Accepted paper:

Resistance, unbelief and magical thinking amongst Christian-Orthodox youth in Cyprus

Authors:

Theodoros Kyriakides (University of Cyprus)

Paper short abstract:

This paper maps and explores processes of resistance, unbelief and magical thinking amongst male Christian-Orthodox youth in Cyprus.

Paper long abstract:

Ever since Cyprus became a republic in 1960, the Cypriot-Orthodox Church has maintained an active role in the political life of the island. In the last few years, the current Archbishop’s often-controversial decisions have, over time, provoked a general stance of resistance and discontent amongst members of the Christian-Orthodox population, and especially the youth. Through life narratives and interviews of my (mostly) male informants, and ethnographic observation of the manner by which religion and politics become entangled in Cyprus, I attempt to explore the formation of emerging male subjectivities taking place at the intersection of religious resistance, unbelief and magical thinking. By putting emerging literature on religious unbelief and atheism in conversation with anthropological literature on magic, I explore how my informants’ denunciation of religious authority in Cyprus leads to the emergence of what, in the context of this paper, I call a meta-pragmatic subject: in other words, a subject which does not simply adhere or resist religious knowledge and beliefs, but is rather in an active process of surveying and evaluating processes of religiosity in order to formulate its own worldviews. As I suggest, resistance and unbelief do not lead to disenchantment and rationalisation. Rather, such active pursuit of self-reflection results to personal perspectives and philosophies which contain elements which can be understood as magical.

panel P101
Travelling religion, religious travel. Gender challenges in theory and ethnography [Anthropology of Gender and Sexuality Network]