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Abstract

The COVID-19 crisis is affecting millions of lives and has wreaked some of its greatest havoc and suffering among the vulnerable and marginalised populations of the world, many of whom belong to religious and faith-based communities. In times of crisis and difficulty, religion and faith are a source of hope and strength for many. In this paper, we underscore the critical role and impact that some faith-based organisations have had in the pandemic crisis response and management of three countries: Brazil, Indonesia and Sri Lanka. In Brazil, Pastoral da Criança is leveraging their mobile phone application to fight mis-information about COVID-19. In Indonesia, Muhammadiyah launched a COVID-19 command centre to support treatment in hospitals, to disseminate guidelines for religious activities backed by science, and to provide water, sanitation and hygiene packages, food and financial support to the most vulnerable and neglected. In Sri Lanka, Sarvodaya is working closely with religious and community leaders on risk communication and community engagement messages and is also providing hygiene care and economic relief packages to the marginalised. We further discuss some of the challenges these organisations have faced and propose recommendations for greater engagement with this group of global public health actors to maximise their contributions and impact in the crisis management of and response to future infectious disease outbreaks, epidemics or pandemics in low-resource settings.

Open Access
In: Religion and Development

Abstract

Drawing on ethnographic research in Zimbabwe, this article examines the ways through which a new Pentecostal-Charismatic Church (PCC), Good Life Church (GLC), engages in charity and redistributive activities in Harare. From the mid-2000s, there has been a remarkable Pentecostal explosion in Zimbabwe. This explosion coincided with a protracted socio-economic and political crisis. This crisis was marked by deepening poverty, skyrocketing unemployment, hyperinflation, and the withdrawal of state welfare. This was worsened by rapid emigration, which dismembered kinship-based social safety nets. In response, new PCCs emerged as new and alternative spaces of welfare provision, redistribution and social security. I argue that GLC’s engagement in acts of charity should be understood within the broader discourse of spiritual warfare against the demons of poverty. By addressing “this-worldly” concerns, GLC attempts to make a holistic contribution to sustainable development by attending to the spiritual and material needs of people. Indeed, a culture of giving is cultivated and habituated in everyday life and practices within the church. I assert that acts of individual and collective charity provision in GLC enable many people to navigate uncertainties and precarities wrought by the postcolonial economic crisis. This article draws on Bourdieu’s theory of practice, and particularly his concepts of field, habitus and forms of anticipation to unpack the acts of charity in GLC. A specific kind of Pentecostal habitus is (re)produced through teachings, rituals, socialities and convivialities forged within the church.

Open Access
In: Religion and Development
Author:

Abstract

Statues of the Virgin Mary have been embarking on various types of movement and migration for centuries. They are the fixed points around which religious activities are carried out in communities in Spain and Latin America and play significant roles in the personal and social lives of their devotees. Until recently, however, scholarship has largely overlooked the potential richness of what religious material cultures can tell us about religious transformation in Latin America. This paper therefore offers a theoretical and methodological advance by way of a ground-up, ‘material’ approach to understanding religious change through the religious statues themselves. It utilises the statue of the Virgen de la Regla in Chipiona, Spain as a node on a map from which to trace the lines of movement from Spain into Cuba where a replica of the same Virgin, another nodal point, is worshipped as both Virgin Mary and Santeria Orisha Yamaya.

Open Access
In: Interdisciplinary Journal for Religion and Transformation in Contemporary Society
Author:

Abstract

Focusing on the Brazilian spirit-incorporation religion of Umbanda, this article proposes a theoretical shift in conceptions of hybridity: a move from asking “what ingredients mix in what manner to produce what result?” to asking “how do we interpret religious innovation?” This approach sees meaning as simply the result of interpretation (not in terms of a representational relation between words and world). It also underlines the centrality of discursive claims of hybridity and purity, as opposed to historical issues of origins – a point clarified by comparing “hybridity” to “tradition.” Comparison of Umbanda and Candomblé leads to the conclusion that each can be considered both “Afro-Brazilian” and “hybrid” in different ways. Candomblé exhibits semantic polarity (all groups accept that a certain sub-type is more authentic and hybridity marks divergence from that norm). Umbanda exhibits semantic plurality (wide variation between groups is not subject to such a normative judgment).

Open Access
In: Interdisciplinary Journal for Religion and Transformation in Contemporary Society
The book presents the annotated texts of 21 songs of Eastern Mongol shamans. The transcriptions are kept in the Archives of Oral Literature of the Northrhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences and Arts in Düsseldorf.
The publication contributes new knowledge of the history, ritual practices, beliefs and customs of the Qorčin (Khorchin) Mongol shamans of eastern Inner Mongolia in particular. It focuses on 21 shamanic songs performed for different purposes. They are sung by 8 shamans who were born in the first decades of the 20th century. The Mongol texts of the songs are supplied with an English translation, extensive commentaries, and melodies in numeric notation. The author analyses the 21 songs by making use of passages from songs belonging to the repertoire of other Qorčin Mongol shamans. The 21 songs were placed within a broad framework of Mongolian oral legends and heroic epics, showing that they also evoke themes recurring in different contexts. The book contains 18 photos taken by the author during field trips among the Qorčin shamans.
In: Qorčin Mongol Shamans and Their Songs
In: Qorčin Mongol Shamans and Their Songs
In: Qorčin Mongol Shamans and Their Songs
In: Qorčin Mongol Shamans and Their Songs
In: Qorčin Mongol Shamans and Their Songs