This article compares the ways in which two different religions in Brazil generate roads to certainty through objectification, one through gods, the other through banknotes. The Afro-Brazilian religion Candomblé provides a road to certainty based on cosmological ideas about gods whose presence in ritual is made indubitable through performance and social consensus. Candomblé has historically gained its spiritual force by being both marginal to mainstream religion and spatially peripheral. In contrast, the Neo- Pentecostal Universal Church of the Kingdom of God is located in easily accessible places within urban life. There is a certain parallel between these different locations and the difference in ritual roads to certainty in the two religions. The article draws out connections between different levels of infrastructure – material, spatial and ritual. The comparison between the two religions points to a social imaginary that in both cases has to do with how to deal with indeterminacies in life through objectification.
Roads to Certainty in Two Brazilian Religions
The Cosmopolitics of an Apparently Non-religious Practice
Sergio González Varela
Scholars commonly associate the religiosity of capoeira with the Afro- Brazilian religion of Candomblé, although some consider capoeira to be exclusively a martial art or even a sport. From the vantage point of the leaders of capoeira Angola groups, their individual power comes from a set of magical attributes that go beyond the influence of Afro-Brazilian religions. In this article, I explore an alternative form of spirituality that is based on the existence of spiritual beings such as the ancestors and the dead mestres (leaders). I argue that these entities emerge only in capoeira performances, affecting ritual action in such a way as to constitute an alternative form of religion that co-exists with Candomblé. By focusing on the effects that these spirits have in the configuration of charismatic personal power, it is possible to delineate cosmological attributes that make capoeira a potential religious practice in its own right.
An Essay in Anthropological Symmetrization
Starting with the axiom that, for anthropology, the only relevant epistemologies and ontologies are those offered by the peoples we work with, this article offers a sketch of the current debate around the once famous ideas of 'fetish' and 'fetishism'. Focusing on the way that this debate has been extended in studies of Afro-Brazilian religions, the argument employs fieldwork and bibliographic data from one of these religions, candomblé, in order to present a native theory of the creative process underlying what has been baptized with the strange names 'fetish' and 'fetishism'. In short, this native theory holds that the creative process consists more in the actualization of already existing virtualities contained in beings and objects in the world than in the model of ex nihilo production, which is characteristic of our dominant Judeo-Christian and capitalist cosmologies.
Recurring Fieldwork in the Brazilian Candomblé
Setting out from fieldwork experiences in the ritual of the Brazilian Candomblé, this article aims to understand temporality in different ways. The significance of 'unfocused presence' in the field is discussed by way of the concept of 'deep hanging out'. The boredom experienced by the fieldworker is analyzed in relation to sentiments expressed by the people involved in ritual and the fieldworker's changing emotions over time, as previous experiences influence how time spent waiting is perceived. In ritual as well as in the interaction between fieldworker and the people in the field, temporality is deeply related to sociality and the aesthetics of social rhythm. It is concluded that the fieldworker is drawn into the time-geography of the field in a joint chore ography of social interaction.
Galina Oustinova-Stjepanovic, Joana Bahia, Luiz Costa, Jonathan Mair, Dolores P. Martinez, Stephan Feuchtwang, Richard Irvine, Stephen D. Glazier, Diana Espirito Santo, Simion Pop, William Dawley, Emily B. Baran, Richard Baxstrom, Anastasios Panagiotopoulos, Mette High, Amy Whitehead, Sindre Bangstad, Thomas G. Kirsch and Ruy Llera Blanes
BUBANDT, Nils, and Martijn VAN BEEK, eds., Varieties of Secularism in Asia: Anthropological Explorations of Religion, Politics and the Spiritual, 261 pp., illustrations, index. London: Routledge, 2012. Hardback, $145. ISBN 9780415616720.
CAPONE, Stefania, Searching for Africa in Brazil: Power and Tradition in Candomblé, 336 pp., illustrations, notes, bibliography, index. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010. Paperback, $23.95. ISBN 9780822346364.
COURSE, Magnus, Becoming Mapuche: Person and Ritual in Indigenous Chile, 224 pp., illustrations, notes, glossary, index. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2011. Paperback, $25. ISBN 9780252078231.
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ENDRES, Kirsten W., Performing the Divine: Mediums, Markets and Modernity in Urban Vietnam, 240 pp., bibliography, index. Copenhagen: Nordic Institute of Asian Studies, 2011. Paperback, £16.99, $32. ISBN 9788776940768.
FJELSTAD, Karen, and Nguyen THIHIEN, Spirits without Borders: Vietnamese Spirit Mediums in a Transnational Age, 230 pp., glossary, notes, references, index. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011. Hardback, $90. ISBN 9780230114937.
GEERTZ, Armin W., and Jappe Sinding JENSEN, eds., Religious Narrative, Cognition and Culture: Image and Word in the Mind of Narrative, 348 pp. Sheffield: Equinox, 2011. Paperback, £24.99, $39.95. ISBN 9781845532956.
GRIFFITH, Ezra E. H., Ye Shall Dream: Patriarch Granville Williams and the Barbados Spiritual Baptists, 207 pp., references, index. Mona: University of the West Indies Press, 2010. Paperback, $35. ISBN 9789766402433.
HAYES, Kelly E., Holy Harlots: Femininity, Sexuality, and Black Magic in Brazil, xiii, 293 pp., illustrations, notes, bibliography, index. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011. Paperback, $27.95, £19.95. ISBN 9780520262652.
KAPFERER, Bruce, Kari TELLE, and Annelin ERIKSEN, eds., Contemporary Religiosities: Emergent Socialities and the Post-Nation-State, 221 pp., illustrations, bibliography, index. New York: Berghahn Books, 2010. Paperback, $25, £15. ISBN 9780857451309.
LINDHARDT, Martin, ed., Practicing the Faith: The Ritual Life of Pentecostal-Charismatic Christians, 352 pp., tables, bibliography, index. New York: Berghahn Books, 2011. Hardback, $95, £55. ISBN 9781845457709.
LUEHRMANN, Sonja, Secularism Soviet Style: Teaching Atheism and Religion in a Volga Republic, 292 pp., illustrations, maps, glossary, notes, references, index. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2011. Paperback, $27.95. ISBN 9780253223555.
OBEYESEKERE, Gananath, The Awakened Ones: Phenomenology of Visionary Experience, xx + 622 pp., illustrations, notes, glossary, index. New York: Columbia University Press, 2012. Hardback, $50, £34.50. ISBN 9780231153621.
OCHOA, Todd Ramón, Society of the Dead: Quita Manaquita and Palo Praise in Cuba, 328 pp., notes, bibliography, index. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2010. Paperback, $26.95, £18.95. ISBN 9780520256842.
PEDERSEN, Morten Axel, Not Quite Shamans: Spirit Worlds and Political Lives in Northern Mongolia, 250 pp., bibliography, glossary, index. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2011. Paperback, $28.95. ISBN 9780801476204.
ROUNTREE, Kathryn, Crafting Contemporary Pagan Identities in a Catholic Society, 206 pp., figures, bibliography, index. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2010. Hardback, £55, $82. ISBN 9780754669739.
WARNER, Michael, Jonathan VANANTWERPEN, and Craig CALHOUN, eds., Varieties of Secularism in a Secular Age, 337 pp., name index, subject index. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2010. Paperback, $46.50. ISBN 9780674048577.
WERBNER, Richard, Holy Hustlers, Schism, and Prophecy: Apostolic Reformation in Botswana, 268 pp., illustrations, notes, references, index, DVD. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011. Hardback, $60. ISBN 9780520268531.
COLOMBANI, Hervé, dir., Nouvelle Terre Promise, 45 min., color. Paris: CNRS Images, 2008.
The Practice of’sharing’ in a New Age Variant of Umbanda
-century European Spiritism and Afro-Brazilian religions, founded on the worship of a virtually infinite number of spiritual entities and, to a lesser extent, of the orixás of Candomblé, another Afro-Brazilian religious practice in which elements of African origin
Jack Hunter, Annelin Eriksen, Jon Mitchell, Mattijs van de Port, Magnus Course, Nicolás Panotto, Ruth Barcan, David M. R. Orr, Girish Daswani, Piergiorgio Di Giminiani, Pirjo Kristiina Virtanen, Sofía Ugarte, Ryan J. Cook, Bettina E. Schmidt and Mylene Mizrahi
anthropology. Goddess in Motion: Visual Creativity in the Cult of María Lionza . Reviewed by Mattijs van de Port As a researcher of Candomblé in Bahia, Brazil, what little previous knowledge I had of the Venezuelan María Lionza cult came from Rafael Sánchez