skills in both religion and the study of religion. The perspective first shown to me by Wagenia, and which the Brazilian spiritualists have confirmed in their own way, can be followed in the scholarly tribe. My first witness is Maurice Bloch (1991). It has drawn the attention of anthropologists to connectionism, also known as parallel distributed processing, PDP (D'Andrade 1992:29; 1995:138-49) as a fundamental hypothesis about human thought. While it has long been assumed

6. Interdisciplinary perspectives


that people think as they speak, d. My. In propositions, recent research suggests that people are able to simultaneously invoke different “nonlinguistic fragmented mental models” (Bloch 1991:194) to make decisions in seconds, “allowing thousands of minute calculations to be performed simultaneously to carry out' (D'Andrade 1992: 29). Images are used as information storage. Connectionists propose that knowledge is made accessible "by a series of processing units operating in parallel and feeding information simultaneously... Information received by these multiple parallel processors is analyzed simultaneously by pre-existing networks connecting the processors" (Bloch 1991:191). Simultaneity also means that dichotomies can be overcome. As soon as a conclusion needs to be explained, propositional logic and dichotomous thinking take over. Although they seem much more visible and dominant, they don't represent the normal way of thinking. Quinn and Holland (1987) developed similar ideas. They coined the term "cultural model" as a narrative, prototypical, schematic, and simplified form of social knowledge available for interpreting events. Quinn and Holland emphasize the simultaneity of different cultural models used to carry out tasks of thought and action, both interpretive and goal-directed, verbal and non-verbal (Quinn and Holland 1987: 6-8). Following Lakoff and Johnson, the authors distinguish between a propositional scheme and an image scheme (Quinn and Holland 1987: 24, cf. Quinn 1991: 58). The first type is based on what Bloch has called propositional logic, while the second exemplifies the PDP connectionist view of the way knowledge is organized. A key image, a root metaphor, often physical and corporeal, can summarize knowledge much faster than its explanation in sentences could. This has methodological implications, as Csordas (1993) has pointed out by proposing "somatic modes of attention" as an important research tool. The holistic perspective of the key image is supplemented by verbalizing the propositional logic. Perhaps one could add: The religious experience of the inspiring images is supplemented by the verbalization of the narrative in myth and reason in theological and atheistic discourse. Translated into structural terms, this can also be described as a paradigmatic comparison of phrase chains. Connectionist and pictorial thinking is paradigmatic, while propositional and propositional logic is syntagmatic in nature. The "bricolage" process combines the two types of views and makes them more dynamic. It's like listening to a melody.


Chapter 14. Methodological Ludism

(contiguity) and harmony (analogy) at the same time and improvises with it. From cognitive anthropology we move on to psychoanalysis. Donald Winnicott (1971) provides an interesting way of illuminating the basic characteristics of simultaneity and conjunctiveness in play. Although of psychoanalytic origin, his interpretation of play is not as strictly Freudian as, for example, that of Alexander (1958), who links play to the libido. Winnicott starts from the infant's discovery of the difference between "I" and "not-I", between subject and object (1971: 6). It suggests that there is an intermediate realm between the two, to which inner reality and outer life contribute. The individual, even as an adult, is "engaged in the continuing human task of keeping inner and outer reality separate but connected" (Winnicott 1971:2). Winnicott places the game in the intermediate area. "Transitional objects", such as the modern baby's teddy bear, represent a bridge between inner experience and outer reality. Illusions, Winnicott's view, are also characteristic of the intermediate realm, as the transitional object appears to be part of inner reality as well as outer life. Curiously, 'illusion' is etymologically related to 'ludic', as observed by Huizinga (1952:12). Winnicott holds that delusions are not pathological (1971:15), although the child gradually becomes disillusioned, with weaning being the clearest example. Adults retain their illusions, as in art and religion (Winnicott 1971:5). Winnicott suggests a link between the child's experience and the collective culture. Transition objects are essential to establish this connection. Transitional objects offer the first experience of symbolism. The softness of the teddy bear represents the mother's breast, which the baby experiences as part of the body. Transitional objects also provide the first experience of power: "The mother's adjustment to the infant's needs, if she is good enough, gives the infant the illusion that there is an external reality consistent with the infant's own creative capacity" (Winnicott 1971: 6 ). . It gives the infant confidence that there is "a neutral area of ​​experience that is unchallenged" (Winnicott 1971:12). For adults, religion and art belong in that undeniable middle ground. They offer relief from the stress of relating internal and external reality (Winnicott 1971:13). “What happens with the game is always the precariousness of the interplay of personal psychic reality and the experience of controlling real objects. That is the uncertainty of magic itself” (Winnicott 1971: 47).

6. Interdisciplinary perspectives


Winnicott's approach to the game can be borne out by the contributions of symbolic and psychological anthropology. Katherine Ewing (1990) speaks of the "illusion of totality". She suggests that a person will always maintain this illusion despite the presence of "multiple inconsistent representations of themselves that are contextual and can change rapidly" (Ewing 1990:251). People develop ways of dealing with inconsistencies (Ewing 1990: 255). They are "experts in the use of multiple rhetorical strategies, relying on ambiguity and trope to establish a position" (Ewing 1990:262). Consequently, cultures are not the coherent systems they should be (Ewing 1990: 257). This can also be expressed in a connectionist way: Fragmented models of self-representation can be active at the same time despite contradictions. Quinn and Holland put it this way: The fact that there is no coherent cultural knowledge system, but only a set of different culturally common schematizations formulated for the fulfillment of specific cognitive tasks, explains the coexistence of contradictory cultural models that in many domains are found. of existence (Quinn and Holland 1987: 10)

For me, it is the human ability to play that makes it possible to deal satisfactorily with contradictions, with the basic tension between approval and deviation. Scientific thinking does not escape the coexistence of contradictory cultural models, but especially in eclectic approaches the diversity of perspectives is recognized and part of the method. Winnicott and Ewing's analysis finds a parallel in the work of Dutch religious anthropologist Jan van Baal. By comparing play, art and religion, Van Baal (1972) points to a common source for these three cultures. Man feels part of the world and at the same time at a distance. The symbols create this distance because, for the human subject defined as homo exprimens, they refer to objects even when they are not there. The ability to reflect is paid for with distance, absence and loneliness. From Van Baal's point of view, play, art and religion each offer in their own way a solution to the fundamental tension between partiality and detachment (Van Baal 1972: 118). In the game, participants create a separate world that they know is fictional. This world has its own rules, but despite these rules, the uncertainty of chance is also present. In art, the world speaks to people as inherently beautiful, as an invitation to enjoy reality. There is


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or they have a sense of belonging, a sense of belonging even when the aesthetic experience is momentary. Religion offers a solution to this fundamental problem by offering a way of communicating, mainly with supernatural forces, but also with other people and with nature. The difference between the world evoked in play and that evoked in religion is that only in the latter does the question of life and death predominate. While in the reality of the game uncertainty is exciting, in the reality of religion uncertainty feeds fear. Of the three categories discussed here, play offers the greatest awareness of dealing with an imaginary world, with an illusion that helps to understand the incomprehensible mystery (Van Baal 1971: 125). Victor Turner, who contributed to various sub-disciplines of anthropology, developed a particular approach to the study of play, particularly in his later publications. But already at the beginning of his career, when he coined the concept of social drama, gaming was the focus of his observations. This led him to study ritual and theater (Turner 1982). The threshold phase of the ritual process (Turner 1974) has many playful features, although the initial list of typical threshold elements did not include play (1974:93). In a later work, Turner calls play the essence of liminality and speaks of "the playful ability to catch symbols in motion and to play with their possibilities of form and meaning" (1982: 23). Liminality combines work and play. In the modern 'liminoid' environment, gambling is relegated to the sphere of leisure, with the exception of a few professionals, such as academics and actors, who turn their gambling into a commercial activity (1982:33,55). Turner's work is very provisional and conjectural; It is very stimulating for studying the game. In his opinion, the game combines the contrast between the two hemispheres of the human brain, the two are characterized by different tasks. Following Barbara Lex, Turner (1988: 163) describes the tasks of the left hemisphere as: speaking, linear analytical thinking, time evaluation, sequentially organized information. The right hemisphere is characterized by: limited language ability, holistic synthetic thinking, spatial perception, information organized in patterns. Turner adopts the idea of ​​a “rapid functional alternation of each hemisphere” (cited in Turner 1988: 164) from D'Aquili, Laughlin and McManus (1979: 174). The left half is dominant and activating, the right half has a stabilizing effect. Of course, one is reminded of Bloch's distinction between propositional logic and parallel distributed processing. Connectionist "processing units" might be in the right hemisphere, while verbalization can be said to be in the left hemisphere. The structure

6. Interdisciplinary perspectives


The naturalistic distinction between paradigmatic comparisons and chains of phrases or, in the musical metaphor, between harmony and melody can also be classified in this scheme of the cerebral hemispheres. Turner understands the ritual as a combination of the properties of the two hemispheres that evoke a sense of well-being. Ecstasy, mysticism and enlightenment are terms for this state in which paradoxes are considered acceptable or even welcome (1988:166). Turner adds italics and again cites D'Aquili, Laughlin, and McManus (1979:177) who propose that "during certain meditative and ritualistic states, logical paradoxes or opposite-pole consciousness as depicted in myth appear simultaneously, both as antinomies as well as as unity". . totalities". In a later publication, the same authors (Laughlin, McManus, and D'Aquili 1990:180) refer to the game as "in the evolutionary foundations of science and mysticism". Turner claims the game is difficult to localize in the brain. It has an interface function (Turner 1988:167), 'between and between', 'as if' rather than 'as it is' (Turner 1988:169). Many of the ideas presented so far point to a connection between the playful and a fundamental human situation: the simultaneous engagement with different forms of reality that manifest themselves simultaneously. This point has been pursued further in symbolic anthropology. An interesting human tool for dealing with this situation is the trope, especially the tropes of metaphor and metonymy. Tropes contain playful aspects. They are used to control reality to maintain a sense of a unified rather than a fragmented reality. Fernández talks about the game of and between the tropes (1986, 1991: 6.7); Friedrich introduces the term "polytropy" (Friedrich 1991: 17-55). Metaphors belong to two domains (Quinn and Holland 1987: 30). They are images taken from a familiar realm and applied to another incipient (Fernandez 1986, passim) and unknown realm, with the purpose of clarifying and familiarizing this last realm. Scholars also use metaphors, such as when comparing society to an organism or mechanism. In religion in particular, metaphors bring the subject back to the whole, precisely by establishing a relationship between two realms that previously seemed separate (Fernández 1986: 118-213). There is a double perspective in the metaphors: society may be an organism, but even the functionalists realized that literally it is not. As McFague (1983:13) has noted, metaphors "always contain the whisper 'is and is not'". Bateson (1973: 158), when speaking of play, distinguishes between primary and secondary process thinking: primary in the sense that it depicts and terminates.


Chapter 14. Methodological Ludism

ritorio are equated, secondary when distinguished. In his opinion, the game combines the two types of process thinking. Given these observations, one might conclude that metaphors create illusions, but that they are useful illusions that are widespread, including in science: "scientific models can be interpreted as extended metaphors" (Edwards 1994: 180). Of course, metaphors are not reinvented each time they are used. A speaker using a metaphor expects the audience to recognize the movement from two separate domains to two related domains or even to an integrated domain (Fernández 1986:45). The playful as the ability to treat two types of reality classification simultaneously and subjunctively finds in metaphors an important instrument for the routine connection of these two orders. Metonyms belong to one domain instead of two, but lead to the same result. A particular experience or phenomenon within that domain is generalized to the entire domain. An example from religion is the Christian expression "the cross saves from sin", in which "the cross" represents the death of Jesus as well as a whole theological justification for his death. In metonymy, two levels of order are linked, one partial and the other related to a whole. This once again clarifies the double simultaneous perspective of the playful. So, in both metaphor and metonymy, people play with domains and levels of order. They deal with the "game of tropes in culture" (Fernández 1986). Metaphors and metonyms can be distinguished, but they occur together. If the metaphors, despite the linking of two areas, imply the suggestion of a unity, of an area, they are closer to metonyms than the distinction initially suggests. Therefore, one should not limit oneself to the study of metaphor, but look at Beyond Metaphor (Fernández 1991). Here, too, distance and proximity are considered simultaneously in the context of culture. Fernández (1991:13), referring explicitly to reductionism, advocates the combination of two approaches, one reductionist and distanced, the other more poetic and participatory: . . . On the one hand, anthropological poetics challenges the dehumanization that underlies the reductionist tendencies of scientific formalization, while on the other hand, scientific formalization forestalls the overly extravagant and careless intuitive interpretations that are a trend in poetic approaches.

Poewe (1989: 375) has observed that "while the Academy seems preoccupied with text and genre and the refined world of metaphor, many in

6. Interdisciplinary perspectives


the base level has returned to experience, to "life" and to a language enhanced by metonyms. Scholars will use metaphors more easily because their supposed scientific objectivity keeps them distant from what they are studying. In everyday life and in religion, reality is experienced as a domain, so metonyms are more appropriate. In van Baal's terms, religion is a way of restoring unity and wholeness. So within the religious experience, metonymy seems to be a better tool than metaphor, although metaphors are still used. However, science cannot do without metonyms. Anthropologists need it especially because the distinction between metaphor and metonymy corresponds to that of observation (suggests distance) and participation (suggests reality), where, as we have seen, participatory observation is anthropology's characteristic twin method. There is playfulness here too, as field workers have to deal with two perspectives at the same time. You need to strike a balance between distant observation and intimate participation. As you watch, you belong to two domains; while participating, they belong to one. By simply observing, they cannot participate and vice versa. Sales representatives often report on the need for action in such situations. They too experience Ewing's tension between multiple selves and the illusion of wholeness and find a way to deal with these contradictions. Finally, another school of thought relevant to our topic must be drawn upon to make the statement. Postmodernism, whatever its value in retrospect, has made two contributions to a growing awareness of the playful in academic work. Gambling was initially identified as typical of postmodernists (Rosenau 1992: 117, 135; Bryan S. Turner 1990: 4, 5; 1991: xxi). Postmodernists have a particular interest in language games, experimenting with style and narrative insight (Sarup 1988:120). As in the playful subjunctive that deals with two different orders, postmodernists value contradictions, vagueness, paradoxes and inconsistencies. Criticism of the metanarrative leads to experimentation and openness, with the carnival being the main metaphor (Rosenau 1992:141). But unity and wholeness have become suspect, and in this sense postmodernism is blind to the fundamental tension between distance and participation, plurality and unity. I find the simultaneity of the game more interesting than the – often quite cynical in the end – preference for fragmentation. A second postmodern contribution was perhaps less intentional and more ambiguous. It has nothing to do with play, but mainly with religion and science. I'm referring to the idea that post-modification


Chapter 14. Methodological Ludism

Modern deconstruction of traditional scientific models has eroded the opposition between science and religion as modes of knowledge (Berry and Wernick 1992). When “presence” is no longer a central concept and “darker, darker ways of seeing and thinking” (Berry 1992: 2) become acceptable, this contrast loses much of its meaning. As Milbank (1992:31) says, "one can no longer want the end of religion." Rorty, often mentioned in connection with postmodernism, introduces a term that comes close to the playful. He speaks of the "ironist" (1989: xv) as: ... the kind of person confronted with the contingency of their most central beliefs and desires, someone sufficiently historicist and nominalist to have abandoned the idea that those beliefs Desires are central Desires relate to something beyond the reach of time and chance.

Rorty contrasts the ironist with the theologian and the metaphysician. Since this irony is tied to liberalism, which portrays liberals as thinking "cruelty is the worst thing we do" (Sklar quoted in Rorty 1989: xv), this position is certainly not cynical. Compared to the playfully defined above, it contains a certain degree of conjunctiveness, but lacks the simultaneity to combine, for example, ironic and metaphysical points of view. While the Rorty ironist is ironic about time and coincidence, someone who is playfully ironic will underscore a double understanding of "or" and "or". Coming from approaches and disciplines as diverse as cognitive science, psychoanalysis, symbolic anthropology, anthropology of religion, neurobiology, and postmodernism, our witnesses all point to the possibility of conjunctivity and simultaneity in viewpoints.

7. Play, Religion, and the Explanation of Religion As we have already seen, the debate about reductionism and religionism suggests the need to choose between different ways of classifying reality. The questions formulated in this section point to a number of strong contrasts, such as between the rational and irrational orders, the religious and scientific classifications, the classifications of believers and scholars, Western and non-Western perspectives. They also refer to different concepts of science.

7. Playfulness, Religion and Declaration of Religion


It has already been noted that the sharpness of these contrasts has eroded somewhat in recent decades. In the light of the previous section, it seems to me that the awareness of human playful potential reinforces this tendency and gives it a new basis, since it points to the art of treating simultaneous and conjunctively contrasting classifications. The different ways of explaining religion, although contradictory and mutually exclusive, can be evaluated in a playful way. In this way it will be possible to overcome the known dichotomies, not necessarily by producing a synthesis or some form of dialectic, but by adopting two or more perspectives simultaneously. Scientists, to their own detriment, have left a significant portion of human potential untapped. Academics may reflect the modernity of the times they live in, but they also suffer the consequences of the modern exile of the playful, domesticated in its own harmless sphere. You have to relearn how to use both sides of your brain at the same time and how to deal with opposites. Even if playful simultaneity has been rediscovered and rediscovered in recent times, this human talent should not be buried, but used. Religious studies is a field of application more than anywhere else, not only because of its methodological relevance, but also because religion is one of the fields of activity of the playful. I propose that methodological Luddism is necessary to study the playfulness of religious people. Object and method are based on the same foundation, and that's more than just a coincidence. This similarity between the simultaneity of viewpoints in religion and religious studies arises for the simple reason that the playful can be applied to more than one area of ​​human activity. The implementation of Luddism as a metaposition in scholarly work opens the eyes of the scholar to the vision of the believer's "constellation". This position takes us beyond the choice between methodological atheism, agnosticism, or theism. Appealing to a perspective of simultaneity, the playful invites a triple gaze, simultaneously theistic, atheistic and agnostic. In this way, a place can be given to methodological theism, which has so far been neglected in the debate. It is then possible to carve out the legacy of Van Baal expressed in his last publication (1990:20,55) and urge us to see the believer as normal and not deviant. The anthropologist's method of participant observation offers a good starting point when interpreted as a playful activity in the sense I have given (cf. Van Baal 1990: 55). If only as a hypothesis, scholars should reverse the present perspective and start at the believer's end, taking the mysticism.


Chapter 14. Methodological Ludism

not as an option but as a complacent necessity (Van Baal 1990: 67). Against this background, the idea of ​​a "useful illusion" is no longer a contradiction, but rather acceptable within the simultaneity of the playful perspective (cf. Kliever 1981; Nijssen 1991; Vaihinger 1922). As a method, the application of the playful to the study of religion is more than a juxtaposition of opposing approaches mentioned in the first paragraph of this section. It enables a new way of looking at religion. The methodological Luddism espoused here offers the bonus of simultaneous insight. This is not necessarily a synthesis, but rather an overview of the entire constellation of possibilities. It's also more than empathy, because the subjunctive "make believe" guarantees sincere compassion that's honest and absolute while it lasts. In this sense, Luddism goes beyond religious and reductionist positions. The use of play skills recommended for the study and explanation of religion is also found in religion itself. If it is indeed a universal human ability, it must necessarily be present in the religious realm as well. Van Baal's comments on the proximity between religion and play point in this direction, as do Fernández's emphasis on trope play and the search for wholeness in religions (Fernández 1986:188-213). The human and the superhuman, the nature and the supernatural, the part and the whole, are present as different orders simultaneously and conjunctively in the playful capacity at work in religion. There are several other indications that the playful and the religious are related, as in ritual, particularly through the use of masks, but also in myth, as in the figure of the trickster. Huizinga has already pointed this out (1952: passim). Syncretism can be defined as a playful handling of religious assignments of different orders. The same applies to the – often syncretic – popular religion as an alternative to the official religion. Magic represents an alternative and illegitimate production of religion (Bourdieu 1971). It can be understood from a playful perspective, as stated in Winnicott's above-quoted phrase about the ambiguity between "personal psychic reality and the experience of controlling real objects" and its connection with the precariousness of magic. As Luhrmann (1989:332-3) paraphrases Winnicott, says: The crucial part of magical practice is that the game's claim to be a powerful and effective magician is also a claim to reality, a science-like claim about magic . Effectiveness of Magic in the Physical World.

7. Playfulness, Religion and Declaration of Religion


This allows magicians to "vacillate between the literal and the metaphorical when performing magic" (Luhrmann 1989:333). Perhaps religious students should put some more of that magic into their religious studies! It must be added that religions, as has happened in academia, have often abolished the playful dimension because it is disruptive. The subjunctive "as if" is experienced as threatening. Simultaneity may be promising, but it is a threat to interest groups and the logical order of authorities. Hence syncretism, magic and popular religion are condemned as heresy by learned religion. In this context, it is worth noting that doubt and skepticism are seldom part of the official version of a religion, although they are typical of many religious experiences and represent a playful double consciousness. As Pruyser (1976:190) notes, although focal feelings may convince the participant that they are in the presence of the sacred, there may be a faint but persistent feeling in the background of their awareness that they are engaged in a "fictitious" act is involved '. and that it is entirely within your power to get out of it.

The Wagenia initiation, as we have seen, is a perfect example of this "glow". Similarly, the Brazilian spiritualists have developed their own method of healing. Without idealizing the individual consciousness, it should be pointed out that institutionalization in religion as in science can generate mechanisms of power. While the result is a monoparadigmatic school education process in science, fundamentalism and orthodoxy come to the fore in religion. Connectionist mechanisms in religious thought are completely overlooked and consequently blind to the playful perspective. Metaphors are reified and taken literally. In Bateson's words: map and territory are equated. What remains is the exclusively serious, verbalized, dichotomous propositional logic of orthodoxy, made for eternity, but in reality nothing more than a petrified monument of the past. When it comes to science, the playful attitude demands what many would consider a literal somersault, the death of scientific explanation and debate. However, the special attraction of the playful lies in the possibility of looking at things from a different perspective, without giving up a previous classification that was considered preferred or even exclusive. The seriousness that goes with being playful allows for both exclusivity and inclusion. It's a way of playing with the alternatives where you can get hooked on any of those alternatives. It is the seduction of the meta


Chapter 14. Methodological Ludism

phor who whispers "is and is not" (McFague 1983:13). It is a way of transforming the vice of contradiction into a methodological principle. The multiple selves of the researcher are complemented by the illusion of wholeness. A plea for the playful therefore implies a form of eclecticism in relation to explanatory paradigms. The benefit of such an approach is that it expands the space for creativity and experimentation, and in that sense the scientific enterprise does not have to succumb to somersault, but appears rejuvenated. The playful attitude can put an end to a sterile argument about the rationality of religion or non-Western cultures, for example. The self-sufficiency and inherent logic of every classification of reality can be recognized without falling into sterile relativism. It is the condition of simultaneity rather than coexistence that prevents relativism. The playful also shows a way beyond a choice between objectivity and subjectivity. Secularization can be reconsidered from a playful perspective, curiously not only from an academic perspective but also from a personal one (Kliever 1981). The elaboration of the methodological implications would require another chapter. A new methodology needs to be developed and that will certainly not be easy. Playful ability has a certain nonsense, it is itself a trickster, as V. Turner (1988: 167-170) says. Therefore, its added dimension defies categories and creates surprises. For scientific work, however, something like Winnicott's Intermediate Area would be helpful. It requires a different perspective and understanding than what the scholars have been taught. The playful offers a more promising perspective. Playfulness, which is inevitably ridiculous for some, can lead to clarity for others. One condition is that the overly serious "official" view of religion that is often typical of Western culture and academic discourse is forgotten, and also the homogeneous and unequivocal discourses about other cultures of the kind "The BongoBongo" are of the opinion that .. '. Non-Western cultures and religions are full of examples of playfulness, as the Wagenia and their supposed mysteries showed me when I started doing anthropological fieldwork. If the field of study is full of examples and the dual perspective required of the field researcher is consistent with the religion, adopting an appropriate methodology should not be too difficult. It may mean that research reports must avoid overly strict sentence logic. Since the publication of Writing Culture (Clifford and Marcus 1986), anthropologists have become more aware of this than ever



"Poetics and politics of ethnography" is the subtitle of this collection of articles. Knowing the styles helps to translate the playful ability into the field research methodology. As for politics, the Wagenia novices and the Brazilian spiritualists showed me the local and political nature of my discourse. I was struck by the playfulness that had been banished from my own discipline and consequently conditioned not to observe. If Luddism proves to be a viable alternative, the polemic between the religious and the reductionist may gradually come to an end. The interdisciplinary study of religions is relieved and can be stimulated enormously.

8. Conclusion When religious students integrate human play into their method and discover its traces in the religions they study, interdisciplinary religious studies will take a leap forward. The perspective of methodological Luddism and the simultaneity of classifications allow one to preserve personal beliefs while accepting those of others. In this way one can be a believer and a student of other people's faith. It will be possible to use the preferred methods without giving up other methods. It is possible to be a methodological theist, an atheist, and an agnostic at the same time, and even to subscribe to these positions. Eclectic use of paradigms will no longer be anything to be ashamed of. The interdisciplinary contact is considerably facilitated. As proponents of the participatory method of observation, anthropologists are in an excellent position to play a leading role in the development of this tentative, or even preliminary, approach.

Acknowledgments I would like to thank Lourens Minnema for her important reading recommendations; Anton van Harskamp, ​​​​Bert Musschenga and the other members of the Relativism Group of the Bezinningscentrum der Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam for their comments; Rein Fernhout, Sander Griffioen, Hans Tennekes, Henk Versnel and an anonymous reviewer for comments on earlier drafts; the members of the Specialization Meeting in Religious and Symbolic Anthropology and the Postdoctoral Reading Group


Chapter 14. Methodological Ludism

Your interest in my efforts to understand religion in a playful way. I thank the Research Center for Religion and Society at the University of Amsterdam, in particular Peter van Rooden, for a stimulating discussion. Special thanks to my Ph.D. Students. As I reflect on the playful, João Guilherme Biehl has inspired me enormously to continue the search for the game.

Literature Alexander, Franz (1958). A contribution to game theory. Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 27, 175-93. A game theory and fantasy. In: Gregory Bateson (1973). Steps Towards an Ecology of Mind: Collected Essays in Anthropology, Psychiatry, Evolution, and Epistemology. St. Louis Albans: Paladin, p. 150 at 66. Berry, Philippa (1992). Introduction. In: Philippa Berry and Andrew Wernick (eds.) (1992). Shadows of the Mind: Postmodernism and Religion. London: Routledge, pp. 1–8. Berry, Philippa, and Andrew Wernick (eds.). Shadows of the Mind: Postmodernism and Religion. London: Rouledge. Bloch, Moritz (1991). Language, Anthropology and Cognitive Science. Man, 26, 183-98. Bourdieu, Pierre (1971). Genesis and structure of the religious field. French Review of Sociology, 12, 295-334. Religion defined and explained. London: Macmillan. Clifford, James and George E. Marcus (eds.) (1986). Writing culture: poetics and politics of ethnography. Berkeley: University of California Press. Csordas, Thomas J (1993). Somatic forms of attention. Cultural Anthropology, 8(2), 135-56. D'Andrade, Roy G. (1992). schemes and motivation. In: R D'Andrade and C Strauss (eds) (1992). Human motives and cultural models. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 23-44. D'Andrade, Roy G. (1995). The development of cognitive anthropology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. D'Aquili, Eugene, Charles D. Laughlin, and John McManus (eds.) (1979). The ghost of the ritual. New York: Columbia University Press. Droogers, Andrew (1980). The Dangerous Journey: Symbolic Aspects of Children's Initiation among the Wagenia of Kisangani, Zaire. The Hague: Sheep. Droogers, Andrew (1991). Brazil as a patient: Political healing and 'New Era' in a spirit group. In: Andre Droogers, Gerrit Huizer and Hans Siebers (eds.) (1981). Popular Power in Latin American Religions. Saarbrücken and Fort Lauderdale: Breitenbach, pp. 1-1 237 – 59. Edwards, Tony (1994). Religion, Explanation and the Asceticism of Inquiry. In: Thomas A. Idinopulos and Edward A. Yonan (eds.). religion and



Reductionism: Essays on Eliade, Segal, and the Challenge of the Social Sciences to the Study of Religion. Leiden: Brill, pp. 162-82 Ehrmann, Jacques (1968). Homo ludens revisited. Yale French Studies, 41, 51-57. Ewing, Katherine P. (1990). The Illusion of Wholeness: Culture, the Self, and the Experience of Incoherence. Ethos, 18(3), 251-78. Fernandez, James W. (1986). Beliefs and Achievements: The Game of Tropics in Culture. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Fernandez, James W. (ed.) (1991). Beyond Metaphor: The Theory of Tropics in Anthropology. Stanford CA: Stanford University Press. Friedrich, Paul (1991). polytropy. In: James W. Fernandez (ed.) (1991). Beyond Metaphor: The Theory of Tropics in Anthropology. Stanford CA: Stanford University Press, pp. 17-55 Guthrie, Stewart Elliott (1993). Faces in the clouds: a new theory of religion. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press. Huizinga, Johan (1952). Homo ludens: Proeve a bepaling van het spel-element der cultuur. Haarlem: Tjeenk Willink. Idinopulos, Thomas A. & Edward A. Yonan (eds.) (1994). Religion and Reductionism: Essays on Eliade, Segal, and the Challenge of the Social Sciences to the Study of Religion. Leiden: Great. Kliever, Lonnie D. (1981). Fictional Religion: Rhetoric and Play. Journal of the American Academy of Religion, 49, 657-69. Lacerda de Azevedo, José (1988). Spirit/Home: New Horizons for Medicine. Porto Alegre: Pallotti. Lacerda de Azevedo, José (1997). Mind and Matter: New Horizons for Medicine. Tempe: New Falcon Releases. Laughlin, Charles D., John McManus, and Eugene D. D'Aquili (1990). Brain, Symbol and Experience: Towards a Neurophenomenology of Human Consciousness. Boston and Shaftesbury: New Science Library, Shambhala. Luhrmann, T.M. (1989). Beliefs in Witchcraft: Ritual, Magic and Witchcraft in England Today. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. McFague, Sally (1983). metaphorical theology. London: SCM. Milbank, J. (1992). Problematizing the secular: the post-postmodern agenda. In P Berry and A Wernick (eds) (1992) Shadow of Spirit: Postmodernism and Religion. London: Routledge, pp. 30-44 Nijssen, Freek N.M. (1991). Onder Goden en Goochelaars. Trouw, 2/15/91, 19. Pannenberg, Wolfhart (1984). Anthropology in theological perspective. Goettingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. Poewe, Karla (1989). On the metonymic structure of religious experiences: The example of charismatic Christianity. Cultural Dynamics, 2(4), 361-80. Preus, J. Samuel (1987). Explaining Religion: Criticism and Theory from Bodin to Freud. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. Pruyser, Paul W. (1976). A dynamic psychology of religion. New York: Harper & Row. Quinn, Naomi (1991). The cultural basis of metaphor. In: J.W. Fernández (ed.) (1991). Beyond Metaphor: The Theory of Tropics in Anthropology. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, pp. 56-93.


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Quinn, Naomi, and Dorothy Holland (eds.) (1987). Cultural models in language and thought. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Rörty, Richard (1989). contingency, irony and solidarity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Rosenau, Paulina M. (1992). Postmodernism and the Social Sciences: Perceptions, Raids and Incursions. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Sarup, Madan (1988). An introduction to poststructuralism and postmodernism. New York: Harvester Wheatsheaf. Segal, Robert A (1989). Religion and the Social Sciences: Essays on Confrontation. Atlanta GA: Academic Press. Sharpe, Eric J (1975). Comparative Religion: A History. London: Duckworth. Thomas, Louis-Vincent, René Luneau and Jean-Léonce Doneux (1969). Les religions d'Afrique noire: Texts and traditions sacred. Paris: Fayard Denoel. Turner, Bryan S. (ed.) (1990). Modern and postmodern theories. London: Wise. Turner, Bryan S. (ed.) (1991). religious and social theory. London: Wise. Turner, Victor W. (1974). The ritual process: structure and antistructure. Harmondsworth: Penguin. Turner, Victor W. (1982). From ritual to theatre: the human seriousness of play. New York: PAJ Publications. Turner, Victor W. (1988). The anthropology of action. New York: PAJ Publications. Vaihinger, Hans (1922). The philosophy of alsob: system of theoretical, practical and religious fictions of humanity based on an idealistic positivism. Leipzig: Felix Meiner. Van Baal, January (1972). De boodschap der three illusies: Overthinking about religion, art and spel. Assen: Van Gorcum. Van Baal, January (1990). Mystery as Disclosure. Utrecht: ISOR. Winnicott, Donald W. (1971). game and reality. London: Tavistock.

Chapter 15 The Third Bank of the River: The Game, Methodological Luddism, and the Definition of Religion The only theory worth having is the one you fight, not the one you speak with profound fluency. (Hall 1992: 280)

1. Introduction: Definitions and Dichotomies At the back of the academic mind lies the illusion that there is such a thing as the perfect definition. This illusion is kept alive, and sometimes even encouraged, by echoes of the positivist belief that scientists can and should have the final say on the reality "out there." Even if this realism takes the form of a post-positivist critical realism with more modest pretensions, the attitude of the definer does not undergo a radical change. Objectivity remains the ideal. Despite widespread postmodernist doubts about the possibility of seeing the reality “outside” and aiming at the reality “in here”, the academic habit of many scholars does not seem to have given up the positivist or postpositivist ideal (cf. Guba 1990: 18 -23). . The need for a definitional debate in the case of religion is a symptom of this delay. That the definition of religion is a problem in itself seems to be due in part to the confrontation between the institutions of religion and science and their proponents. Supporters of two worldviews with more or less exclusive claims collide, especially in times of globalization, in which religions and science collide on a global scale. World religions today find themselves outside the territory they occupied two centuries ago, often thanks to the tools provided by science and technology (like transportation and broadcasting). Western science and technology have changed the face of the earth, often as a result of religiously motivated economic behavior. However, science and religion are not easy bedfellows. Just as scholars do not accept religious views of what science should be, believers can also be shocked by scholars' views of what religion is about. Scholars cannot only describe


Chapter 15. The third bank of the river

religion, but they also use scientific criteria to explain it, evaluating religion as if it weren't the last word: an illusion, useful perhaps, but definitely wrong. Likewise, believers can use religious norms to express negative views about scientific claims, as is the case with some forms of fundamentalism such as creationism. Defenders of religion often do not speak to those of science and vice versa. Under these circumstances, little scientific or religious salvation can be expected from the encounter between the two, which can be summed up in the difficulties of a scientific definition of religion and, moreover, of a religiously defined science. The question is whether the terms can be changed. It is clear, however, that discussing the definition of religion requires maneuvering on the frontier between two kingdoms that often oppose each other because of their claims. Consequently, in a debate about the definition of religion, one must consider not only religion but also science. As a representative of religious studies in times of postmodernism and globalization, the scholar as a definer is also part of the definition problem. This is all the more true today when religion is a relatively new academic term, especially when used only in the singular, as a human universal (Saler 1993: 64-68). Asad even doubts that the term religion referred to the same phenomena in different eras: "The socially identifiable forms, premises and effects of what passed as religion in medieval Christian times were very different from what passed as religion." modern society” (Asad 1993: 29). For this and other reasons he rejects the possibility of a universal definition of religion: "that definition is itself the historical product of discursive processes" (Asad 1993: 29). The fact that we are conditioned by our own time and culture is not, in my opinion, a sufficient reason to free ourselves from the definition of religion. Instead, it challenges us to be aware of and critically consider the conditions that constrain the current process of discursive definition. So the purpose of my post is to raise awareness, especially now that religion and science tend to avoid dialogue. So how can we break through this impasse? First, and without simply adopting the postmodern approach, it can be useful to accept that perfection is practically unattainable, even in a rigorous and critical science. To define means to select, reduce and simplify. It is therefore important to know which criteria the definer applies in the course of this selection, reduction and simplification process. The less specific the criteria, the more vague the definition and the more vague the

1. Introduction: definitions and dichotomies


Limits of the defined phenomenon. The more specific the criteria of the definer, the more exclusive and limited is their definition. Therefore, the functional, substantive, experiential, and familial definitions of similarity (Clarke and Byrne 1993: 6,7) differ in scope. If the selection criterion relates to the functions and purposes that religion fulfills, then phenomena that cannot be included in a more substantive definition with the criterion of belief as relation to the sacred, i. B. God, gods, spirits and other supernatural or metaempirical beings or forces could be referred to as "religion" (e.g. football, ideology). Similarly, when the emphasis is on experience, the selection of phenomena differs from a familiar approach that denies the need to apply a single criterion. In each case, it is the definer's particular view of religion, including his proposed explanation of religion, that guides the process of selection, reduction, and simplification. The illusion of a perfect and definitive definition denies choice. It contains an ambiguity: it whispers in the back of our minds that the voice alone is beautiful, but at the same time it wants that voice to encompass and express as much as possible and be a chorus unto itself. For proponents of the One Voice approach, the variety of definitions is disturbing. However, the impossibility of expressing everything in a single sentence inevitably leads to a plethora of propositions that seem to have some validity. Functional, substantive, experiential, and familial definition types contain plausible versions of religious reality, each relevant in its own context. The definitions are therefore partial and complementary, despite the probable desire of their authors to express, to the best of their ability, an idea that can stand the test of time. Paradoxically, therefore, both exclusivity and complementarity characterize the relationship between proposed definitions. The dispute between its authors is based on the supposed intention of convincing or at least challenging the other, and is nevertheless realistic enough to be satisfied with the abundance of opinions. The choice is not, as in a digital mindset (Saler 1993: 12), between good and bad, this or that, or yes and no, but rather personalized between what is right in that context. , or for me, and what is right in another context and for you. A collection of articles representative of widely differing opinions is itself a good metaphor for such an approach. As we shall see, a reference to human playability can help legitimize such an attitude, which combines different criteria.


Chapter 15. The third bank of the river

Interestingly, the criteria tend to be organized dichotomously. The nature of the dichotomies facilitates both exclusivity and complementarity. On the one hand, the poles seem to suggest the need for a choice, because the two terms are often asymmetrical in a dichotomy, especially when “real” science is understood to be exclusively monoparadigmatic. On the other hand, when reality is considered too complex to model, an inclusive holistic approach is advocated, minimally eclectic, polyparadigmatic, where the whole spectrum between the poles of the dichotomy is considered relevant, or, more difficult, because of an approach that tries to to overcome dichotomous thinking and appear as if it were “the third bank of the river”, as the Brazilian writer Guimarães Rosa (Guimarães Rosa 1993) puts it. The debate surrounding the definition of religion is full of dichotomies. Let's examine some of them. Dichotomous thinking distorts reality through its simplification, but it also has certain didactic advantages that may explain its obstinacy. I contend that the dichotomies to be discussed are still active, albeit in a mild form that shows awareness of bias, but are influential nonetheless. A fundamental dichotomy concerns the contrast between the need to be precise in definition and the religious experience of the "unspeakable". The latter could be a reason not to search for a definition of religion. From this point of view, the scientific need to express as adequately as possible what is characteristic of a phenomenon cannot be compared to the believer's human inability to express his or her experience of the superhuman, i. i.e. something that is beyond words, unspeakable. The manifestation of the supernatural cannot be represented in natural terms. Whatever is said to define religion will always fail to convey what religion is really about. This basic dichotomy has to do with the contrast between what anthropologists call emic and ethical approaches, broadly speaking, the views of insiders and outsiders. Should believers recognize themselves in the etic wording of the definer? Are emic religious perceptions relevant to the definition and explanation of religion, or should we confine ourselves to academic discourse? Consequently, religion is defined in extremes in terms of the sacred that manifests and is therefore at the origin of religion (religious vision), or it is shaped reductionistically and generally functionalistly in terms of what non-religious goals are served - whether the believers want it or not - like the social (Durkheim), the psychological (Freud) or the ecological

1. Introduction: definitions and dichotomies


nomic (Marx) roles of religion. In the reductionist functional approach, the purpose of religion points teleologically to its origin. The emic/etic dichotomy is related to another, already mentioned above, which opposes religion and science. The process of secularization, partly the result of scientific criticism of religion, shows that the two are not unconnected. The scientific view of religion, therefore, may reflect the erosion that religion has suffered in recent decades. In other words, the scientific objectivity of the definer can lead to a view that is perceived by religious people and, in their wake, by scholars of religion, as tainted by anti-religious subjectivity. In his opinion, science seems to assume the role of the judge, without prejudice to being one of the parties in the conflict to be judged. This situation complicates the debate about the definition of religion because it is not clear to both believers and religious scholars whether the defining scholar is really an objective outsider making his unbiased characterization of religion as he might define science of any other social one Phenomenon. Religious believers will see the definer as tainted by the mere fact of being part of a critical and aloof academy. Scholars are free to regard this issue as not their problem and outside their linguistic realm, and reductionist scholars are generally uninterested in the characterization of the problem by the religious, let alone the apologetics of the believers. However, the question remains: Is an understanding of religion, as expressed in a definition, for example, possible without taking the religious perspective into account? This chapter examines the plausibility of using alternatives simultaneously and inclusively, and may help to break the impasse between reductionists and religionists without losing the advantages that both approaches offer. This approach might be facilitated if it could be shown that religion and science face similar problems. This requires a different view of science and religion. As will be shown, the notion of play offers such a perspective. Another dichotomy that has had structuring consequences for the debate surrounding the definition of religion is that between unity and diversity. On the one hand, religion, like culture, is understood in the exclusive singular without the plural and is regarded as a universal human characteristic. Most definitions of religion refer to this singular. However, this universal human phenomenon manifests itself in extreme diversity, especially if one does not limit oneself to the five so-called world religions, but also takes into account the thousands of “tribal” religions, such as e.g


Chapter 15. The third bank of the river

and the many new religions that have emerged from syncretic processes stimulated by globalization. But even if we focus on the five world religions, it must be recognized that they are far from homogeneous. Each religion has its own currents and modalities, and to this must be added the popular versions of each of the official modalities. In a way, the dichotomy between unity and diversity applies to academic discourse as well. Diversity is inherent in the various disciplines that students of religion study. Throughout the history of religious studies, scholars such as historians, philologists, and archaeologists have also focused on this diversity, while others, particularly phenomenologists of religion and philosophers of religion, have sought the common and universal (Sharpe 1975:220). . The same contrast is present in the types of definition mentioned above. In particular, functional definitions, since they aim at the general utility of religion, do not encompass the diversity of religious manifestations and expressions, nor do they explain the specifics of each religion. Substantive, experiential, and family-like definitions shed more light on the diversity of each religion by summarizing the forms that the sacred can take. Within and between disciplines, paradigm writers compete for authority, and in this struggle definitions can serve as banners. Consequently, a variety of viewpoints develop that have consequences for both the definer of religion and its product. Roughly speaking, you have a choice between a single, mono-paradigmatic approach and a plural, poly-paradigmatic method. In the latter case there may be varying degrees of eclecticism, ironically corresponding to degrees of religious syncretism distinguished in the literature (see Droogers 1989:14 and Rudolph 1979:207 for a general description). Eclecticism can thus, in its minimal form, be a practical juxtaposition of models used according to the characteristics of the case studied, while at the other extreme it proposes a new synthesis as a stage towards a monoparadigmatic approach. In between, other degrees of the model mix are also possible. Despite, or thanks to, his broad perspective, even the eclecticist has the illusion of perfect definition in the back of his mind, just as the monoparadigm researcher has to admit that he is not alone in the world. As we shall see, the seeming contradiction of this ambiguous use of paradigms can become an asset in the light of the notion of play, for play is a way of dealing with different perspectives. So how can we do justice to the succinct and the unspeakable, emic and ethical views, explanation through religion and explanation?

2. Game and Religion


of religion, unity and diversity in religion, monoparadigmatic and polyparadigmatic approaches? How can we ensure scientific unity and diversity while defining and explaining religious unity and diversity? The term 'illusion', a word etymologically linked to homo ludens, has been referred to several times (Huizinga 1952: 12). In this chapter I will argue that the concept of "game" can be useful in overcoming some of the difficulties lurking in the definition debate. The phenomenon to be defined, religion, and the activity of defining it, can be clarified by a reference to "game". Both religion and the study of religion can be viewed fruitfully in the light of this concept. This will lead to a defense of what I have called methodological luddism (Droogers 1996). Their consequences for the definition of religion are examined. The following sections discuss the relationship between gaming and religion, adding the dimension of power to this relationship. This leads to a tentative definition of religion. From there, the importance of the game for the understanding of religious studies is shown. Finally, the meaning of the concept of play for the understanding of religion and religious studies is summarized in a definition.

2. Game and Religion In common parlance, the first connotation of game is that it is the opposite of serious, although a game is tainted unless played seriously. Because religion, like science in general, is considered a legitimate business, any reference to gambling may seem out of place when discussing a scientific definition of religion. However, a lot depends on how the game is designed. The literature on defining gambling is not very helpful as it is even more diverse than that on defining religion. The diversity of the phenomena that make up the game and the heterogeneity of the scientific approaches do not facilitate the definition process (cf. e.g. Caillos 1958, Handelman 1987, Kolb 1989, Norbeck 1974). It makes a difference whether you are talking about parlor games, sports competitions, gambling, child or animal games, drama, puns or power games. An ethologist will take a different approach than a psychologist, let alone a linguist or recreational scholar.


Chapter 15. The third bank of the river

In a previous post I gave the following definition: play is “the ability to engage simultaneously and conjunctively with two or more types of reality classification” (Droogers 1996: 53). The verb "play" then refers to the use of that human ability and "playful" and "playful" to the attitude through which that ability is activated. I am aware that my definition is only one of many possible definitions (see e.g. Csikszentmihalyi & Bennett 1971; Csikszentmihalyi 1975), but it serves my purposes better for several reasons. First of all, the use of the adjective "subjunctive" emphasizes the creative potential of the game. The term comes from the work of Victor Turner (Turner 1977:33, 1988:169), where the "as is" of the indicative is opposed to the "as if" of the subjunctive. Second, my definition presents play as a general human skill rather than the product or application of that skill represented by the cultural form. So it's about more than playing in the actual sense, i.e. as a more or less extraordinary, abnormal context outside of "normal" life. Thirdly, the broader perspective takes advantage of the simultaneity of two sets of rules, each of which encompasses a way of classifying reality. As a game lasts, only one sentence is valid and creates its own reality. But even during the game itself you are aware that at the end of the game the other group will win. The simultaneity of different orders, the normal and the abnormal, the ordinary and the extraordinary is inherent in the game. It invites us to think differently, stereophonically, if you will, to an inner dialogue of contrasting points of view. He implicitly characterizes both ways of constructing reality in play as equally serious, thereby avoiding the modern misconception that play is identical to 'not serious', 'just a game' apart from 'real' life. The seriousness of the game seems to have become invisible to modern eyes due to the strict separation of work and free time. The seriousness and commitment of work contrasts with the play of free time. It seems appropriate to free the game concept from its exile and return it to its rightful place in the prime of life. Understood in this way, play resembles what is called “articulation” in other disciplines, such as cultural studies: the process of making connections between different and dissimilar elements (Slack 1996: 114). The term became popular in cultural studies because it helped avoid reductionism, more specifically class reductionism and economic reductionism, which suggest necessary connections between a variety of phenomena on the one hand and class or mode of production on the other (Slack 1996). : 116, 117). The joint serves as

2. Game and Religion


Sign that speaks of other possibilities, of other ways of theorizing the elements of a social formation and the relations that constitute them, not only as relations of correspondence (that is, as reductionists and essentialists), but also as relations of disagreement and contradiction, and like these Relationships form entities that illustrate relationships of dominance and subordination. (Slack 1996:117)

The articulation gives its turn to simultaneity and unity, despite the diversity and opposition of practices (Slack 1996: 122). The concept of articulation has been applied to a wide range of concepts and problems. The best-known example is Gramsci's vision of hegemony. Hegemony, he says, is built through the articulation of conflicting interests by a hegemonic class, with the surprising result that, contrary to reductionist expectations, the ruled accept their subordination. It has been used to analyze what happened in the encounter between the capitalist mode of production and other modes of production, particularly in third world contexts. Another example is the understanding of communication as a process of articulation, which assumes that there cannot be a one-to-one relationship between sender and receiver, between encrypted and decrypted messages (Slack 1992: 124). It can be said that the relationship between paradigms that emphasize structure or agency, a long-standing conundrum in the social sciences, has been articulated in theories of practice or practice such as those of Bourdieu (1997) and Giddens (1984). When people use metaphors, they fuse two different realms of reality into a meaningful image (Fernández 1986). What happens in the game is that despite their differences, two different orders of classification are articulated. Instead of speaking of "the ability to concurrently and subjunctively handle two or more types of reality classification", we could also say that the game is "the ability to conjunctively articulate different types of reality classification". As I will argue later, the game can have methodological utility because different and contradictory approaches in religious studies can be combined. The corresponding attitude towards paradigms is eloquently expressed by Stuart Hall in the motto above this chapter. Anthropologists can claim to have gained some experience with this gimmick defined above, because their trademark is the method of participatory observation, an interesting combination of closeness and distance, to identify with the observed, to seek unity with them and yet to maintain academic identity, to be different and separate. What creative potential such a game application has


Chapter 15. The third bank of the river

it has been shown in the results of anthropological field research and can be of benefit to us in the study and explanation of religion. But not only anthropologists have found a methodical solution to the problem of tension between etik and emic. Efforts have also been made in the field of comparative religion to arrive at a "direct analysis of general essences or structures" (Sharpe 1975:224). This was the hermeneutic mission and hallmark of the phenomenology of religion. Epoch, understanding, and "eidetic vision" were destined to transcend the boundaries of presupposition. Though predominately oriented towards the realization of the universal essence as hidden behind the apparent multiplicity, there was undoubtedly a playful attitude in this intuitive search for the essence of experimenting with a different way of looking at reality. This, despite legitimate criticism of the phenomenology of religion as "theological propaedeutics" and as being too entangled in the subjective search for religious truth (Sharpe 1975:233, 236). Interest in gambling is not new to the anthropology of religion. At least three religious anthropologists have referenced the game in their work: namely Victor Turner, Jan van Baal and James Fernandez. Your ideas can show us the way. Together with the related findings of psychologist Donald Winnicott, they allow for a better understanding of the relationship between religion and gambling. Turner's book From Ritual to Theater (Turner 1982) is subtitled The Human Seriousness of Play. The game is characteristic of the central part of a ritual, the boundary phase. Inversions and experiments are typical of liminality. The social unity of "communitas" is conjugated with symbolic creativity and with "the playful ability to catch symbols in their movement and to play with their possibilities of form and meaning" (Turner 1982: 23). In this sphere of communitas, involvement and totality, the effects of hierarchy are temporarily excluded. Although Turner has been criticized for generalizing on this point (Eade and Salnow 1991), there are instances where his ideas are nonetheless valid. In a posthumous collection of articles, Turner (1988) examines the relationship between play and neurobiology. While the left and right brain hemispheres differ in function (more analytical-linear-causal-dichotomous or more synthetic-holistic-patterned-like-monistic), play is seen as the interface between the two. The contrast between the poles in dichotomies in the left hemisphere is complemented by wholeness in the right hemisphere. the rite is one

2. Game and Religion


Ability to stimulate both hemispheres and create a sense of well-being that can take the form of mysticism, ecstasy or enlightenment. Paradoxes are not a problem in this climate. Turner (1988: 166) quotes approvingly a statement by D'Aquili, Laughlin, and McManus (1979: 177): "During certain meditative and ritualistic states, logical paradoxes or polar opposites of consciousness as presented in myth appear simultaneously, as antinomies and as unified totalities. Turner (1988: 169) points to the political consequences of the game: it poses a risk to the system because it is open and values ​​the alternatives. Because of its conjunctive nature, the game is subversive. As Bateson (1973) has suggested, the game carries "meta-messages" and these are beyond the control of established authorities. Van Baal's contribution to this subject is in Dutch (Van Baal 1972). In translation, the title reads: "The Message of the Three Illusions". According to Van Baal, these three illusions, religion, play and art, help to overcome the basic existential problem of man: i. that is, to be part of reality and yet at the same time to be separate, isolated from it. Each of the three illusions, although they are illusions, or perhaps because they are inventions, create a sense of belonging in their own way. Religion does this by communicating with supernatural forces that cannot be verified empirically. The game generates a fictional reality that homo ludens can identify with. Art transforms reality into something beautiful and therefore pleasant. In religion, the uncertainty of human life is defined as a solvable problem, in play it increases emotions and in art it stimulates creativity. This vision of religion, play and art appears reductionist because all three are explained by their functional contribution to solving the psychological and social problem of human isolation. At the same time, however, Van Baal suggested that religion differs from play and art in that it is ultimately not an illusion (1972:125). In fact, in one of his last publications before his death, he explicitly opted for a religionist approach, in which the manifestation of what he called "the Mystery" was taken seriously in terms of explaining religion (Van Baal 1990). In presenting his views on the role of tropes, particularly metaphors, in religion (Fernández 1986), Fernández also refers to human problems of belonging and non-belonging, unity and diversity. Significantly, Fernández subtitled his book The Game of Tropics in Culture. He sees metaphors as essential tools to create a sense of wholeness precisely because a metaphor involves two realms.


Chapter 15. The third bank of the river

together that would not otherwise occur simultaneously, suggesting a connection or articulation between disparate elements. In a metaphor, one clear area is used to clarify another. Metonymy is about a single domain, but there is a sense of linkage here, e.g. when a part represents the entire domain. The trope game serves to create a feeling of belonging. Anthropologists of religion aren't the only ones linking religion to gambling. A striking example of a psychologist pointing to such a connection from the perspective of so-called object relations theory is Winnicott in his book Playing and Reality (Winnicott 1971). Here, too, the tension between belonging and non-belonging is taken as the starting point (Winnicott 1971: 6). The individual is "engaged in the ongoing human task of keeping inner and outer reality separate but connected" (Winnicott 1971:2). “What happens with the game is always the precariousness of the interplay of personal psychic reality and the experience of controlling real objects. That is the uncertainty of magic itself” (Winnicott 1971: 47). Winnicott suggests that as the child learns to distinguish self and non-self, subject and object, the child uses play to maintain a sense of being part of a larger whole. This helps the child accept the separation from the mother's body. The child's experience is constitutive of adult culture. Like Van Baal at about the same time, Winnicott proposes that religion and art represent alternative means of maintaining the intermediate zone between self and non-self where inner reality and outer life meet (Winnicott 1971:3). Therefore, according to the psychoanalyst Winnicott, illusions such as gambling, art, and religion are not pathological. What value can be drawn from a discussion about what links religion to gambling? And what consequences would that have for a definition of religion? Which criteria are typical for such a “playful” definition? Although each of these four authors has their own way of developing their ideas, they share relevant characteristics. All four associate gambling with religion, although not all games are considered religious and not all religions are gambling. All four take as their starting point the human effort most visible in religion to transcend the fundamental dichotomy of whole and part, totality and disparity, belonging and non-belonging, communitas and hierarchy, and thus bring together the opposites of the connecting identification, and the identity that differs. Through these efforts, separate realms are brought together, and despite the prevailing sense of separation, a sense of unity prevails. That is a functional and therefore rather reductionist way of dealing with religion

2. Game and Religion


only Van Baal distanced himself publicly in the last phase of his life, when he explicitly advocated a religious perspective. Play and religion are linked by the four authors to the constitution and the human situation, either neurobiologically, as in Turner's latest work; or in the tension between belonging and being outside, as we see in the work of Van Baal; or the ability to use tropes as Fernández does; or in the child's experience, as Winnicott illustrates. Gambling and religion are considered very useful tools because of their function, but also, so to speak, tolerated illusions. Playing with these illusions solves an existential problem for homo ludens. Recent ideas confirm these authors' vision of the human condition. Ewing, for example, shows how despite "several inconsistent representations of themselves, which are contextual and rapidly changing" (Ewing 1990:251), a person will maintain a coherent, unified picture of themselves, an "illusion of wholeness". In cognitive anthropology, the so-called connectionist approach (Bloch 1991, D'Andrade 1995:139-149, Strauss and Quinn 1994) was borrowed from cognitive studies to show that human thinking cannot be characterized primarily by the serial succession of ideas. . . as in a spoken or written sentence, but should be understood as a parallel consultation of separate and often contradictory but related schemas or files that are common to participants in a given cultural context. The way a conclusion is phrased in propositions should not lead us to believe that all human reflection is like this. The game I defined above as the "ability to conjunctively articulate different ways of classifying reality" depends in large part on the connectionist capacity of human thought. If the connectionism is correct, that parallel processing of different schemes is much more typically human than serial mode, then suddenly the game becomes less extraordinary. What is specifically religious about the game is the notion, and often also the experience, that beyond the differentiating and restrictive boundaries of time and space there is another dimension that transforms fragmentation into wholeness. The subjunctive of play is used to develop a vision of another reality. Playing with tropes, as Fernández suggests, reveals the unity in reality by linking separate domains or parts of domains. Through tropes, people refer to the hidden, the unseen, the absent, the future, or the abstract, all of which are essential to the idea of ​​another dimension in reality, whether denoted as sacred, supernatural, transcendental, or metaphysical, or that too be. . The specific symbol systems that are the result of this human gift differ from one another.


Chapter 15. The third bank of the river

despite the fact that certain symbols are repeated over and over again. This assertion does not rule out the possibility - a reality for believers - that this human antenna for perception corresponds to an additional dimension in reality of a sacred force or being that represents the other end of this chain of communication and manifests as similar.

3. Gambling, Power and Religion The relationship between gambling and religion cannot be understood without reference to a third component, i. My. Force. Therefore, it is important to note how play and strength are related; they can be contrasted and also reinforce each other. Let's look at the contrast first. Implicit in Turner's ideas is that investment is a threat to any hierarchical system and that playing with investments endangers the system. As I said earlier, symbols facilitate the experience of the impossible, the invisible, the unexpected, the unspeakable, the opposite of reality, ultimately the subjunctive. Those in power see the infinite possibilities suggested by the game as chaos, as a contradiction to order. The experience of infinite and eternal power central to religion can have a similar result unless it is used to legitimize and perpetuate the ruling power. Consequently, it can be said that the play with religious symbols tends to be monopolized and restricted as soon as a division of labor is installed in religion and religious specialists dominate the signification process. To put it in a connectionist way: the serial verbalization of a uniform and exclusive worldview ignores and masks the parallel processing of contradictory schemes. Only individual religious experience is the safe haven to experiment with parallel schemes and escape the power of the leaders. Ironically, play and power can not only be juxtaposed, but also merge into a power play. Power, as a tool for influencing people's behavior, can be used to thwart play, but it can also be used as a means to stimulate it, albeit under strict conditions. Therefore, a power game is sometimes played to put an end to other forms of gambling. The subjunctive then becomes the indicative, the as if in how it is. The right to play is monopolized and the rules of the game, including the ritual, are formulated by the hierarchical leadership. And this is where truth claims become so important. A situation of hegemony arises in which

3. Game, power and religion


People share the belief that they can gamble freely without realizing that the rules from above are set by others. It is the rise of power differences, the end of free play, which is arguably the downfall of original religion, "original" in both senses of time and quality. A metaphor for this fall is the story told by Umberto Eco in The Name of the Rose (Eco 1984): an overzealous monk tries to prevent his fellow monks from reading a comedy because he thinks the text is a danger to his religion. I hasten to add that I am aware that talk of the decline of the original religion is a normative statement and is understood as such in this context. In addition, in my opinion, the concept of play has an apologetic dimension, not in defense of a hierarchically organized religion, but of an original and authentic religiosity. Interestingly, Turner has been criticized by scholars who have given us examples of hierarchical relationships in marginal or borderline situations (eg, Eade and Salnow 1991). Apparently, even in these examples, the game was limited and moderated by force mechanics. In relation to religion and gambling, the role of power suggests that religion has a fundamental built-in tension between free and controlled gambling. There is a cyclical and dialectical alternation between these forms of religious formation and reproduction. The sinking is reenacted again and again. Although free play is not necessarily an individual practice, heretics and other religious innovators, including the founders of religious movements and new religions, have grappled with this tension. Some, like Muhammad, have been successful and placed themselves at the center of power. Others, like Jesus, fell victim to the exercise of power at that particular moment. The distinction between official and popular religion is based in part on the same mechanisms of power. The official and often rationalized defense of what is considered the correct version of a religion contrasts with the popular experimentation with religious resources to make sense of life in its daily and enduring vicissitudes. Like folk religion, expressions of syncretism are much more on the side of free religious use of the game, at least in the early stages, and are therefore opposed to representatives of official religions. However, such an initiative may ultimately result in a new official religion, as is the case with most of the world's religions, each with its own institutionalization process and associated game control. The current process of globalization offers examples of how power processes, essentially of economic and political origin, can stimulate


Chapter 15. The third bank of the river

Late playful religion, including forms of syncretism. The borders between cultures, but also between religions, are being broken down. The free use of the game gains new impetus through the expansion of the repertoire and the associated loss of exclusivity of the once closed systems. Communication and information enable people to develop their own vision of the world. Access to previously hidden sources opens up new perspectives for believers and eludes the control of established religious authorities. The term creolization, originally a linguistic term, is used for the human ability to move across more than one culture (Drummond 1980, Hannerz 1992). In the religious sense, too, a process of creolization is taking place, in which people can get to know more than one religion in practice and act appropriately in each of them. Diversity and interfaith community are encouraged at the same time. The Internet alone offers a multitude of religious websites. Access to such a medium requires economic strength, but more and more people are turning to the electronic highway. In the modern situation, mainstream religions suffer from deinstitutionalization, allowing individuals to build their own idiosyncratic systems and expand the fields of diversity. At the same time, however, people are looking for commonalities between religions to form a kind of meta-religious transnational experience, as is the case with several new religions, including New Age. The emphasis on stillness and individual meditation, whether as a void to be filled or an abundance to be absorbed, is a significant symptom of the search for unity in diversity. Silence invites people to play with their private stash of tropes. It allows them to do this unchecked by lecturing on religious authority. But not only the laity, but also those in leadership positions of the world religions, the defenders of the official versions, are confronted with the consequences of globalization. If ever a climate of splendid isolation has been maintained, no contemporary religious leader can avoid the question of how to position himself vis-à-vis other religions. As always, autonomy, self-sufficiency and combat readiness are among the possibilities. However, more and more experiments with forms of dialogue are dared and in some cases a certain degree of institutionalization is achieved. A playful attitude toward other religions is a mode of dialogical attitude (Droogers 1995b). The question of the balance of power between religions can be answered in the concept of play.

4. A preliminary definition


4. A Provisional Definition If religion is seen as one of the areas in which the human ability to play plays a crucial role, this can be reflected in a definition of religion. As the four authors discussed above have indicated, religion is inherently open to and dependent on play because play helps people to overcome the fundamental human problem of both being part and separate. By playing the subjunctive, man becomes aware of another dimension in reality. Even without being limited to the actual function of the game, one could surmise that the origin of religion is partly to be found in this human ability. The ability to engage with two or more ways of relating reality simultaneously uses symbolic means to introduce the idea of ​​an additional dimension into reality. From the dual perspective revealed in the ability to play, humans see themselves as both autonomous and dependent, unique and part of the universe. The game articulates the ambiguity of reality as one in diversity. It facilitates a possible distinction between a natural and a supernatural dimension. If certain believers emphasize the sacred unity of reality while others can distinguish the divine from the human, the supernatural from the natural, then both groups have found a solution to the dichotomy problem of unity in diversity. Formulated in this way, both dualistic and monistic worldviews have a place, because simultaneity allows unity despite the division of reality. Interestingly, the opposition between science and religion can only arise in a dualistic perspective, as the history of modern science has shown us. So it could be that the question of defining religion is in part just a product of Western-Christian dualism (Sahlins 1996). The higher the degree of institutionalization, the easier it is to manage the risks that the free use of gambling can have for the religious institution. In doing so, they are captivated by the infinite potential of the game. On the other hand, as we have already seen, power constellations can certainly stimulate the use of the game. In any case, mechanisms of power must always be considered when examining the relationship between gaming and religion. Summarizing the approach pursued so far, religion can be provisionally defined as: a term that science uses for the diverse application - within the power mechanisms corresponding to the degree of institutionalization - the human ability to play the articulation of the experienced tension between inexpressibility and representation, between belonging


Chapter 15. The third bank of the river

between a unifying identification and a differentiating identity, an application that adds an extra dimension to reality that allows man to overcome this tension.

This definition is necessarily both partial and selective as it focuses on the game itself. Regarding the criteria and dichotomies mentioned in the previous section, it can also be said that this approach presents religion as an ethical and scientific concept because the emphasis is on its academic character. Such a concept combines functional, substantive, and experiential elements in the sense that it points to the role of religion not only in resolving existential tensions, but also in introducing the idea of ​​an additional dimension into reality. It has a reductionist approach but leaves room for a religious vision. The definition recognizes religious diversity and includes the power dimension of religion. However, this definition must be preliminary, for there is much more to be said about the art of defining and explaining religion. Therefore, after exploring the connection between games and religion, the academic study of religion must be discussed in a playful light.

5. The Game and Study of Religion As we have seen, all kinds of dichotomies complicate the search for a definition of religion, and scholars must face the problem of how to enter this minefield. The problems of unity and diversity, of universality and uniqueness, dominate not only the religious field, but also that of scientific religious studies itself. Scholars also have to position themselves on the opposition between science and religion. And as far as religion is concerned, the previous sections pointed out that play, as the ability to articulate different ways of classifying reality in the subjunctive, is essential to solving these problems. Similarly, it is now argued that the game is useful in the religious scholar's search for an appropriate position. Consequences for research strategies are also taken into account. Academics are more likely to opt for specific solutions, and it is the asset they turn to. Higher education politics thrive on exclusive opinions and definitions, institutionalized in schools, professional organizations, fundraising strategies, and dating circuits. One wonders if the institutionalization of the academy hasn't reduced creativity and play, as it has.

5. The play and study of religion


case of institutionalized religion. This can be illustrated using the central problem of the emic and etic conception of religion. With regard to research strategies in religious studies, three methodological approaches can be distinguished. Either a scholar chooses methodological atheism (religion is based on a wrong view), theism (religious ideas must be included in the explanation of religion), or agnosticism (a scholar must refrain from commenting on the validity of religion). In general, these three attitudes reflect general ideas about what science is, methodological atheism, which takes a positivistic and realistic vision, theism, which sees science as a vision of the possible world, and agnosticism, which is perhaps the most politically correct is to abstain from doubting and thus implicitly relativizes the realism of science. Methodological atheism and agnosticism are clearly etic attitudes, while methodological theism combines etic and emic attitudes. What is gained by confronting this set of positions with the concept of play? If play is a general human ability, it should apply not only to religion but also to science. When people are able to deal with more than one classification of reality simultaneously and conjunctively, scholars need not be exceptional. Instead of deciding on one approach, they might consider the possibility that views about reality take plural forms. Even if it's just for a second, they should be able to see things from a different angle than they normally take. Thus, this other viewpoint could be a colleague's specific methodological atheism, theism, or agnosticism. In connection with methodological theism, it could even be the believer's emic vision. Although in most cases the viewpoints presented as exclusive complement each other, there is a possibility that a real contradiction exists and that the partial truths are not harmoniously combined to formulate the final word. Even in such a case of incongruity and incompatibility, the plea for empathy has its value. One might call this approach methodological Luddism (Droogers 1996). It's a way of applying the game's human gift to scientific pursuits. Paralleling the tentative definition of religion, religion can be defined as “the application by students of religion of their human capacity for play, albeit constrained by the power mechanisms of academic institutionalization, to articulate the experienced tension between participation and distance, unity and diversity, religious and scholarly perspectives , suggesting an additional dimension in the academic perspective that allows scientists to overcome this tension. Though basically eclectic in nature,


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Of course, methodological Luddism still leaves room for a monoparadigmatic approach, but complements and softens it through experimental consideration of alternatives. Transferring the game to the field of competing paradigms in this way also means relativizing the mechanisms of power that can impede the expansion of science. It's also a way to avoid repetitive polemics and fruitless trench warfare. Methodological Luddism could be misinterpreted as a variation of methodological agnosticism. True, neither make any explicit claim to religious or scientific truth. Methodological Luddism, however, is not synonymous with abstinence, but acceptance, even if only temporarily, through empathetic participation in a particular religious or scientific truth claim. Respect is expressed in empathy. While this is made easier by the human ability to play, this is serious business. It can be said that methodological Luddism picks up where methodological agnosticism leaves off. He is not satisfied with the conclusion that religious truth is beyond the realm of testability, although in methodological agnosticism this view does not lead to a rejection of religion as it does in methodological atheism. Methodological agnosticism seems to be a form of "live and let live", although in my opinion the internal perspective is not fully appreciated and therefore methodological agnosticism is not significantly different from methodological agnosticism in this sense. However, a reservation is required. Jokes about unity and diversity have their limitations, and in anthropology, cultural relativism has prompted a similar response. Ethical considerations, such as human rights (Droogers 1995a), limit the application of Luddism. This ethical reservation points to another aspect of the mechanisms of power in institutionalized religion. While the power shown above is to both restrict and encourage play in religion, not all legitimate expressions are necessarily acceptable. The game has its moral limits, and like any other human ability, it can be used for both good and bad. All responsible scientists should reckon with this at some point in their careers. At this point, some remarks should be made on the exclusivity of claims, whether religious or scientific in nature. Just as methodological Luddism as a method invites scholars to be mindful of scholarly perspectives different from their own, so more broadly it suggests an inherent respect for religious claims to truth. This may seem contradictory when religion and science, as well as religions themselves and competing scientific paradigms, are placed in a relationship of one or the other. The argument for a playful approach points to an inclusive and/or relational approach.

5. The play and study of religion


ship and therefore requires a different type of reflection. Reductionist explanations of religion therefore do not necessarily exclude religious positions. Contrary to what is commonly believed, for example, there is much less contradiction in accepting the ideas of a religion while acknowledging the functions that religion can have for the believer, be they social, economic, political or psychological. . The usefulness of the above articulation in avoiding reductionism can be useful in the debate between reductionists and religionists. Articulation offers a way to go beyond reductionist expectations that there is a necessary and sufficient connection between psychological, social, economic and political needs on the one hand and religion on the other. The dissimilarity between reductionist and religious positions becomes less striking and productive. It may be that our time more than any other calls for such and/or an attitude to meet the urgent need to deal with increasing diversity. The changes we are experiencing in our information society seem to be forcing us to rethink. As Melucci says, “A society that uses information as its vital resource changes the constitutive structure of experience. The way we conceive of reality and ourselves changes in its cognitive, perceptual and emotional dimensions” (Melucci 1996: 1). "More than ever, human action is an interactive process that is continually being constructed within a field of possibilities and limits" (Melucci 1996: 4, 5). As a result of globalization, diversity and unity have merged into one political problem. A shift in scale that produces larger units is accompanied by a growing emphasis on local identity and uniqueness. Melucci advocates play and the ability to "pass fluidly from one dimension to another" (Melucci 1996:3). The more variety, the greater the need for a method of dealing with it without losing sight of unity and commonality, and the game seems to provide the means to do so. It may even be the "third bank of the river" that we need to avoid being overwhelmed by the information overload. Methodological Luddism might help relativize the dichotomies that have plagued the debate over the definition of religion for so long. This chapter represents an attempt to consider both poles of a dichotomy despite apparent or rare real contradictions. It allows to reach as complete a vision as possible without denying the validity of partial opinions, whether religious or scientific. In this way, the great variety of religious and scientific paradigms can be dealt with without forgoing a holistic view of the matter. By transforming the inconveniences


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Ambiguity surrounding the definition of religion as an asset makes it possible to accept the nostalgic search for the definitive definition while accepting the likely bias of its outcome. The unspeakable can thus be reconciled with representation. The creolization of the believer may find its parallel in an academic version of creolization in which the native language taught, although primary, does not impede the flow in other paradigm languages, even when spoken with difficulty and heavy accents. Some degree of academic syncretism in the study of religion, whether religious syncretism or its opposite, fundamentalism, becomes an option; if not, science is held back by academic fundamentalism. In science as in religion, illusions are there to help people survive as homo ludens.

6. Conclusion: A Definition of Religion In this chapter it has been argued that the quest for the optimal definition of religion is frustrated by some strange 'digital' customs of the academic tribe, particularly the view of the relationship between religion and science. and between disparate paradigms. Academics have not yet come to terms with the competition between religion and science and the competition between religion and science. A true understanding of religion is hampered by mechanisms of academic power that prevent an exchange of ideas between competing paradigms, particularly reductionist and religious approaches. Therefore, a debate about the definition of religion should take the definers fully into account. In order to make progress, a change in the corporate culture of religious students is required. The change I am proposing is the adoption of methodological Luddism, and I have argued that our time in particular needs such a transformation into the habitus of scholars. Methodological Luddism has the dual benefit of improving both scholars' methodology and their subsequent understanding of religion. Scholars, like the believers they study, are endowed with the same human play ability, which embraces both earnest and creative articulation of dissimilarity and simultaneity. Articulation, as the game's most prominent feature, can be applied to both the craft of religious studies and the understanding of religion. This has consequences for the actual process of religion definition as well as for the resulting definition itself.



Consequently, I tentatively defined religion as “the term scholars use to refer to believers' differential application—within the parameters set by the mechanisms of power corresponding to degree of institutionalization—of their human playability to the articulation of belief experienced tension between ineffability and representation, between belonging and separation, between a unifying identification and a differentiating identity, adding an extra dimension to reality that allows believers to overcome this tension. Although it is most active when left loose, playability works even when controlled by religious authorities. The politically motivated fall from grace of free play is contrasted with a cyclical return to the free and perhaps heretical exercise of this human gift. So the current process of globalization seems to encourage the religious game. In parallel, I use the term methodological Luddism for “the application by students of religion of their human capacity for play, albeit constrained by the power mechanisms of academic institutionalization, to articulate the tension experienced between participation and distance, unity and diversity, religious and scholarly perspectives, what suggests an additional dimension in the academic perspective that allows scholars to overcome this tension. The joy that unites believers and scholars is evident in both religion and science. Our own epoch of human history demands that religion and science be compared not only for their differences but also for their similarities. The advantage of such an approach is that it combines emic and ethical considerations, unity and diversity. The tentative definition of religion and the parallel characterization of methodological Luddism can finally be brought together in the following definition of religion: Religion is the field in which both believers and scholars move, each category applying human playability within the limits of power mechanisms. , articulating the fundamental dichotomies of inexpressibility and representation, of diversifying identity and unifying identification, of diversity and unity, adding an extra dimension to his vision of reality.

Acknowledgments I am grateful for helpful comments on earlier versions by Barbara Boudewijnse, Els Jacobs, Frans Kamsteeg, Jaap-Willem van der Meulen, Daniel Miguez, Arie Molendijk, Jan Platvoet, Hans Siebers,


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Hans Tennekes, Marjo de Theije, Peter Versteeg, Paul Vleugels, and the participants of the Paper Seminar Religious and Symbolic Anthropology, and the Research Group 'Encounter of Religions', both at the Vrije Universiteit.

References Asad, Talal (1993). Genealogies of Religion: Disciplines and Reasons for Power in Christianity and Islam. Baltimore, etc.: The Johns Hopkins University Press. Bateson, Gregory (1973). A game theory and fantasy. In: Gregory Bateson (1973). Steps Towards an Ecology of Mind: Collected Essays in Anthropology, Psychiatry, Evolution, and Epistemology. St Albans: Palladin, pp. 150-166 Bloch, Maurice (1991). Language, Anthropology and Cognitive Science. Man, 26, 183-98 Bourdieu, Pierre (1977). Outline of a theory of practice. Cambridge etc.: Cambridge University Press. Caillois, René (1958). games and men Paris: Gallimard. Clarke, Peter and Peter Byrne (1993). Religion defined and explained. London: Macmillan. Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly (1975). Gameplay and Intrinsic Rewards. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 15(3), 41-63 Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly and Stith Bennett (1971). An exploratory game model. American Anthropologist, 73(1), 45-58. D'Andrade, Roy G. (1995). The development of cognitive anthropology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. D'Aquili, Eugene, Charles D. Laughlin, and John McManus (eds.) (1979). The Spectrum of the Ritual. New York: Columbia University Press. Droogers, André (1989). Syncretism: The problem of definition, the definition of the problem. In: Jerald Gort et al. (Ed.) (1989). Dialogue and syncretism: an interdisciplinary approach. Amsterdam and Grand Rapids: Rodopi and Eerdmans, pp. 7 – 25. (Chapter 9 of this book) Droogers, André (1995a). Cultural relativism and universal human rights? In: An-Na'im, Abdullah A., et al. (Ed.) (1995). Human rights and religious values: an uncomfortable relationship? Amsterdam and Grand Rapids: Rodopi and Eerdmans, pp. 78-90 Droogers, André (1995b). Rules for the religion market. In: Reender Kranenborg and Wessel Stoker (eds.) (1995). Religions in (on)gelijkheid in een plurale samenleving. Leuven etc.: Garant, pp. 131-146. Droogers, André (1996). Methodological Luddism: Beyond Religionism and Reductionism. In: Anton van Harskamp (ed.) (1996). Conflicts in the Social Sciences. London: Routledge, pp. 44-67. (Chapter 14 of this book) Drummond, Lee (1980). The cultural continuum: a theory of intersystems. Man, 15(4), 352-74 Eade, John and Michael J. Sallnow (eds.) (1991). Questioning the Sacred: The Anthropology of Christian Pilgrimage. London: Rouledge.



Eco, Umberto (1984). The name of the Rose. London: Picador. Ewing, Katherine P (1990). The Illusion of Wholeness: Culture, the Self, and the Experience of Incoherence. Ethos, 18(3), 251-78. Fernandez, James W. (1986). Beliefs and Achievements: The Game of Tropics in Culture. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Giddens, Anthony (1984). The constitution of society: scheme of structuring theory. Cambridge: Polity Press. Guba, Egon G. (ed.) (1990). The paradigm dialogue. Newbury Park, etc.: Wise. Guimarães Rosa, João (1993). De derde about van de rivier. Amsterdam: Meulenhoff Quatro. English version in: K. David Jackson (2006). Oxford anthology of Brazilian short stories. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 315-318 Hall, Stuart (1992). Cultural studies and their theoretical legacies. In: Lawrence Grossberg, Cary Nelson, and Paula Treichler (eds.) (1992). cultural studies. New York, etc.: Routledge, pp. 277-294 Handelman, Don (1987). Play. In: Mircea Eliade (ed.) (1987). The Encyclopedia of Religion. New York: MacMillan, Vol. 11, pp. 363-367 Hannerz, Ulf (1992). Cultural Complexity: Studies in the Social Organization of Meaning. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Huizinga, Johan (1952). Homo ludens: Proeve a bepaling van het spel-element der cultuur. Haarlem: Tjeenk Willink. Kolb, Michael (1989). Game as Phnomen - The Phnomen Game: Studies on phenomenological-anthropological game theories. Sankt Augustin: Verlag Richartz Academy. Melucci, Alberto (1996). The Self That Plays: Person and Meaning in Planetary Society. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Norbeck, Edward (1974). Anthropological Visions of the Game. American Zoologist, 14, 267-273. Rudolph, Kurt (1979). Syncretism from theological scolding to a religious-scientific term. In: Humanitas Religiosa: Festschrift for Haralds Biezais on his 70th birthday. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell, p. 193-212 Saler, Benson (1993). Conceptualizing Religion: Immanent Anthropologists, Transcendent Natives, and Boundless Categories. Suffering etc.: Great. Sahlins, Marshall (1996). The Sadness of Sweetness: The Vernacular Anthropology of Western Cosmology. Current Anthropology, 37(3), 395-428. Sharpe, Eric J. (1975). Comparative Religion: A History. London: Duckworth. Slack, Jennifer Daryl (1996). Theory and method of articulation in cultural studies. In: David Morley and Kuan Hsing Chen (eds.), Stuart Hall: Critical Dialogues in Cultural Studies. London and New York: Routledge, pp. 112-27 Strauss, Claudia and Naomi Quinn (1994). A cognitive/cultural anthropology. In: Robert Borofsky (ed.) (1994). Evaluation of cultural anthropology. New York, etc.: McGraw-Hill, pp. 284-300 Turner, Victor W. (1977). Frame, Flow and Reflection: Ritual and Drama as Public Liminality. In: Michael Benamou and Charles Caramello (eds.) (1977). Performance in postmodern culture. Madison, Wisconsin: Coda Press, pp. 33-55.


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Turner, Victor W. (1982). From ritual to theatre: the human seriousness of play. New York: PAJ Publications. Turner, Victor W. (1988). The anthropology of action. New York: PAJ Publications. Van Baal, January (1972). The Message of the Three Illusions: Reflections on Religion, Art and Play. Axes: Van Gorcum. Van Baal, January (1990). mystery as revelation. Utrecht: ISOR. Winnicott, Donald W. (1971). game and reality. London: Tavistock.

Religion and Science Chapter 16 Knowledge of Religion and Religious Knowledge: The Cultural Anthropology of Religion and an Anthropology of Religion 1. Introduction The description of the theme of the conference that led to this text referred to “the various forms of knowledge and cognition fundamental to human life are". More specifically, “the difference that being a Christian makes in discerning, reflecting and participating in these types of knowledge” was mentioned. This is of course a broad topic, also with the specification mentioned. Fortunately, the convener added that "plenary speakers are encouraged to address this issue in the manner that each individual deems most appropriate." The form and approach I find appropriate reflects my specialty, cultural anthropology, particularly cultural anthropology of religion and symbolic anthropology, the subjects of my chair. To avoid misunderstandings: My kind of anthropology is not philosophical but cultural anthropology. It is also interesting that the Vrije Universiteit employs me. When my university decided that the Department of Cultural Anthropology should have a chair in Cultural Anthropology of Religion, the chair was seen as an expression of the Christian character of the Vrije Universiteit. I understand that my role in this chair is to reflect on the study and explanation of religion within the Christian framework that my university professes. Although I have been associated with Vrije University for most of my professional life to date, I have been working in similar Christian academic settings in Congo and Brazil for about five years. In my case, academic religious knowledge is closely linked to religious knowledge. In cases where the field


Chapter 16. Religious Knowledge and Religious Knowledge

While the subject of study is secular, how religious knowledge influences academic knowledge is already an important issue. However, when the field of study is religion itself, the intriguing question arises of how religious knowledge will affect the academic pursuit of religious knowledge. This chapter has a very personal tone and touch. This means that I will not even attempt to summarize the state of the art of the subject discussed here. I would like to share with you how I personally try to face the challenge of practicing religious cultural anthropology, working at a Christian university and being a Christian. I would like to emphasize that I am not a theologian or a philosopher. I'm a social scientist and I'm interested in the cognitive methods that are current in my particular discipline. I am both a religious scholar and a religious scholar. I try to balance one role with the other and take both seriously. I want to avoid a misunderstanding. Although I will dualistically speak of science and religion as separate categories, even as opposite categories, this does not mean that I accept such dualism. In fact, in this chapter I deal with the dualistic tendencies that are current in religious studies in the social sciences, and I look for arguments to avoid such dualism. In my post I will do the following. I will first summarize the problem of the relationship between religion and the social sciences as I understand it (Section 2). I will then comment on some recent developments which, interestingly, have changed the scope of the debate (Section 3). Section 4 explores one of these recent developments, connectionism in cognitive anthropology, in a little more detail, as it offers the possibility of circumventing the strict dualism between religion and science. This then refers to the current globalization discussion (Chapter 5). In the second half of this chapter I will explain how I myself try to approach the problem of academic knowledge of religion. The notion of play suggests, to my mind, the co-existence of two common modes of cognition (Section 6), which may be helpful in addressing the problem of the relationship between religious knowledge and religious knowledge (Section 7). ) . I will suggest that it is also consistent with a Christian view (section 8).

2. The Academy and Religious Studies


2. Academy and Religious Studies What is the basic question in the relationship between religion and social sciences? It can be summed up in this question: should religion be explained exclusively by non-religious factors, or should religious insights also be taken into account? (Droogers 1996; see also Idinopulos and Yonan 1994, Segal 1989). Reductionism is the approach in which religion is reduced solely to the non-religious. I will call the opposite position religiosity, for lack of a better term, insofar as it involves - directly or indirectly - religious conceptions and a reference to another reality of some kind (sacred, transcendental, invisible or whatever) if religion is to explain . Religious are committed to a religious worldview. If religion exists, it is not only because it corresponds to human existence, but also because the sacred manifests itself. First, let's take a closer look at reductionism. In general, the non-religious factors and aspects that reductionists refer to relate to psychological and/or social characteristics of humanity. Religion, including various forms of religious knowledge, is explained by reference to features of the human psyche or society (e.g. Clarke and Byrne 1993, Sharpe 1975). Some of these visions have become part of popular discourse: religion as the sublimation of guilt, worship of the father figure, projection of unfulfilled desires onto a god. Or again: religion is the cult of the group and the social, the opium of the oppressed, an ethics in disguise. In all of these explanations, whether in simplified popular or sophisticated academic form, religion is presented as an illusion, perhaps a useful illusion, but an illusion nonetheless. Significantly, these interpretations often relate simply to the psychological and social functions that religion can serve (and which, in most cases, cannot be denied). Due to this exclusive focus on function, the argument is often extrapolated to similar functions of other institutions, such as ideology or nationalism, and labeled as quasi-religious or even as religious, even though they do not refer to other institutions. Reality. The fact that ideology and nationalism provide a frame of reference through which at least some people make meaning of their lives is already considered sufficient to qualify them as religious. Ideology or nationalism, but also football (Ter Borg 1996: 39–45) – or even in combination as nationalist football ideology – can then be presented as being of a religious nature, as part of the religious realm, where religion is understood in a functional sense. Obviously, the other reality is no longer used as a significant criterion.


Chapter 16. Religious Knowledge and Religious Knowledge

for a definition of religion and it doesn't matter. The field of religion is expanding significantly. The question, however, is not whether religion in the strictest sense really has these functions, but whether these functional explanations help us to understand why another reality is central to the religious experience of many believers. The age-old question, of course, is whether a teleological approach solves the problem: does a phenomenon's function explain why it exists? Can the cause be explained by the consequences? For example, what about unintended consequences? What if you can't find a conscious and rational argument from cause to consequence or vice versa? Furthermore, in the case of the phenomenon called religion, as I have just explained, this teleological explanation has radically expanded the definition of religion, including institutions with similar functions, although these institutions have nothing to do with the dimension Extra from another reality. Therefore, the reference to this other reality is no longer relevant. In other words, the question of whether this other reality should be taken into account when explaining religion is simply ignored. As a consequence, the debate between reductionists and religionists is taken off the agenda. Those who do not believe that there is another reality simply will not hesitate to take this step. Furthermore, when the realm of religion is expanded to include secular institutions in this way, any explanation of religion no longer needs to be concerned with belief in a different reality. Thus reductionists, while reducing the religious to the non-religious, tend to expand the religious field and ignore reference to another reality as a possible defining feature of religion. Therefore, they also ignore the religiosist claim that an explanation of religion must take into account the possibility that the other reality desired by believers can manifest itself. In this way, religion is de facto secularized. While religion that points to another reality causes irritation, religion that performs useful functions becomes acceptable. The thorn is being pulled out of religion. I confess that up to now I have exaggerated somewhat didactically and rather stereotyped reductionism. I am aware of the fact that there are reductionist believers who accept that God can call people to serve Him in secular areas of society. The reality is more nuanced than I can explain in a short time. Now let's get to the religious. The religious approach takes various forms. On the one hand, the specific knowledge that a participant has

3. Recent changes and their consequences


The respective religious belief is used to explain the religion because it is based on the believer's concrete perception of a revealed manifestation of the other reality. On the other hand, religions are compared in a much more general way based on their similarity, and the description of the other reality is less specific. All humans experience the manifestation of the other reality, but each group or even individual develops a specific version of that experience. A special position is taken by forms of fideism, in which it is said that knowledge of the other reality is impossible. In any case, in the religious perspective, the believer's experience is taken seriously. If religion is to be explained, it is considered too easy to call it an illusion. The reductionist-religious controversy is obviously taken more seriously by the religious than by the reductionists. For many reductionists, the question is not a problem, it is solved now and forever. You can consider the experiences and opinions of believers, but not as truths about the other reality, much less as manifestations of the other sacred reality. Reductionists take one of two positions, commonly referred to as methodological atheism and methodological agnosticism. These positions are called methodological because they are viewed as a matter of research method. No reference is made to the researcher's personal views, which may be religious in any form. Methodological atheists deny the existence of the other reality central to religion. Method agnostics are reluctant to comment. From his point of view, the other reality can exist, but it cannot be proven by scientific means. In both cases, only non-religious factors are considered when explaining religion. In their research practice, methodological agnostics do not differ significantly from methodological atheists. In this sense, they differ radically from methodological theists, who, when explaining religion, include the possibility that another reality may manifest.

3. Recent changes and their consequences The background to the debate about what religion can explain is, of course, the conflict between religion and science over the last few centuries. The development of science has contributed to the erosion of religion. At times it even seemed as if modernization as the application of the results of science and technology in society would bring about the end of religion. Recently, most leading sociologists of religion have abandoned this position, including those who theorized it.


Chapter 16. Religious Knowledge and Religious Knowledge

language in the 1960s and 1970s. While it is clear that religious institutions may decline in importance, this does not mean that religion will disappear. Even where religion is no longer an influential sector of a society, people continue to have religious beliefs and even practices. The European and especially the Dutch perspective differs from that of the United States. In terms of frequency of church attendance, the Netherlands has a reputation for being the most secularized country in the world, once the second largest country behind the German Democratic Republic, now first on the list, or last if you prefer that order. Nevertheless, the influence of science on society appears less secularizing than is often assumed. From a situation in which science was not only a party to the conflict with religion, but was also the presiding judge, today's position of science has become more modest, also because other forms have developed after positivism. of science. Even without advocating a postmodern perspective, it can be argued that science has become one discourse among others, rather than being seen as the ultimate discourse (Cilliers 1998, Rosenau 1992, Sarup 1988). Their forms of representation have become problematic, certainly not as problematic as religious representations from the point of view of positivist scholars, but problematic nonetheless. Ironically, the empiricism that condemned religious worldviews has now come under heavy criticism in secular circles. Some scholars today even adopt elements of the religious strategy of negative way of expressing reality. Although postmodernism cannot be accused of religious sympathies (religion, particularly as represented by the world's religions, is one of the most criticized metanarratives), it certainly helped create the situation in which nonscientific modes of knowledge can be rehabilitated. When representation has become problematic under postmodern influence, awareness of the tools of representation grows. The fundamental role that tropes, especially metaphors, play in the processes of knowledge formation, whether scientific or religious, is increasingly being recognized. How do metaphors work? A clear image of a transparent area is generally applied to the task of understanding an incipient area of ​​experience (Fernández 1986:28-70, 1991). Several schools of thought in the social sciences adopt a fundamental metaphor that needs to add to our perception of society. Thus, a multi-layered metaphor such as a pyramid for class society or the metaphor of an organism for an integrated functional society was used. Very often, metaphors are not just a means to facilitate understanding, but serve as part of it

3. Recent changes and their consequences


the feasibility study of the approach. Metaphors are reified and become reality. It is forgotten that metaphors are just images and their use is based on a comparison between two realms. This comparison is never fully applicable, and there will always be features of the metaphor that do not apply to the real problem. McFague (1983:13) correctly observed that metaphors "always contain the whisper, 'is and is not'". This applies indiscriminately to both scientific and religious metaphors. They are all imperfect. Therefore, the Pyramid Society is not the tomb of a pharaoh, just as God the Father is neither the kinsman nor the physical conception of believers. Furthermore, metaphors are products of specific times and places and are therefore not universal. If this is forgotten, the metaphors become overloaded. In science, paradigms then become laws, just as in religion, versions of religious language become truths. In either case, a more modest use of language seems prudent, since Christians may already be aware of the commandment not to make a graven image or likeness of anything in heaven or on earth. This command has brought theologians down the negative path. You've heard whispers of "it's not." In any case, a more modest attitude can contribute to a more symmetrical relationship between science and religion. It can be shown that science has more in common with religion than you ever cared to admit. There is an important consequence of using metaphors in the accumulation of our knowledge. As I just explained, like images of one domain, metaphors make a connection to another domain that needs clarification. Typically, these domains are distinct and usually unrelated. The pyramids or organisms have no direct connection with the realm of society. Religious experience is not necessarily related to kinship. However, as Fernández (1986: 41, 50) has argued, the fact that two radically different realms come together in this process suggests a unity in reality that does not naturally exist. While on the one hand there are striking differences between cultures in the way domains are associated in reality, on the other hand there are striking similarities in the choice of metaphors that facilitate intercultural understanding and communication. In all cases, reality appears organized as a system of interconnected elements, and what appears as a collection of fragments appears as a more or less systemic whole, a more or less unified worldview. By understanding reality, both science and religion contribute to systemic knowledge through the use of metaphors, thus bringing unity to reality. Chaos and difference are tamed by order and system. Reality is organized by


Chapter 16. Religious Knowledge and Religious Knowledge

Models In the tidal movement of history both fragmentation and wholeness were emphasized. Postmodernism, of course, emphasized fragmentation. Indeed, if metaphors play the role just ascribed to them, then the postmodern critique is at least halfway there, reminding us that this is only one side of the coin. In the search for a way out of the dichotomy between fragmentation and wholeness, science and religion do not fundamentally differ.

4. Connectionist similarities Some more symmetry between science and religion can also be derived from recent findings in cognitive anthropology (Bloch 1991, D'Andrade 1995, Strauss and Quinn 1997). Inspired by cognitive studies, especially connectionism, cognitive anthropologists have recently developed a new model of how cultural knowledge is constructed and organized. Since these ideas apply to both science and religion, the contrast between the two loses its sharpness. Once again it can be shown that both offer solutions to the tension between fragmentation and wholeness. The key concept, or should I say key metaphor, is the scheme. Following Strauss and Quinn (1997: 6), schemas can be defined as “networks of strongly connected cognitive elements that represent generic concepts stored in memory”. They are tools of information processing. Knowledge is mainly organized through the so-called "parallel distributed processing" mode. Before this parallel mode was proposed, the basic metaphor was that of language. Thoughts were seen as sentences, a linear or serial string of words in a specific order, called "symbolic processing mode". Scientists also speak of "sentence logic". We should think while speaking or writing. In contrast, knowledge in parallel mode is not seen as a set of sentences, but as a network of connections between processing units acting as neurons. Several of these units can be activated at the same time. The new knowledge changes the connection weights and thus the connections between the parallel processing units. If what you are reading is new to you, your units are now frantically considering adjusting their port weights. Instead of the propositional logic of links between words, a connectionist logic prevails, which is based on complex links between parallel processing units. The schemes are then examples of these units. Each new situation leads to a very quick selection of schemes that can give an idea of ​​​​this situation. This can e.g

4. Connectionist community


Enumerate units, such as reading or writing these words, but the situation may be so novel that the weights of the connections between the units must be changed before a valid answer can be given. This doesn't exclude propositional logic, but the main work is done in parallel distributed processing mode. This is where the "brainstorming" takes place. The end result can be verbalized in sentence mode. Hence, human knowledge seems to depend on a combination of parallel and propositional (or serial) reasoning. The latter is the facade behind which the real work is done. Our right brain would then be the primary site for the parallel synthetic mode, while the left brain would be the stage for the analytic and propositional thinking best exemplified in verbalization and language (Turner 1988:163, see also Pinker 1998). . :271). As a concept, the scheme has two fundamental advantages. One is that the schematics are not complete. You are – a metaphor! – like bureaucratic forms that have a basic structure but have to be filled out by the specific person. A popular example is the restaurant scheme: no two visits to a restaurant are the same, but there is a basic scenario that everyone will more or less follow. This gives restaurant visits a certain predictability. The other benefit of the schema concept is that schemas allow for continuity as well as breaks, wholeness, and fragmentation. Continuity exists above all when the schemata have become part of the behavioral routine through socialization. However, you can adapt to new circumstances, especially if the routine does not answer the question of how to proceed. Thus, when visiting an exotic Asian or African restaurant, the traditional restaurant scheme can fail: "Is there a main course and desserts?" What about the wine?' Schemas were used in the study of cultural knowledge. But even when it comes to scientific or religious knowledge, schemata seem to be the raw material for knowledge formation. In science, some schemas attain the status of paradigms and have a profound impact on ways of thinking. Theologies are characterized by one or a few specific schemata that can be applied in different contexts. The same applies to ideologies. But over time, these schemes are changed and even abandoned. New paradigms are being adopted, new theologies are being presented and ideologies are in crisis today. Despite many changes, what remains is the popularity of dichotomies. Dichotomies could be seen as the simplest form of fragmentation that still suggests unity. It seems that dual thinking is the norm and


Chapter 16. Religious Knowledge and Religious Knowledge

it corrects the production of distinctions and typologies, in science, in religion, in ideologies, in cultures in general. What help does this development in cognitive anthropology have for our problem of religious perception and religious knowledge? Obviously, connectionism gives us another reason why science and religion can be considered similar in the way they form knowledge. Both present schemas that allow us to move from chaos to order, bridging fragmentation and totality, rupture and continuity. That people can see these patterns in religion as revealed, given, assumed does not change this process. Both will also provide conditions for some degree of customization or re-creation of the schemes once it becomes apparent that the usual schemes are no longer satisfactory. Again, when religious patterns are taken for granted, they are less susceptible to change. More importantly, both science and religion rely on parallel processing units before a clear vision can be uttered. What is then verbalized seems definitive, but is the result of careful consideration of the alternatives that were candidates for the final statement. So if we are looking for dynamics in thinking, the parallel mode is much more interesting than the sentence mode. From there come the new paradigms, where new theological ideas are born - some might say heresy - where mysticism is processed into religious knowledge, where academic experience of religions is transformed into knowledge of religion and religions. There the fragments are systematized and processed in an orderly manner. For science in particular, the vague and diffuse but fundamental role of the parallel mindset seems to contradict the rational claim and controlled mindset that were its prerogative. This also puts the contrast between science and religion into perspective. Science and religion, albeit in their own way and to different degrees, make sense of reality. Even if they propose different schemas, both help us to understand the reality we are experiencing. They do this by switching between parallel and serial, right-brain and left-brain thinking. It may be that science and religion differ in that left-brain analysis is a virtue in science, while right-brain quest for the experience of synthesis and wholeness is central to religion. Of course, both science and religion have too often limited themselves to the outcome of the judgment process. Order and system are very attractive and safe, even seductive. So schemas tend to perpetuate themselves. As a social scientist, I suspect that mechanisms of power are part of it

5. The fragmented local and the unified global


Factors favoring this trend. New ideas are always a threat to those in power. Whether we think of paradigm communities in science or theological schools in religion, all too often the conclusions have seemed final, not only because of argument power but also because of interest groups. This can also take the form of reification of metaphors. A paradigm shift in science is then avoided, while "recorded images" prevail in religion. Perhaps the exercise of power constitutes the fallacy of science, just as it seems to cause the actual downfall of every religion.

5. The Fragmented Local and the Unified Global Among the changes in the religious sphere, the current process of globalization occupies an important place. The consequences of this process for religion can be very different. We have already discussed the secularization thesis when we talked about modernization above. Fundamentalism seems to have sensed this threat in the global process and responded accordingly, securing a position at the other end of the spectrum while reaping some of the technological advantages of modernization, particularly with regard to the media. But other reactions also occur. The main feature is that people experiment with religious elements. Just as the borders between cultures are becoming blurred as the old walls are broken through, so too is the border traffic between religions gaining in importance. People are traveling more, the media is offering a window on the world, other religions are becoming commercial issues like the recent wave of Buddhism in Hollywood movies, and there is a huge diaspora through both voluntary and forced migration. The clearest results are forms of syncretism, sometimes in the form of new cults such as New Age, but often at the individual level. Especially in contexts where religious institutions are weakened, it becomes less likely to identify the religious camp based on the activities of the five world religions. As a result of global processes, the religious field has become more diverse. Local variation is becoming increasingly important. As (general) human cultural ability becomes more important than self-limiting cultures, religiosity increasingly shapes the field of religion, leaving less room for specific institutionalized religions. This religiosity corresponds to the generic term "religion", with only a singular human being as universal.


Chapter 16. Religious Knowledge and Religious Knowledge

Capability. It can lead to new religions, but it is also a force that makes itself felt outside of institutionalized religion. Globalization does not necessarily lead to a unified world religion, despite several serious efforts to develop such a religion. Nor does the universal human capacity for religion necessarily lead to such a result. A more striking consequence is the greater diversity at the local level. In any case, the global can only be observed on the local level, so to speak translated on this level. Pentecostalism is an example of this. It is part of the globalization process, but there are many local forms. Therefore, globalization has already been called glocalization (Robertson 1992: 173). This process can be analyzed in terms of schema theory and connectionism. This approach, as we have seen, points to the human ability to use both religious and scientific schemas. As I said, the schemes are never complete and invite concrete and contextual supplementation. In addition, they combine continuity and breakage, reproducing tradition but also creating new combinations of old parallel units and changing the weights of connection. Due to globalization processes, more and more systems are available. The most obvious presence is that of scientific and technological plans, but religious ones also compete in this market. Its flexibility facilitates its dissemination. The contemporary encounter of religious forms doubles or trebles the repertoire of schemas that people have at their disposal. Not only can people become fluent in more than one language, but also more than one religion. This process is called creolization (Drummond 1980, Hannerz 1987, 1992: 261-267). In many Asian and African societies, creolization is not as new as globalization, but it has been going on for a long time, even in pre-colonial times. Today it is becoming increasingly common in North Atlantic societies, where nation-states are losing influence. It seems to me that people who feel more free to experiment with their religious experiences and are no longer constrained by the institutional framework are able to pay more attention to the way the other reality is manifesting. In this sense, there may be a connection between the modernization processes and the recent but ongoing growth of Pentecostal and evangelical groups. Scientific explanations of religion should and will therefore focus increasingly on the religious ability of man and less on institutionalized forms of established religion. This can lead to a greater recognition of religious knowledge as a way of being in the world, comparable and parallel to scientific knowledge. While scientific schemes are strong at explaining how things happen, they are weak at this

6. The Gift of the Game


explain why things happen. The African mother who comes to the polyclinic with her child who has malaria can while she waits study the poster on the wall that tells her all about the role of the Anopheles mosquito in causing malaria. You don't just want to know how your child got sick, you also want to know why your child has malaria and not the child next door. You will turn to religion for an answer, just as you will not only seek help from your doctor, but also from a religious specialist, be it a witch doctor or a pastor. To make sense of the world, people will increasingly combine scientific and religious schemes in a new kind of syncretism.

6. The gift of the game The game can offer us a way out of the dilemma between religion and science, between religious knowledge and knowledge about religion. To substantiate this, I need several elements of the argument developed so far. We have seen that reductionists do not need religious experience or knowledge of a sacred reality. In his opinion, religion can easily be explained by non-religious factors. They focus on the functions, because for them religion is anything that serves these functions. For them, another reality is not essential to religion. Religion is, to a certain extent, secularized. We have also seen that religion and science have recently started to take different positions: no longer opposite, but side by side. The dominance of science has not led to the elimination of religion. Scientific forms of representation are no longer taken for granted, but have become problematic, just like the fate of religious representation in scientific debate once upon a time. Both science and religion use metaphors to deal with the fundamental tension between fragmentation and wholeness. It has also become clear how both scientific and religious knowledge consists of schemata. Science and religion use schemes in information processing. And by using them, people are quick to consider alternatives when interpreting an experience, be it scientific or religious. Added to this was the fact that globalization not only brings the universal to the fore, but also produces diversity and differentiation. Everywhere people are experimenting in the expanding market of systems.


Chapter 16. Religious Knowledge and Religious Knowledge

more than are offered for the interpretation of the world. These schemes are both scientific and technological, as well as religious, among other forms. So what does the gift of the game have to do with this debate? To understand this, let's first look for a definition of play. Normally, when we think of play, we distinguish it from seriousness. When you're playful, you can't be serious at the same time. Can serious issues like religion and science often be associated with gambling? Johan Huizinga (1952) showed convincingly that you have to play seriously. If you play a game and don't take it seriously, you're a spoilsport. Especially if you want to win, you will take the game more seriously than it seems necessary. So, a first feature is the paradox that gambling is serious business. What else can you say about the game? The literature on this topic is very diverse and sometimes contradictory. Much seems to depend on the particular example one has in mind: children's games, dog games, sports competitions, plays, power games, games of chance, word games, and so on. In a way, this gives me the freedom to create my own vision of the game, using some of the core ideas from the game. So it is clear, as I just noted, that joy can be combined with seriousness, that they complement each other and are not necessarily opposites. But more than that, this ability to combine different elements seems to be a second feature of the game, not only in the sense that seriousness and play go hand in hand, but also that two realities or two types of reality classification are combined. . To illustrate, let me relate a Jewish story I heard from one of my students (personal communication Franz Kalab) that combines two types of reality classification. In the Middle Ages, a pope decided to expel all Jews from Rome. The Jewish leaders protested in vain. The only gesture the Pope wanted to make was to allow a theological debate. He commanded: Find me a Jew who will mock me in a theological discussion. The Jewish leaders thought the case hopeless, but decided to try. But they made sure to choose someone to represent them who had nothing to lose. That was Moishele the Sweeper. He agreed, but on condition that not a word was spoken. The Pope accepted but reiterated that in this case he had the right to open the debate. When the day of the debate came, the Pope and his associates were on one side and Moishele with the Jewish leaders on the other. First, the Pope raised his hand and showed three outstretched fingers. Moishele shook his head and just held up a finger. Then the Pope drew a large circle around himself with his arm above his head. Moishele shook her head again and pointed to the ground in front of her feet. Then the Pope showed hosts and a chalice of wine. As an answer, Moischele took an apple

6. The Gift of the Game


his clothes. After these three exchanges, the Pope was shocked and gave up. He said: I stop, I can't beat this man. Jews are allowed to stay. The Pope's staff were shocked and asked for an explanation. The pope told them that he had shown three fingers as a symbol of the Holy Trinity and that Moishele's gesture of a single finger naturally meant that God was still one. The circle gesture indicated the omnipresence of God, but Moishele mocked the pope by pointing to the ground: God is here too. With the hosts and the chalice the pope was of course referring to the Eucharist and thus to Christ's atonement for sins, but the apple of Moses referred to the original sin of Adam and Eve. So the Pope had decided to give up. At the same moment, the astonished Jewish leaders had asked Moishele what he meant by his gestures. Moishele patiently explained that the Pope's three fingers naturally meant that the Jews were to leave within three days, and that he had held up one finger to indicate that even if they left in one day, they would not obey. When the Pope made the circle gesture, Moishele saw this as a suggestion that the Jews should move away from all sides, and so pointed to the ground to indicate his intention to remain where he was. And when the Pope showed the hosts and the chalice, Moishele decided that it was lunchtime for him too, so he took out the apple he had with him.

In this example we see that the author of this story combines two realities and two worldviews in a playful and entertaining way. I think that's typical of the game, and humor can be understood as playing with different orders of reality. The added value of such a combination of two different types of reality classification is that it appeals to creativity. The challenge of the game is that you have to imagine an alternative. Victor Turner (1988:101) used the subjunctive adjective for this feature of the game. For him, "subjunctive" means "as if" in contrast to the indicative: "as it is". When the term play is used in this way, it refers to a process of active reflection on alternatives and not so much to a self-contained and closed phenomenon as to the institutionalized end result of a process. An emphasis on the creative and innovative side of play leads to a dynamic vision of a process rather than a static vision of the end product of that process. Thus, the game is no longer the exception, reserved for certain occasions, but is seen as a normal part of our lives and our way of knowing. In fact, the gift of play lets us combine two kinds of knowledge. One can be considered normal and the other abnormal. Both the Pope and Moishele have their views on what is normal. The joke shows that what is normal for one is abnormal for another. There are many different types of reality that can be brought into it


Chapter 16. Religious Knowledge and Religious Knowledge

together through the game. One may be Christian, the other Jew. One reality can be scientific, the other religious. One may be reductionist, the other religious. One can be from this world, the other from another world. One may be immanent, the other transcendent. One can be my belief, the other your belief. An essential feature of the game is that the simultaneity of different orders, different classifications of reality stimulates innovative reflection. When we harness the game's gift and move beyond the notion that it's "just a game," we are forced to consider alternatives, even putting ourselves in our opponents' shoes, if only for a split second. Play encourages a process of articulation (Slack 1996), in the sense of connecting disparate or even contradictory elements. This requires a different mindset: stereophonic, if you will. Play allows us to listen to two channels at the same time. It leads us to an inner dialogue. Anthropologists have had some experience with this way of thinking, e.g. B. Field research that combines observation (ie distance) with participation (ie proximity). The dual view resembles what Richard Mouw, speaking of folk religion, has called "the hermeneutics of charity." This approach helps us, as he put it, “to look positively on things that we would otherwise reject without careful consideration of merit” (Mouw 1994:13). This view of the game can also be argued invoking the connectionist schema theory discussed above. If the human way of producing knowledge goes through the parallel and simultaneous consultation of an x-number of schemata in the right brain before arriving at a verbalized conclusion, play and connectionist logic are intimately linked. Why have we lost awareness of this human gift? Why is it so underdeveloped? I would put forward at least two reasons. One is that in our society we have created a divide between work and play that has reinforced a notion of gaming as not serious, as abnormal. This distinction has long paralleled that between men and women. The other is that in every society, but to varying degrees, power processes limit leeway. It is usually not in the interests of those in power to allow alternatives, as this can lead to efforts to undermine those in power. Consequently, codification and dogmatization are emphasized. Its impact is enhanced by the fact that people prefer safety to experimentation. The exercise of power thus brings with it a deadly seriousness that excludes all play. It seems we were fooled by the

7. Gambling and Religion


final verbalizations produced by left-brain sentence logic, so much so that we convinced ourselves that we were thinking according to that logic. Those in power are often only interested in the final verbalization, not the creative process that precedes it in the right hemisphere. As Bateson (1973: 158) puts it, play conveys metamessages. The dominant group in society generally does not want them. Thus, the game can now be paraphrased as "the human ability to articulate different ways of classifying reality in a conjunctive and conjunctive way, and so to present alternatives to the dominant viewpoints".

7. Game and religion If we take the concept of game seriously, we can imagine a way out of the dilemma between reductionist and religious views on the explanation of religion. The religious viewpoint itself can be understood not only as an application of the human ability to contemplate more than one order of reality at the same time, but it can also be used to confront religious viewpoints. Regarding the religious perspective, it could be argued that religion and gambling are closely related. In fact, several authors have advanced such ideas. Victor Turner (1974, 1982, 1988) has shown how rituals often contain what he calls an in-between phase, a borderline phase, in which reversal is prominent. The normal order is temporarily reversed and replaced with what is considered abnormal. This is how a new boss can be insulted before being installed. Beginners in initiation may need to sleep in the open or remain silent before gaining a new status (Droogers 1980a). Interestingly, Turner (1988: 164-166, based on D'Aquili et al. 1979) also spoke of human brain clothing in this context and saw the ritual as a way of stimulating both halves of the brain. Ritual and meditation help to become aware of the simultaneous presence of opposites. The liminal preference for investments makes it easier to rethink shared perspectives. On the ritual fringes of society, innovation and creativity subvert the normal and, by extension, the powerful. Those in power are also subject to the inversion process, and hierarchy is replaced, albeit temporarily, by sentiments of what Turner (1974: 82) calls 'communitas'. Inversion and subversion can be closely related. Following this train of thought, what was said above about the contrast between play and power also applies here. According to each religion, the cause of the Fall can be dictated by only one of the religions


Chapter 16. Religious Knowledge and Religious Knowledge

official view, excluding the popular alternative investments game. The current processes of globalization stimulate the popular religious imagination, be it Pentecostal or New Age, be it syncretic or fundamentalist. This creates a creative process that sometimes brings remarkable results, but which cannot be ignored. Once powers are established, whether tied to a specific faction (usually priestly) or to a specific gender (almost invariably male), the creative process slows. Let us now turn to another anthropologist who saw a link between play and religion, Jan van Baal (1972), who taught me the anthropology of religion. In addition to art, he interpreted games and religion as means with which people overcome the basic tension between partial detachment and detachment from reality. The game generates a fictional reality that homo ludens can identify with. In Van Baal's view, religion creates a sense of belonging by communicating with supernatural forces. Art is a way of transforming reality into something beautiful and pleasant. In all three cases a game with two realities is a central element. Incidentally, Van Baal did not use the term "illusions" for play, religion and art in the pejorative sense mentioned above, but as a reference to the common etymological root between play and illusion. Illusions are the product of homo ludens. Interestingly, Van Baal refused to view religion as an illusion in the usual derogatory sense. At the end of his life he abandoned a reductionist position and adopted a religionist position in which he presented revelation as a possible explanation of religion (Van Baal 1990, 1991). In his opinion, the other reality manifests itself. The anthropologist James Fernández (1986) mentioned above casts a similar light on gambling and religion. It focuses on the central role of metaphor in religion. As I explained earlier, what happens in the metaphor is that a clear image of one area is used to illustrate a completely different area. In other words, a metaphor is an articulation of different elements. In the subtitle of his book (1986), Fernández speaks of the “Game of the Tropics”. He suggests that metaphor creates a sense of unity and wholeness that compensates for difference and diversity. Metaphors evoke the invisible, the absent, the unspeakable, the unexpected, the opposite of reality. Metaphors are a tool for the subjunctive. Again, what was separate becomes part of a meaningful whole. Religious metaphors use another reality as a realm that can be connected to everyday reality, thus restoring meaning.

7. Gambling and Religion


Unity in reality, like someone saying they must bear their cross with patience. All three authors, Turner, Van Baal and Fernández, see a link between gambling and religion. All three also give a central place to the resolution of the tension between belonging and separateness, between totality and fragmentation. Homo ludens solves an existential problem with its ability to play. The religious perspective turns out to be dependent on the game. What about the scientific way of looking at religion? Is there a similar dependency in the game? And does power also play a role? It seems that the power in this case rests mainly with the reductionist approach. Whether reductionists present themselves as methodological atheists or as agnostics, the basic idea is that the religious can be adequately explained by appeal to non-religious factors. A reference to a religious reality, as claimed by methodological theists, is deemed superfluous in a predominantly functional approach. Van Baal's reappraisal of the problem is an exception. The concept of play can not only serve to clarify religion, but can also be used in the religious studies debate. In fact, the gift of play invites a dialogic attitude. If play, as defined above, is a human gift, why not use it to increase understanding, not only of religious views, as in interreligious dialogue, but also of views about religion? This means that religionists can embrace reductionist views without assuming the ultimate finality that usually accompanies them. It also invites reductionist scholars to listen, if only for a minute, to the other "channel", the religious view, without immediately rejecting it. It can be beneficial to the debate if the opponents learn to empathize with each other, even if they eventually find their own place again. So what I'm suggesting is that we don't just choose between methodological theism on the one hand and methodological atheism or agnosticism on the other. To the alternatives we must add methodological Luddism as a way out of a trench warfare that has reached a point of uselessness. Academics should use their serious gaming skills and experiment with the stereo approach. A little hermeneutics of charity is welcome. Methodological Luddism could be misconstrued as a kind of methodological agnosticism. The difference is that in methodological Luddism, the truth claim is accepted—temporarily but earnestly—rather than viewed as unverifiable in some vaguely tolerant or politically correct way.


Chapter 16. Religious Knowledge and Religious Knowledge

It seems to me that a playful attitude could help to end other trench warfare debates with opportunities to progress and overcome the established dichotomies. The example of the debate between religionists and reductionists can be used for other similar controversies. A bit of methodological luddism can work wonders, particularly where there is a certain asymmetry in which one view seems to prevail.

8. How Christian is the playful perspective? The subtitle of the conference for which this article was prepared spoke of Christian Initiatives and Responses. As I said earlier, I happen to be both a religious scholar and a religious scholar. How does the approach examined here correlate with my religious, in this case Christian, views? How Christian is the playful perspective? Some elements of what I have suggested above can be traced back to what I consider to be a Christian view, although I realize that one should not be too exclusive in claiming such a designation. Thus, Turner's ideas about the liminal and marginal elements correspond to elements of the Christian message that are close to my heart. While other older religions, such as Buddhism and Judaism, also seem to value the innovative potential of the marginal, Christianity seems to do so par excellence, as some theologians, including Okke Jager (1954), suggested early on. If the liminal and the marginal encourage a playful inversion of meanings, the biography of Jesus seems abounding in references to such meanings (Droogers 1980b). There are striking investments. He is born of a virgin while his parents are temporarily homeless and traveling. Birth does not take place between people, but between animals. The first to share the event are pastors who were marginalized in society at the time. Her parents must flee to Egypt to save her life, a reverse exodus. In active life he stands on the fringes of the theological elite of his time. He is not married, but he travels with his disciples, some of whom are fishermen living on the border between land and water. He is tempted in the desert, outside the inhabited world, but he rejects the temptation of power. An eye for an eye is replaced by the inversion: turning the other cheek. Power is put at the service of solidarity, especially with people from marginalized categories, including women. His dialogues with representatives of the religious elite are at times very funny, at least if one is not spoiled by the exaggerated seriousness with which we have been taught to read the gospel. If you are

9. Conclusion


ready to see the play in it, another gospel opens its pages to you. Towards the end of his life, the teacher plays the role of the slave and washes the feet of his students. He is not the revolutionary leader that some would like him to be. He dies on a cross, hung among criminals, with a crown of thorns, like a feigned king. He undoes death through his resurrection, of which women, not men, are the first witnesses. According to the Gospel of John, Jesus asks his disciples, who have not caught anything all night, to give him some fish, and if the answer is negative, he suggests casting the net on the right side of the ship. There, according to story 153, they find a multitude of large fish, a number that invites speculation about its symbolism (3 times 7x7 and an additional 6?; 3x3 plus 12x12?). The reversals typical of this and other stories point to the consideration of alternatives, particularly those that present a different vision of how power is distributed. It shows the subjunctive branch of "as if" against the huge tree pointing to "as it is". At least until Constantine's merging of faith and state, Christians remained true to their vocation to marginality. When religion began to serve the state, something essential was lost. But even after this turning point, new initiatives from the fringes brought innovation through bold and playful thinking about alternatives. The Catholic tradition has been to isolate such initiatives in monastic orders. The Reformation was an initiative outside of the Catholic realm. As mentioned above, much of the discussion about explaining religion has to do with positions of power. As I said earlier, the religious vision is a minority vision. Reductionists need not interfere in this debate. However, the methodological Luddism I propose can be a way of reversing positions and looking at problems from the other side.

9. Conclusion In this post, I have shown how religious views and views about religion represent forms of knowledge that can be combined through the application of the human gift of play. Methodological Luddism represents an attitude that explores the opposite pole of a controversy temporarily but respectfully and seriously. The case discussed was that of religionists and reductionists in the explanation of religion. It has been suggested that a playful approach is a way out of seemingly unsolvable conflicts. He


Chapter 16. Religious Knowledge and Religious Knowledge

The advantage of this approach is that it creates the conditions for genuine dialogue.

References Bateson, Gregory (1973). A game theory and fantasy. In: Gregory Bateson (1973). Steps Towards an Ecology of Mind: Collected Essays in Anthropology, Psychiatry, Evolution, and Epistemology. St Albans: Paladin, pp. 150-66 Bloch, Maurice (1991). Language, Anthropology and Cognitive Science. Man, 26, 183-98. Cilliers, Paul (1998). Complexity and Postmodernity: Understanding Complex Systems. London and New York: Routledge. Clarke, Peter and Peter Byrne (1993). Religion defined and explained. London: Macmillan. D'Andrade, Roy G. (1995). The development of cognitive anthropology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. D'Aquili, Eugene, Charles D. Laughlin, and John McManus (eds.) (1979). The Spectrum of the Ritual. New York: Columbia University Press. Droogers, André (1980a). The Dangerous Journey: Symbolic Aspects of Children's Initiation among the Wagenia of Kisangani, Zaire. The Hague: Mouton. Droogers, André (1980b). Symbols of Marginality in the Biographies of Religious and Secular Innovators: A Comparative Study of the Lives of Jesus, Waldes, Booth, Kimbangu, Buddha, Muhammad, and Marx. Numen 27(1),105 – 121. (Chapter 1 of this book) Droogers, André (1996). Methodological Luddism: Beyond Religionism and Reductionism. In: Anton van Harskamp (ed.) (1996). Conflicts in the Social Sciences. London and New York: Routledge, pp. 44-67. (Chapter 14 of this book) Drummond, Lee (1980). The cultural continuum: a theory of intersystems. Man, 15 (4), 352-74 Fernandez, James W. (1986). Beliefs and Achievements: The Game of Tropics in Culture. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Fernandez, James W. (ed.) (1991). Beyond Metaphor: The Theory of Tropics in Anthropology. Stanford CA: Stanford University Press. Hannerz, Ulf (1987). The world in creolization. Africa 57(4), 546–559. Hannerz, Ulf (1992). Cultural Complexity: Studies in the Social Organization of Meaning. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Huizinga, Johan (1952). Homo ludens: Proeve a bepaling van het spel-element der cultuur. Haarlem: Tjeenk Willink. Idinopulos, Thomas A. & Edward A. Yonan (eds.) (1994). Religion and Reductionism: Essays on Eliade, Segal, and the Challenge of the Social Sciences to the Study of Religion. Leiden: Great. Jäger, Okke (1954). De humor van de bijbel in het christelijk leven. Camping: Good. McFague, Sally (1983). metaphorical theology. London: SCM. Mouw, Richard J. (1994). Questioning the Believers: What Christian Intellectuals Can Learn from Popular Religion. Grand Rapids: Eerdmanns. Pinker, Steve (1998). How the mind works. London: Allan Lane.



Quinn, Naomi, and Dorothy Holland (eds.) (1987). Cultural models in language and thought. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Robertson, Roland (1992). Globalization: Social Theory and Global Culture. London etc.: SAGE. Rosenau, Paulina M. (1992). Postmodernism and the Social Sciences: Perceptions, Raids and Incursions. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Sarup, Madan (1988). An introduction to poststructuralism and postmodernism. New York: Harvester Wheatsheaf. Segal, Robert A (1989). Religion and the Social Sciences: Essays on Confrontation. Atlanta GA: Academic Press. Sharpe, Eric J (1975). Comparative Religion: A History. London: Duckworth. Slack, Jennifer Daryl (1996). Theory and method of articulation in cultural studies. In: David Morley and Kuan Hsing Chen (eds.), Stuart Hall: Critical Dialogues in Cultural Studies. London and New York: Routledge, pp. 112-127 Strauss, Claudia and Naomi Quinn (1997). A cognitive theory of cultural meaning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Ter Borg, Meerten B. (1996). Het gelloof the Goddelozen. Baarn: Have ten. Turner, Victor W. (1974). The ritual process: structure and antistructure. Harmondsworth: Penguin. Turner, Victor W. (1982). From ritual to theatre: the human seriousness of play. New York: PAJ Publications. Turner, Victor W. (1988). The anthropology of action. New York: PAJ Publications. Van Baal, January (1972). De boodschap the three illusions: Overthinking over religion, art in spel, Assen, Van Gorcum. Van Baal, January (1990). Mystery as Disclosure. Utrecht: ISOR. Van Baal, January (1991). Boodschap uit de stelte/Mysterie als openbaring. Baarn: Have ten.

Chapter 17 As Close as a Scholar Can Get: Exploring a Unique Field Approach to the Study of Religion 1. Introduction Among all the phenomena that scholars study, religion occupies a unique position because, as a form of knowledge, it is commonly referred to as gifts as opposite. of science. Religion, as we use the term today, is a relatively recent construction that has formed explicitly against science. When science became dominant in the modern age, religion was categorized according to its non-scientific nature, since the transcendental reality to which it refers is not amenable to empirical scrutiny. This non-empirical reality could not be accepted as a causal factor explaining religion. Consequently, theories of religion are mainly concerned with non-religious processes and aspects. Religious experiences, practices and beliefs are thus reduced to non-religious factors of a psychological, social, political or economic nature. On the contrary, science, as a superior form of knowledge, has contributed directly or indirectly to the process of secularization. The delicate relationship between religious studies and its subject creates a methodological problem that other disciplines do not have to deal with. When the task of the scientist is to investigate empirically an area whose defining part cannot be tested empirically or is even at odds with reality, special care must be taken. One has to ask oneself, then, whether the accepted asymmetry between science and religion stands in the way of scientific understanding. In addition, the secularizing criticism of religion from a scientific point of view invites one to think about the degrees of objectivity and subjectivity in religious studies. The factual distance and the critical attitude turn human subjects into objects. This can have advantages, but it can also distract the researcher from the field. Given the resulting distance, it may be worth considering more empathetic forms of religious studies. This paper attempts to explore the potential of a single-field perspective that combines science and religion into a single field, rather than treating them as two separate fields. In fact, if science, including

1 Introduction


Religious studies - is critical of religion and contributes to the erosion of religion in society, both already belong to one area. In addition, the field work involves personal contact. Moreover, in other respects the distinction is not as clear-cut as has often been assumed, for example when we consider the place of religious studies in academia, often in or near divinity schools. A single field focus does not maintain distance, but gets as close as possible to the object under study. He views religion without the subjectivity of critical opposition, but is aware of other possible subjectivisms. What are the possibilities if scientists experimented with the boundaries normally drawn between religious studies and the religion being studied? When the scholar engages in the religious field, he or she must be physically present in a sense and engage in that field with body and soul. As an anthropologist of religion, I intend to explore what would change if one adopts, even if only as an experimental line of thought, a perspective that assumes that scholars, not just anthropologists, and believers are necessarily operating in a single field. This is not a new proposal. Phenomenologists of various persuasions have experimented with this approach by bracketing the assumptions. In addition, anthropologists have gained experience with qualitative methods of fieldwork, particularly participant observation, which requires the researcher to narrow the usual "objective" distance. In the same way, the human capacity for play can be used, since play allows one to orient oneself to two realities at the same time (Van Harskamp 2006: 3, 4). The change in the vision of the science mission has also created space for a single-field approach. Constructivist ideas have, over the last few decades, helped to recognize the range of positions that scientists can take in relation to the phenomena being studied. If knowledge is built up through some form of intersubjectivity between the scholar and the informant, then they are assumed to belong to the same social field. Consequently, the idea that scholars and believers can form a kingdom is no longer far off. By allowing a certain empathy and closeness, such an approach can at least supplement the previous religious studies, i.e. the maintenance of critical distance. A single field approach can propose new methods that were never taken seriously because they were outside the scope of two assumed fields.


Chapter 17. The best that a scholar can achieve

Once the researcher is viewed as part of the religious field, he or she is as much a subject of study and analysis as are the believers being studied. This forces the researcher to be constantly aware of their commitment. Every researcher, even when trying to be objective, is an idiosyncratic representative of a particular cultural and religious or secular context and academic subculture. Since the scientific representation of religion and religions is inevitably shaped by their origin, a certain religious perspective and personal background, an explicit reflection of the scientific habitus is recommended. This is of course a normal condition in a (neo)positivist environment where objectivity is a core value of the profession. It becomes even more important when a degree of experimentation with subjectivity is allowed. In this essay, I first go into the ambiguous position of religious studies, which already has some unified elements in its history. The methodological consequences of the individual field approach are then determined. Special attention is then paid to the role of the body in religious studies as a consequence of the researcher's involvement. The general and abstract argument is then illustrated through the study of Pentecostalism, the area in which I work as a scholar. Finally, I will summarize the relevance of this exercise to the general themes discussed in this chapter. I propose there a definition of religion that might be consistent with the one-field approach.

2. Ambiguity in Religious Studies In developing its identity, religious studies had to address the changed position of religion in society, particularly in Western Europe, and the position of the discipline in science. I start with the dynamics of religion in society, in particular the growing importance of the religious/secular dichotomy, and the process of secularization. After modern science began to radically influence society, the religious was defined and positioned as opposed to the secular, and vice versa. Science is the model representation of a secular world no longer inhabited by the sacred. It is the dominant frame of reference now, just as religion was before the days of Galileo Galilei. The comparison between the religious and the secular is therefore primary

2. Ambiguity in religious studies


it arises by subjecting religion to scientific criteria and not vice versa. Then it is found that religion is absent. In this context, science has generally positivist connotations, with a strong emphasis on the empirical method, taking the natural sciences as a prototype and the laboratory model as a prime example. Reality exists when it can be empirically verified. When studying processes, a selected number of variables are controlled and manipulated experimentally to search for causality. In principle, it does not matter whether you are looking for the effect of a change in gas pressure or the frequency of church attendance. As a consequence of scientific dominance, the rational and empirical is contrasted with the irrational and non-empirical, which is reflected in the definitions of religion contained in these words. J. van Baal and W.E.A. van Beek, for example, define religion as "all conceptions and ideas, explicit and implicit, accepted as true and relating to a reality which cannot be empirically verified" (Van Baal and Van Beek 1985: 3). . When it comes to religious dynamics, there is no getting around the secularization debate. According to Peter Berger, who was an early proponent of the secularization thesis and is now one of its critics, it is a "thin but very influential stratum of intellectuals, broadly defined as people with Western higher education, particularly in the humanities and social sciences". (Berger 2002: 293, 294) represents one of the few bulwarks of secularization. Proper study of religion has contributed to the process of secularization; the discipline is thus in the unusual position of having contributed to the elimination of its own discipline. He inherited a critical view of religion from his patriarchs Marx, Durkheim, Weber and Freud, and his interest in religion was inspired in part by the illogical and confusing opposition of religion and religions. Comparative religion has undermined the claim to the exclusive truth and uniqueness of every religion and made religious truth dependent on context and chance. The fact that most scholars have now abandoned the idea that secularization will bring about the end of religion in the world poses a new challenge for religious studies. The secularization thesis stimulated reflection on the definition of religion and led to the distinction between a factual and a functional definition. While a factual definition confines religion to a view of the nature of the transcendental—specifically, the non-empirical supernatural dimension—the functional definition encompasses views of life and the world that do not refer to divine entities, but are nonetheless present , serve the same function as religions in the sub-


Chapter 17. The best that a scholar can achieve

substantive made sense. Any secular ideology, including football, could be described as a religion in a functional sense, regardless of secularization. This movement can be seen as an opportunity to show continuity despite the erosion of religion in a material sense. At the same time, the concept of religion has been expanded to the point that some would object to it unacceptably blurring the line between the secular and the religious. The definition question clarifies what a process occurring in the field under study does to the discipline that studies the phenomenon and its concepts. In relation to the religious and the secular, the definition debate suggests that the boundaries drawn between the secular and the religious are not eternal. More recently, non-positivist views of the task of science have been developed, particularly by postmodernists and constructivists (Guba 1990:25-27). These lines of thought draw attention to the way in which the discipline, since its patriarchs, has constructed its categories that contrast the religious and the secular. These new visions thus show the relativity of the conceptual framework insofar as it is a construction. Although postmodernism contains a devastating secularizing critique of religion, it also means that scholars, whether they embrace postmodernism or not, have become aware of their way of representing the religious field, including the shifting boundaries between the religious and the secular. We also need to address the home of the discipline in the Academy. Although the academic seems to be synonymous with the secular, the scientific study of religion has not occupied a distinct academic position. As a discipline, religious studies or comparative religious studies is often located in Christian theological disciplines, since theologians were the first to dedicate themselves to the study of religion and religions (Asad 1995, Dubuisson 2003). In some cases, religious studies have been incorporated into social science faculties, as has been the case with anthropology and occasionally the sociology of religion. Interestingly, theology can be viewed as an academic discipline that is an exception to the opposition between religion and science. As one of the oldest disciplines, it has managed to occupy an intermediate position between science and religion. Theology thus offered a certain balance to the secularizing tendencies of science and in many cases remained an integral part of the universities. In return, it seems to serve two lovers, science and religion. Theology, as a scientific and systematic reflection on the sacred, non-empirical, has developed systematic formulations

2. Ambiguity in religious studies


faith, particularly as a representative and leader of the major churches. These doctrinal systematizations obey a more or less rational need for logical thinking, although they presuppose sacred beings whose existence cannot be empirically proven. The position of religious studies in theological faculties has influenced the way religion and religions have been studied. The theological example of offering a systematic and historical view of Christian thought has been copied in the study of non-Christian religions. The image of religion in general has been influenced by the Christian case. Furthermore, the official version, which presented a religion's leadership, including its theologians, was usually reproduced in accounts of non-Christian religions. The history of the church found its parallel and extension in the history of religions. The ethnocentricity of this approach is evident when one reverses the perspective and uses, for example, emic concepts from Buddhism to describe Christianity. The representations of other religions were thus ideal and systematized versions of the doctrine and, to a lesser extent, the ritual. This approach included a focus on written sources, when available, as encodings of this ideal version. Likewise, the anthropology of religion has mapped so-called symbol systems. Only later did the difference between official and popular religion become visible. However, textbooks of world religions still show this practice of systematically and consistently describing official ideas, teachings, scriptures and rituals from the Christian model and clerical perspective. As a result, folk religion and magic have often been neglected or defined and described as deviant, second-rate, sectarian, or illegitimate religions. The term religiosity also has this connotation. But scholars of religion have also attempted to assert an independent position. They often had difficulty defining their own identity in relation to their fellow theologians. The discipline of religious studies has long struggled with this ambiguous position. Therefore, the differences to theology were emphasized. Religious students did not primarily identify with Christianity in their professional activities, but their theological colleagues did. Whether they did it privately is another matter entirely. Unlike theologians, scholars of religion have not commented on religious claims to truth, but instead attempted to present the world religions, their history and their writings objectively and clearly. Religious scholars have also used a comparative method that has led to the phenomenology of religion. This particular subdivision


Chapter 17. The best that a scholar can achieve

pline showed the relativity of Christian expressions and placed them in the same categories as those of other religions. Of course, most of these categories were originally copied from Christianity. However, the comparison defined phenomena considered to be unique to Christianity as common to all religions and described these religions according to subdivisions such as: scriptures, views of people and salvation, images of God or gods, rituals, ethics, and degree of institutionalization. At the same time, the problem was that phenomenological comparisons tended to emphasize commonalities, blinding scholars to the idiosyncrasies and unique constellations of elements in a particular religion or religious group. In this sense, anthropologists have been critical of phenomenologists in particular, with anthropology's hallmark being a holistic and contextualized approach. However, as religious students became specialists and made one of the world religions their subject, they began to treat it holistically. This review of the ambiguous position of religious studies shows that any scholarly effort to study religion had to explicitly or implicitly accept the fact that in our society, i. H. in the same field that religion is opposed to science. The definition debate is a recent example that blurs the usual distinction between the religious and the secular. The history of the subject shows that the possibility of a one-subject approach was present in theological faculties from its inception, although it was later discarded due to Christian prejudice. However, the price for an independent identity was distance and alienation from the religious subjects to be examined.

3. Methodological implications Anthropological fieldwork has a long tradition of a single-field approach, in which the researcher tries to be part of the context being studied as much as possible. Although the basic method of participant observation contains a paradox (simultaneous participation and observation are logically impossible, at least in positivist scientific language), this research technique has proven productive. The special advantages of the method can best be shown by comparing it with the survey and exploratory methods of other religious social sciences. In surveys, the researcher uses the laboratory model of positivistic origin to measure the influence of variables and look for causes.

3. Methodological Consequences


Exit Is instructed not to influence the interview situation and to take an objective position as if he or she is absent or replaceable, as a laboratory researcher would. The experiment must be repeatable and therefore impersonal. Participant observation, on the other hand, uses the personality of the researcher as a tool to establish a relationship with the people being studied. Positivist-minded scholars often view the outcome of such an approach as biased and subjective. It violates the rule of strict separation of researcher and research object. The same judgment is also made when combining participatory observation with open-ended and in-depth interviews and the validity of the data obtained in this way is questioned. However, anthropologists have shown for nearly a century that this type of fieldwork provides insight. Although a statistical generalization is not possible, the case studies show the plausibility of cultural and social processes. Narratives make up for what statistics can't show, and often say more than numbers. Especially in religious studies, where people's stories about their experiences with the sacred are important, such an internal perspective produces data that cannot be obtained in any other way. Refinement methods are required to study the idiosyncrasies that produce religious experience. In short, subjectivity must be viewed as a tool. Whether religious scholars are theological or religious, their personal experiences of religion can be helpful in the field when trying to understand fellow believers. When these scholars conduct field research in another religion, the advantage of knowing the religion through personal experience could become a disadvantage. The researcher may, as we suggest, model the other religion after his own, for example the Christian religion, or implicit preferences and prejudices may color the account. Thus, the advantage of being familiar with religion can become a disadvantage. However, if this risk is explicitly reflected upon and sufficient consideration is given to possible religious centrism, being a religious scholar can have additional research value. In that sense, the ambiguous position that religion students operating out of theological schools could potentially give them a head start if they take a single-field approach. Those who consciously stay away from religion and avoid the associated experience can also claim an advantage for other reasons, to be free from the subjective risk that a believing scholar takes. However, in their case, bias cannot be ruled out, since the lack of a religion can lead to a subjective, perhaps unconscious, critical attitude towards religion and its claims.


Chapter 17. The best that a scholar can achieve

In any case, participatory methods are a way to enter and immerse yourself in the unique field. Since subjectivity can be both an advantage and a risk, there is a need for an explicit reflection on scientific engagement. The philosophical phenomenology that contributed to the classical understanding of religion was rediscovered for its way of introducing new ways of documenting experiences (cf. Csordas 1993, 1999, Droogers 2003, Van der Leeuw 1933, Widengren 1969). In anthropology, this approach has inspired a new school of phenomenologists (Jackson 1989, 1996; cf. Knibbe and Versteeg 2008). The field researcher's body becomes a research tool. Evocation is more important than objective representation. Metaphors are not seen primarily as cognitive tools, but as "phenomena of intelligent and understandable bodies that enliven lived experience" (Csordas 1999: 186; cf. Fernández 1990). The focus is on the lived experience of the scholar and the believer, both of whom are in the world. Elsewhere I have suggested a way of bridging the paradoxical distance between observer and participant by referring to the human capacity for serious play (Droogers 1996, 1999; cf. Van Harskamp 2006). Indeed, religion is one of the fields in which this ability to confront more than one reality at once can be observed. Believers play with the possibility of two realities, one natural and one supernatural. Your game can become so compromising that the two realities merge into one, or at least position themselves on the same spectrum. Playability and experiencing an additional dimension of reality reinforce each other. The use of tropes, particularly metaphors, which are important in religions, is another way of playing with two areas, one in need of clarification and the other providing a clear picture. As believers express their experience, they move from one area to another. Thus, God was called "Father" or "Mother," which connects the realms of religion and kinship. The use of the game is not limited to believers. The explicit reference to the game also suggests a possible position that scholars might take with regard to their study of the religious experiences of believers. It is customary to distinguish between three academic positions in relation to religious claims. Methodological (or religious) theists accept the possibility of experiencing the manifestation of the sacred. They include a reference to a divine agency in their explanations of religion. Methodological atheists (or naturalists and reductionists) reject exactly that. Between the two, methodological agnostics refrain from commenting on the matter. They will neither deny nor affirm such a sacred power. In research practice

3. Methodological Consequences


Methodological atheists and agnostics will describe data supporting the religion's claim, for example, when believers cite bodily experiences as one of the evidences that the sacred is manifesting. But they will not accept the reality of these experiences as a cause for explaining religion. Instead, scholars with these inclinations often invoke reductionist explanations of these experiences, pointing to non-religious elements and mechanisms of various kinds. In contrast to and complementary to these three positions, I have proposed methodological ludism, inspired by the anthropological tradition of participatory observation and by authors who have written about play (Droogers 1996, cf. Huizenga 1952, Turner 1982, 1988). In play, man is able to face two or even more realities at the same time. As we have already seen, this also applies to believers who presuppose a holy reality. But it would also be possible for a researcher to put himself, if only for a moment, in the position of believers. By sharing the actual bodily experiences of the subjects being studied, transiently but as completely as possible, the researcher gains an understanding of the role of those experiences. Methodological Luddism, while presupposing the seriousness of a role, is as methodical as the other three options and therefore independent of the investigator's personal beliefs about religion. A playful attitude reduces the distance between the religious student and the believer. Furthermore, he acknowledges the constructivist idea that knowledge must be built in the interaction between the scholar and the person who is the object (read: the other subject) of research (Guba 1990:26). Incidentally, the game can also be used in debates about theoretical paradigms that temporarily force you to take the opponent's point of view. We can conclude that once the possibility of a single field approach is accepted, several methods will be presented. While they never completely eliminate the distance between the scholar and the believer, they explore the possibilities that arise when a strict separation between the two is no longer required. The consequence of this approach is that we must recognize the role of the body as a research tool.


Chapter 17. The best that a scholar can achieve

4. Embodied Religion The single field approach involves the physical participation of the researcher. While believers use all their senses to register the manifestations of the sacred, the people who study them limit themselves to reading texts, observing behavior and, with less distance and more physical involvement, listening to people. This appears to have been a consequence of the need for objectivity and detachment, reinforced by the need to differentiate oneself from theological neighbors in the same subject area who were by definition participants in Christianity. It reduced physical involvement and precluded participation, creating a more cerebral climate for the study of religion. Consequently, little room was left for what Birgit Meyer has called “sensational forms” that make the transcendent palpable: “relatively fixed and authoritative ways of invoking and organizing access to the transcendental, and thus creating connections between religious practitioners in the context of and to maintain certain religious organizations” (Meyer 2008: 707). This exclusion from the body copied the perspective of Christian leadership. Influenced or not by Victorian prudishness, Christian leaders have struggled over the past century to formulate a vision of the body's role in the life of believers. This has contributed to an ecclesiastical climate in which attention to religious experience has been the exception rather than the rule. Physical experiences have been associated with cultic groups. In general, Western culture has long not facilitated the study of the role of the body in either theology or the social sciences. As Thomas J. Csordas has observed in recent decades: "The term 'experience' has practically disappeared from theorizing about culture" (Csordas 1999: 183). Body experience is also more of a blind spot in the religious studies of the social sciences. Religious experience has been reduced to religious representation, physical symbols to their meaning, despite the attention given to physical religious experience in some other disciplines. Think of the psychology of religion and its individual-centred tradition, which began with William James (cf. Taylor 2002), or the philosophy of religion and tradition, which began with Friedrich Schleiermacher and took shape with Rudolf Otto (cf. Proudfoot 1985). In religious studies, bodily experiences disappeared behind the veils of a systematization of ideas and beliefs and a focus on social order. It is true that not all religious activities are easily accessible, especially those that require certain sensational forms. the believers themselves

4. Embodied Religion


They already have difficulty expressing their experiences. By definition, religious body experiences are difficult to document. Although anthropologists of religion use participatory observation as one of their basic methods and thus may have performed better than their religious studies peers, their levels of participation have varied. However, religious experiences may have been a key element in ritual studies. However, ritual is symptomatically a contested term as it is identified as a contaminated Christian term (Boudewijnse 1995). In addition, it is believed that defining the behavior characteristic of the ritual is too difficult. The assumption that rituals have a meaning outside of themselves, usually a meaning corresponding to doctrinal ideas or even myth, has been challenged. The focus on meaning according to the Christian theological model as a link between ritual and doctrine may have led to physical experiences being neglected as crucial components of ritual (Stringer 1999: 211-215). Apparently, the search for the symbolic meaning of ritual indirectly facilitated the application of the Christian theological model to the study of other religions. Behind this contrast between meaning and experience is an asymmetrical relationship between mind and behavior, with the mind assuming a supreme position over the body (Bell 1992). Based on the contrast between thinking and acting, scientists see religious bodily experiences on the behavioral side and thus on the ritual side. The same opposition between mind and behavior emerges in the debate between intellectuals and symbolists: ritual as a scientific epistemology of explanation, prediction and control versus ritual as a symbolic behavioral statement of social order (Bowie 2000:157, 158, Horton 1994:197 -258). What both competing models have in common is that the role of religious bodily experiences is reduced to knowledge and meaning or their contribution to the social order. A comparison of the role of the body in religion and religious studies reveals a striking parallel. As I will suggest, students of religion and religious leaders can share unexpected similarities that cannot be explained solely by using the Christian model as the norm for describing other religions. The parallel has to do with the focus on order and the uncontrollable place of the body, both in the interest of the clergy and for other reasons in the interest of the academy. To begin with the religious order, one can point out that visionary mystics and other people emphasized their physical experience


Chapter 17. The best that a scholar can achieve

Sometimes used as a source of authenticity and authority, they have sometimes been persecuted by religious authorities. While there were also mystics who were inducted into the gallery of honor of religious heroes, and although the founders of world religions were often driven by similar physical experiences, the doctrinal and cerebral side tended to dominate. Of course, the way people interpret their experiences cannot be isolated from doctrinal socialization, and so the contrast should not be overstated. The fate of bodily experiences must be understood as a consequence of the workings of religious control, organization and power (Droogers 2001). The leadership cannot easily control idiosyncratic ecstatic displays and will therefore implement codes of conduct with set times and places. Priests and prophets do not get along - to use a Weberian example of the Christian religion. The first generation of believers will eventually have to submit to ritual control and the routineization of their spontaneity. The body is tamed and the believer incorporates the power structure into his body language. One can also surmise here a case of male taming of female bodies, for example in spirit mediumship and other extrasensory experiences. Doctrinal orthodoxy is an even easier and safer tool at the disposal of leadership than control over diverse experiences, since it is easier to maintain social structures and boundaries when the ideas legitimizing the group's identity are clear, predictable, and are undeniable. Spontaneity and play form a weak foundation for social order. Turning now to the parallel between religious leaders and students of religion, many scholars, consciously or unconsciously, focus as much on how social order is possible and maintained as religious leadership does. The starting point for many explanations of religion and religious success is therefore the contribution of religion to the social order and not the obvious center of religious practice: experience. This is not to say that religious body experiences are never mentioned, but they are often treated in a reductionist manner. A rediscovery of the role of experience in religion can lead to a rehabilitation of religion as it was before success linked it to the powers that be. When the role of the body is emphasized in religion, new concepts may need to be developed. One way to connect and hold mind and body together is to use the concept of schema as defined in cognitive anthropology (Bloch 1991, D'Andrade 1995, Strauss and Quinn 1997). Schemas are culturally accepted minimal scripts (or scenarios, prototypes, or models) for and of a given thought, emotion, perception, or action (Droogers 2003: 267). They contain a limited number of items.

4. Embodied Religion


ments that are common to similar concrete situations. Thus, the conversion experience schema contains a number of features that, despite personal and contextual differences, are usually part of the event. Claudia Strauss and Naomi Quinn have defined schemas as “networks of tightly connected cognitive elements that represent the generic concepts stored in memory” (Strauss and Quinn 1997: 6). The schemas are physically anchored in the body as connections between millions of neurons in the brain (Strauss and Quinn 1997: 51). In fact, this vision goes beyond the mind-body dichotomy. Schemas generate religious bodily experiences, just as experiences stimulate the formation or modification of schemas. One way to represent what happens in bodily religious experiences is to describe them by discovering the schemes at work. The schemes do not stand alone, but form repertoires that characterize a specific field, for example that of a religion. Both believers and scholars have their own repertoire of schemes to give meaning to their realms (Droogers 2003:267). If we want to understand why bodily religious experiences have until recently been a neglected area in the study of modern religion, we must also refer to the metaphors that inspire its methodology. The “text” has been described as “a hungry metaphor” that “devoured the body itself” (Csordas 1999: 182; cf. Brown 1988, McGuire 1990, Meyer 2008, Simpson 1993). The emphasis on sacred texts and official views in religious studies reflects this metaphor. Another popular metaphor refers to the body, but in a one-sided way: there is a strong visual bias and use of visual metaphors in academic vocabulary and method (cf. Austin 1962, Bourdieu 1997, Van der Stoep 2006, Stoller 1989). Scholars often speak of a vision, a point of view, a vision, an approach, an interview, a world view, a perspective, the invisible, etc. Objectivity also has visual connotations, as in the sense of "objectives" as in lenses, indicating an unbiased Observation as suggested by a camera. Furthermore, for optical reasons, it is assumed that observation requires the same distance that scientific research requires, at least from a (neo-)positivist point of view. As by J.L. Austin and Pierre Bourdieu, science tends to neglect the other senses, represented by the nose, tongue, and fingertips, because they require closeness that defies the rule of necessary distance. The blind spot (another optical metaphor) of religious bodily experiences seems to have long escaped scholarly attention because of the "optical" deception that has been done to students of religion. We can conclude that the single-field approach involves the challenge of using more senses in fieldwork than the traditional optical instrument.


Chapter 17. The best that a scholar can achieve

This is necessary because the religious experience goes beyond the 'see what you get' rule. When we invite the use of other senses, unexplored dimensions of religious practice emerge, and not only that. This can also lead to a different vision of the ritual. In addition, ordinary believers fall into the realm of research, complementing the usual focus on religious guidance and sacred texts. More than the order, the deviations become interesting for investigation in order to do justice to the way religions originated.

5. Cases for Pentecostalism The history of studying Pentecostalism aptly illustrates my case for a single field approach. Pentecostalism seems to be a particularly relevant example for understanding the study of religion as an academic subculture and its need to update the practice of the discipline in line with changes in the religious field. It is a new form of Christianity that began in a 1906 revival on Azusa Street in Los Angeles. It is typically modern in its focus on the individual, its global mission, its rapid spread around the world and its use of modern communication techniques, but above all in its critical approach to modernity and lifestyle. It emphasizes the influence of the Holy Spirit given at Pentecost as told in Acts 2. It challenges the established views of mainstream Christianity and, indirectly, the accepted models based on them that hold true for other forms of religion. Pentecostalism embraces charisms such as healing, glossolalia, and prophecy. As a result, it leaves a lot of room for physical experiences, although according to the main church perspective it should be exclusively oriented towards the soul, with an associated moral devaluation of the physical aspects. Its extraordinary expansion over the last century reflects the appeal of a religion that emphasizes the role of the body, particularly in relation to the changes brought about by modernization, globalization, migration, consumerism and individualization. These processes affect the body, and Pentecostal churches provide care for the diseases associated with them. The Pentecostal movement is also interesting because most Pentecostals live in the southern hemisphere, where these processes have a particularly strong impact today. As a new phenomenon, Pentecostalism calls for new methods. In fact, a single-field approach offers added value here.

5. The case of Pentecostalism


Taking the broadest possible definition of Pentecostalism, the number of Pentecostal believers in the world today is estimated at half a billion people, a quarter of all Christians (Anderson 2004: 1). As recently as 1975, the number was estimated at seventy million. Even if more exclusive definitions are chosen, for example by not including the independent African churches or excluding so-called charismatic movements in the big churches, the numerical growth is impressive. Philip Jenkins predicts that Pentecostal believers will form the hard core of a conservative Southern Hemisphere Christianity that will shape the 21st century (Jenkins 2002). The majority of Pentecostals are women, mostly led by men, which makes the movement interesting from a gender studies perspective. The study of this phenomenon began slowly, as if the mainstream church's view that Pentecostalism is a cult made it less interesting. For decades, more was known about non-Christian religions than this new branch of Christianity. Referred to as cults, Pentecostal churches did not obey the established Christian church model. But the church/cult typology is itself an expression of the mainstream perspective, which sees itself as normal and cults as deviant. This typology dates from about the same time as Pentecostalism and developed in the context of its rise (Troeltsch 1960, Weber 1963). The comparison was influenced by the contrast between systematic teaching formulations on the one hand and religious physical experiences on the other. The elitist view of cults as sites of ecstatic behavior reflected this. Because Pentecostal churches were not part of the establishment, they were portrayed as deviant or even backward and irrational. In fact, the experiences of the charismata were difficult to reconcile with the cerebral theological climate. In terms of power, Pentecostal groups have been a threat to established churches because of the possible migration of members to these "sects". As a result, Pentecostalism did not become an established topic for scholarly research until the 1960s. The theologian and missiologist Walter Hollenweger, who completed a ten-volume dissertation between 1965 and 1967 and dealt personally with the Pentecostal movement, was one of the first to deal scientifically with these churches (Hollenweger 1965-1967). Emílio Willems (1960, 1967) and Christian Lalive d'Épinay (1967, 1969), both working on the Latin American Pentecostal movement, opened the field of Pentecostalism in the social sciences. In attempting to explain the appeal and spread of Pentecostalism, these social scientists referred primarily to non-religious factors and


Chapter 17. The best that a scholar can achieve

his alleged interaction with that religion. From a functionalist perspective, the role of Pentecostalism in society has been proposed as an explanation for its popularity. Much attention has been given to the external causes of Pentecostal growth, while less attention has been given to the identity and appeal of Pentecostalism itself as a religion with its own doctrine and practice. This could be seen as a symptom of social theory's problem of not knowing how to approach the role of bodily experiences. As I have alluded to, bodily religious experiences were given a lower priority as a result of an overly rational approach. Although Pentecostalism is unique in its exclusive focus on the Christian concept of the Holy Spirit, and often opposed to syncretism and pre-Christian religiosity, some threads seem to connect the sinful and demonic body of the past with the converted body of the present. despite the contrast. Physical manifestations of the sacred are known in many cultures and religions, often associated with healing and problem solving, albeit in many different forms. Basic religious experiences are impossible without the body, which is the site of the manifestation of the spirit. So the Pentecost message is not new, but its interpretation of these basic experiences is. In the globalized world, security and insecurity come together in the body. Feelings of well-being and sadness are expressed through the body. Material circumstances affect the physical existence of a person. The body is what is bared in poverty and attacked by violence, but it is also the pillar of human existence. The need for healing has increased, especially in the southern hemisphere, because medical conditions have improved as a result of modernization, but the associated population explosion had the much stronger side effects of conflicts over scarce resources, increasing environmental pollution and an unequal distribution of income. These have exacerbated the causes of the disease and made medical care inaccessible. In addition, the many lifestyles promoted by consumption and media raise identity and wealth questions about how to pay for these attractive lifestyles. Where the "gospel of prosperity" is part of the Pentecostal message and suggests that believers will be richly blessed, this provides another reason why the new religion is welcome because it appeals to this side of the body. In view of the role of the body in the Pentecostal experience, the usual models and methods of religious studies, which were developed in the context of the often church-related Christian theological faculties, no longer fit into the new mainstream situation. The dramatic and intense Pentecostal experience cannot be understood from a

6. Conclusion


Distance. In general, Pentecostals would love the investigator to become a member of their church and are committed to it. However, the field worker may have some difficulty identifying with the recruiting believer, especially since the physical experiences that accompany charisms are not quick or automatic. However, to better understand what drives Pentecostal churches and how they attract people seeking physical experiences, scholars must seek to understand what those experiences mean to them. The methods I have suggested can be helpful in this quest for understanding. Given the central role of the body, a single-field approach seems necessary for a fruitful study of this type of Christianity.

6. Conclusion The current habitus of the religious scholar can be characterized as a result of the tensions between: 1. Science's demand for positivist and empirical objectivity and a more recent constructivist alternative. 2. The visual bias and a new call for using other senses. 3. A limited view caused by the religious versus secular dichotomy and other parallel dichotomies, and new ways of going beyond these distinctions. 4. Disembodied Christian theological practice, which focuses on systematic and rational representation, and a new emphasis on how people use their bodies in their religious practice. 5. A reductionist social science emphasis on social order and the role of religion as a means of ensuring that order, and an appreciation of the unpredictable dynamics of human behavior. Within the traditional academic infrastructure, the research object is specific and limited. It has dominated a discourse and research practice that, while elaborating on the cerebral, systemic, and social aspects of religion, is insufficient to assess the role played by the body in religious experiences. The body, as the crossroads where the forces of sacred and secular nature meet, has not received the attention it deserves. In fact, the framework adopted allowed the researcher to ignore the body as a methodological tool, except perhaps for the head and eyes. A single field approach forces us to reassess


Chapter 17. The best that a scholar can achieve

Distance that the researcher respectfully maintained (note the visual metaphor) from the believer. It pulls the researcher and his body into the field. Where is religious studies going? A changed emphasis on bodily experience in the globalized world requires a change in thematic options, theoretical perspectives and methodological preferences. The mind-body divide and the dichotomies that accompany it must be overcome. Trends such as Northern Hemisphere New Age and Southern Hemisphere Pentecostalism have popularized religious body experiences. In fact, religious body experiences play a prominent role in much of today's global consumer culture. In particular, advertisers for brands that sell body products use religious vocabulary and suggest divine, heavenly, magical, ecstatic, or sublime sensations. Some of these brands enjoy cult status. The longstanding emphasis on the cerebral side of religions as systems of thought needs to be complemented by an appreciation of religions as places where the sacred is experienced in and through the body. The spirit can thus reconnect with the rest of the body and rehabilitate the lived religious experiences. Part of the one-field perspective is a critical approach to dichotomies. Accepted dichotomies such as those between body and mind, secular and religious must be overcome or at least made conscious. Many of them are the product of religious and academic socialization. Except in extreme cases, even one-sided interpretations of dichotomies, one-sided emphasis should be avoided. Academics studying religion may wish to consider self-reflection in relation to their own area of ​​expertise, as I have attempted here for Pentecostalism. As a result, they may develop some level of awareness of the academic subculture into which they have been previously socialized and conditioned. This subculture reflects a bygone period of modern culture and religion and was influenced by contextual factors that were not directly part of the field of study itself. These factors are now obsolete, at least in their one-sidedness. The current situation requires changes in the professional subculture, a rethinking of explicit and especially implicit assumptions, a different way of using dichotomies, a more hybrid and intersubjective position and possibly a different academic place. Some of what hitherto applied outside of science needs to be brought in, just as some that seemed essential to the profession should perhaps be left out. The price-

6. Conclusion


The possibility of religious body experiences should no longer be taken for granted, but approached as a real challenge. Scholars might endeavor to experience them for themselves. They might consider seeing themselves as part of the religious field in a hybrid way and immersing themselves in it for as long as possible, thanks or despite their personal views on religion. Having worked for a long time on the basis of an opposition between religion and science, they could now look for common ground between the two. Having been "aware" of religion, they could now attempt to utilize the rest of the body and "include" the study of religion, including the mind's role in it. This shift will not happen overnight as cultures and subcultures are often resilient. Reassuringly, old habits continue to be experienced in an eclectic way and a new one-sidedness is prevented. But you have to make an effort. As a consequence of the approach proposed here, the definition of religion can be playfully revisited by integrating the researcher into the field in a constructivist way. While the usual definitions of religion refer only to believers, the one-field approach must necessarily leave room for scholars. In this way the constructed character of the concept of religion and the knowledge of the discipline can be recognized. The definition I propose reflects the fact that both researchers and researcher as human beings, despite their different perspectives, have to deal with partly similar dichotomies. Dichotomies relate, for example, to individuality and belonging, ineffability and representation, distance and closeness, diversifying identity and unifying identification, diversity and unity. This approach would help the religion student to deal with the contrasts between religious and secular, religion and science, and distance and participation, contrasts that have complicated the understanding of religion, especially religious body experiences. This shared struggle with dichotomies can be reflected in the following fairly substantive definition of religion, albeit with some cool functional nuances: religion is the field of experience of the sacred in the body, a field in which both believer and scholar engage in the human Ability to play within the confines of the mechanisms of power to articulate basic human dichotomies, thus adding an extra dimension to their vision of reality. (cf. Droogers 1999: 301, slightly adapted)

In this hybrid way of seeing the scholar and the believer as part of a single field, we can develop a new vision of religion and its study.


Chapter 17. The best that a scholar can achieve

Acknowledgments I am grateful for helpful comments on an earlier version from Henri Gooren, Anton van Harskamp, ​​Birgit Meyer, Peter Versteeg, and two anonymous reviewers.

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Nijmegen/'s-Hertogenbosch: Center for Catholic Studies/Joint Mission Publicity Foundation, pp. 87-110. Makes Sense: A Triptych of the Brazilian Religious Imagination. Amsterdam: VU bookshop/publisher (opening lecture). Normativity and contextuality in the anthropological study of syncretism. In: S. Griffin and J.P. Increased (ed.). Norm and context in the social sciences. Lanham, Mass.: University Press of America, pp. 107-120. From Antagonism to Partnership: Social Scientists and Missionary Workers in a Latin American Perspective. In: Roland Bonsen et al. (ed.). The ambiguity of approach: Anthropologists' reflections on their contested relationship with the missionaries. Nijmegen: Focal, pp. 14 – 31. O tempo, o poder e a religião: Algumas observações sobre la relação between a história ecclesiástica y a antropologia da religião. Estudos Teolgicos, 30(2), 158 – 164. The playful seriousness of Brazilian religiosity: Mario Quintana on religion. In: Peter Kloos (ed.). Fiction as Truth: Artistic and Scientific Representations of Reality. Amsterdam: VU University Press, p. 67 – 86. (Chapter 2 of this volume) (with Bart Droogers) The Pain of Writing: Modern Brazilian Poetry. Diest: 't Prieeltje. (translation of poems by Mario Quintana) (with Barbara Boudewijnse and Frans Kamsteeg, eds.). Something More Than Opium: An Anthropological Reading of Latin American and Caribbean Pentecostalism. San Jose, Costa Rica: DEI. Paradoxical visions of a paradoxical religion: models for explaining the growth of Pentecostalism in Brazil and Chile. In: Barbara Boudewijnse, André Droogers and Frans Kamsteeg (eds.). Something More Than Opium: An Anthropological Reading of Latin American and Caribbean Pentecostalism. San José, Costa Rica: DEI, pp. 17-42. (see also 1992e) Preliminary Bibliography on Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements in Latin America and the Caribbean. In: Barbara Boudewijnse, André Droogers and Frans Kamsteeg (eds.). Something More Than Opium: An Anthropological Reading of Latin American and Caribbean Pentecostalism. San José, Costa Rica: DEI, pp. 137 – 176. (with Gerrit Huizer and Hans Siebers, eds.), Popular Power in Latin American Religions. Saarbrücken and Fort Lauderdale: Breitenbach.

Bibliography André Droogers


1991e (with Hans Siebers) Popular religion and power in Latin America: An introduction. In: André Droogers, Gerrit Huizer and Hans Siebers (eds.). Popular Power in Latin American Religions. Saarbrücken and Fort Lauderdale: Breitenbach, p. 1 - 25. 1991f Brazil as a patient: Political healing and "New Age" in a spiritualistic group. In: André Droogers, Gerrit Huizer and Hans Siebers (eds.). Popular Power in Latin American Religions. Saarbrücken and Fort Lauderdale: Breitenbach, pp. 237-259. 1991g Folk religion, power, meaning. Wereld in Zending, 20(2), 39 – 48. 1991h Images of God and Humans between Reflection and Reversal: God, Gods, Spirits and Humans in Brazilian Religions. In A.J. Fry et al. Tell me what your god is like: pictures of god and pictures of people. Kampen: Kok, pp. 54-67. 1992a Pentecostalism: Wildfire. Wereld in Zending, 21(2), 3 – 11. 1992b Meaning, power and participation of religious experience: a religio-ethnological view. In: Jerald D. Gort et al (eds.). On Sharing Religious Experiences: Possibilities of Interreligious Reciprocity. Amsterdam/Grand Rapids: Rodopi/Eerdmans, pp. 45-54. 1992c The Church celebrates... An instructive Sunday in a Brazilian city. In: Peter Kloos (ed.). Anthropology, a jewel of a profession. Assen/Maastricht: Van Gorcum, p. 25. - 32. 1992d O Brazil is patient: Political priest in a spiritistic group. Religio e Sociedade, 16(1-2), 146-159. 1992e Visões paradoxais de una religião paradoxal: Explanatory models for the growth of Pentecostalism in Brazil and Chile. Estudos de Religio, 8, 61 – 83. (1991b translation) 1993a (with Susanna Rostas) (ed.). The popular use of folk religion in Latin America. Amsterdam: CEDLA. 1993b (with Susanna Rostas) The Popular Use of Folk Religion in Latin America: An Introduction. In: Susanna Rostas and André Droogers (eds.). The popular use of folk religion in Latin America. Amsterdam: CEDLA, p. 1 – 16. 1993c Power and Meaning in Three Popular Brazilian Religions. In: Susanna Rostas and André Droogers (eds.). The popular use of folk religion in Latin America. Amsterdam: CEDLA, p. 17 – 27. (Chapter 4 of this volume) 1993d The Power of the Conductor. In: Decorum, SNK Magazine, December 1993, pp. 7-9.


Bibliography André Droogers

1994a The Normalization of Religious Experience: Healing, Prophecy, Dreams and Visions. In: Karla Poewe (ed.). Charismatic Christianity as Global Culture. Columbia, South Carolina: University of South Carolina Press, pp. 33-49 1994b Turner, Game and the Explanation of Religion. Anthropologie Verkenningen, 13(4), 31-45. 1994c Review by: David Hess, Ghosts and Scientists: Ideology, Spiritualism and Brazilian Culture. University Park, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1991. Luso-Brazilian Review, 31(1), 125-126. 1995a Rules for Religious Relations. In: Reender Kranenborg and Wessel Stoker (eds.). Religions and (in)equality in a pluralistic society. Apeldoorn, Leuven: Garant, pp. 131 – 146. 1995b Identity, Religious Pluralism and Ritual in Brazil: Umbanda and Pentecostalism. In: Jan Platvoet and Karel van der Toorn (eds.). Pluralism and Identity: Studies in Ritual Behavior. Leiden, New York, Cologne: E.J. Hell, pp. 91 – 113. (Chapter 8 of this volume) 1995c Syncretism, power, play. In: Göran Aijmer (ed.). Syncretism and trading in symbols. Gothenburg: Institute for Advanced Study in Social Anthropology, pp. 36-57. 1995d Cultural relativism and universal human rights? In: Abdullahi A. An-Na'im and others (eds.). Human rights and religious values: an uncomfortable relationship? Amsterdam, Grand Rapids: Rodopi, Eerdmans, pp. 78 – 90. 1995e Interview with André Droogers. Anthropological Horizons, 1(3), 115-121. 1995f (with Susanna Rostas) The popular use of folk religion in Latin America: an introduction. Alteridades, 5(9), 81-91 (1993b translation). 1996a (ed.). Message from the Mystery: Answers to the Vision of J. van Baal. Barn: Have Have. 1996b For the introduction. In: Andre Droogers (ed.). Message from the Mystery: Answers to the Vision of J. van Baal. Baarn: Ten Have, pp. 7 – 9. 1996c For an introduction. In: Andre Droogers (ed.). Message from the Mystery: Answers to the Vision of J. van Baal. Baarn: Ten Have, pp. 128 – 131. 1996d Dilemmas in popular culture research. In: Ton Salman (ed.), The Legacy of the Disinherited: Popular Culture in Latin America: Modernity, Globalization, Hybridity and Authenticity. Amsterdam: CEDLA, Latin American Studies 76, p. 35-53.

Bibliography André Droogers


1996e Methodological Luddism: Beyond Religiosity and Reductionism. In: Anton van Harskamp (ed.). Conflicts in the Social Sciences. London and New York: Routledge, p. 44 – 67. (Chapter 14 of this volume) 1997a (with R. Van Essen, J. Gort and H. Visser, eds.). Beyond Stereotypes: Evangelicals and Ecumenism on Religious Pluralism. Zoetermeer: ​​Book Center. 1997b Evangelicals and Ecumenism on Religious Pluralism: A Cultural-Anthropological Approach to a Discussion. In: A. Droogers et al. (eds.). Beyond Stereotypes: Evangelicals and Ecumenism on Religious Pluralism. Zoetermeer: ​​​​Boekencentrum, pp. 54 – 73. 1997c Are you dust and will you become dust…? (Review by W.B. Drees (ed.). Man: more than matter? Religion and reductionism. Kampen: Kok, 1997). Am Rand, 6(3), 33-36. 1997d In the beginning was poetry. Facta, 5(2), 16 – 17. 1998a (with Barbara Boudewijnse and Frans Kamsteeg, eds.). More than opium: an anthropological approach to Latin American and Caribbean Pentecostal practice. Lanham: Scarecrow. (1991a Expanded Edition) 1998b Paradoxical Views of a Paradoxical Religion. In: Barbara Boudewijnse, André Droogers and Frans Kamsteeg (eds.). More than opium: an anthropological approach to Latin American and Caribbean Pentecostal practice. Lanham: Scarecrow, pp. 1-34. (1991b translation) (Chapter 12 of this volume) 1998c Bibliography on Pentecostalism in Latin America and the Caribbean. In: Barbara Boudewijnse, André Droogers and Frans Kamsteeg (eds.). More than opium: an anthropological approach to Latin American and Caribbean Pentecostal practice. Lanham: Scarecrow, pp. 249-312. 1998d review by: David Lehmann, Struggle for the Spirit. Oxford: Police Press. Contemporary Religion Magazine, 13, 509-510. 1999 The Third Bank of the River: Play, Methodological Luddism, and the Definiti