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date: 15 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter conceptualizes the basic elements of the Latin American religious experience. It argues that the most important religious expressions are “para-ecclesiastical agents,” sociological figures who administer religious life and the contents of belief, which result from a confrontation between distinctive cosmovisions and must be discussed in terms of—among other concepts—syncretism, mestizaje, and hybridization; the fiesta, seen as a space for creativity and, at the same time, as a logic of religious practice that reproduces rituals; and, finally, practitioners’ relationship to religious images and related elements that represent the sacred.

Keywords: para-ecclesiastical agents, popular religion, syncretism, religious practices, religious beliefs, Latin America

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