Textures of the Sacred, or How Popular Religion Could Renew Religious Studies

Monday, 16 July 2018: 11:00
Oral Presentation
Eloisa MARTIN, Univ Federal Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
Hundreds of ethnographies, over at least 30 years, have already established that everyday practices deal with the sacred beyond the borders that divide spheres of activity, and that the sacred is lived and recognized in spaces that combine and go beyond religion, including also politics, popular culture, ethnicity, etc. Departing from these previous efforts, this paper will present the idea of the sacred as a differential texture in the lived-in world, but not as something distant or “radically other”, as in Durkheimian definitions: the sacred will be analysed as a category which goes beyond the frontiers of the religious sphere to establish markers in the secular world, without necessarily implying a transcendent message or a moral sanction. These textures are created and recognized by practitioners, while combining elements that are not strictly religious to live and ‘make sacred’. In this sense, the sacred is not conceived as prior to reasoning or logic since it cannot exist without human agency. By crossing the profane/religious frontier and opening “religion” as the main object of research, this paper propose that the concept of textures of the sacred may open new paths for analysis and a theoretical contribution to renew the sociology of (popular) religion.