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Accepted Paper:

Interreligious pilgrimage sites, the veneration of saints, and random fractal dynamics of inter-ritual relations in Hatay, Turkey  
Jens Kreinath (Wichita State University)

Paper short abstract:

This contribution accounts for the dynamics of saint veneration at pilgrimage sites shared among Orthodox Christians, Alawites, and Sunni Muslims in Hatay. The objective is to propose random fractal dynamics as a model for analyzing the unity and diversity of in the practice of saint veneration.

Paper long abstract:

Visit at shared pilgrimage sites is a phenomenon that still exists in rural areas of Hatay, Turkey. The aim of this contribution is to account for the local and global dynamics of the veneration of saints at these sites and to propose a theoretical model that can explain this dynamics. Focusing on Orthodox Christians, Alawites, and Sunni Muslims in the Southern-most part of Turkey, attention will be given on how interreligious relations are shaped by rituals of saint veneration. To map inter-rituality as related to shared pilgrimage sites, the aim is to analyze the ethnographic material within a theoretical framework of cybernetics that would allow more specifically to explore the fractal dynamics of interreligious encounters. It will be shown that, depending on the context and situation, devotees adjust and legitimize their ritual acts. The objective is to provide evidence for the multiple agendas involved in the visits to shared pilgrimage sites and the ways in which the actual worship is negotiated. This diversification of religious practice through random fractal dynamics will allow to question unified notions of religion and possibly to deconstruct the very notion of religion as being based on specific theologies and doctrines. This paper shows what happens at the margins of tradition in lived religions inquiring into how devotees develop their own theologies of individual religiosity in justifying their actual practice of saint veneration.

Panel P130
Unity in diversity? Anthropological reflections on interreligious devotion and dialogue in Europe [Anthropology of Religion Network]
  Session 1