The Enchantment of Local Religion

Tangling Cultural Heritage, Tradition and Religion in Southern Europe

in Ethnologia Europaea
Cyril Isnart CNRS

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This article addresses the combined dynamics between traditional religious manifestations and cultural heritage processes in order to better understand the reconfiguration of certain religious rituals, sometimes coined as local religion. After examining the entanglements of cultural heritage and religions in southern Europe, often silenced or minimized, I present recent case studies demonstrating that uses of religious traditions as cultural heritage are not uncommon and that the theoretical framework of secularization needs to be nuanced. At state or community level, religious practices seem to be enchanted, and at the same time enchant the region in which they take place. This analysis helps to understand the processes of contemporary social and cultural reconfiguration of the ways people think and what they make of their religious “traditions”.

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