Empirical Religion vs. Secularisation in Postcommunist Romania
Abstract: Looking at religious life in postcommunist Romania from an anthropological point of view, I try to understand the intercultural influences that can explain its present configuration. I take as first point of reference the period before 1948, when Christianity and “Orthodox spirituality” were current topics in intellectual debates; then I sum up the effects of the communist administration upon religious institutions and congregations; and finally, I explore the status of religion in society and private life after 1989, especially in rural environments. Along the way, I am also interested in defining operational concepts – like “folk religion/ religiosity”, “peasant religion/ religiosity”, “empirical religion/ religiosity” or “popular religion/ religiosity” – that could describe the confusing mixture of folk magical thought, Christian tradition and popular secular stereotypes which shapes the Romanian informal religious culture at the beginning of the third millennium.
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