Social Science


Las Devociones Sincréticas en América Del Sur: la Fiesta de San Benito en Venezuela Como Expresión de Contrapoder

Authors: Vanessa A. Casanova

The oil city of Cabimas, in western Venezuela, is the heterogeneous and complex space where various groups worship San Benito de Palermo, one of the most widespread, plural and multiethnic Catholic expressions of the region. The devotion to this deity, as a mestizo expression of local identities, gets away from the conceptions and rites of the Church, for whom the relationship with the saint should be limited to the spaces and times that it has defined, particularly during the cycle of fiesta. Cabimas is a place of concurrence and tension between believers and institutions, which are united by a common element: the saint, but which sometimes also get into conflict. How can this worship lead to this ambivalence? How can it represent, at the same time, an expression of power and counterpower? In this work we propose to discuss the relationship between the sacred, collective identities and power in the cult of Saint Benedict, with the help of the ethnographic method and the interpretative analysis of significances of the anthropology of religion. In their relationship with the saint, people, the Church, leaders and public forces altogether overwhelm the system of doctrines and rituals, to participate in a phenomenon that no longer seems "religious" nor "political" or "family", but becomes instead –using Maussian terms– a total social fact.

Comments: 42 Pages.

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Submission history

[v1] 2016-04-05 20:37:28

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