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Accepted Paper:

Reinvention of monastic life in the Czech Republic: The agency of material archives of monastic buildings  
Barbora Spalová (Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University in Prague) Tereza Sedláčková (Charles University)

Paper short abstract:

The monastic communities in Czech Republic restore and reinvent their life after the period of illegality during the communist regime. In this contribution we argue that materiality is not just object, but tends to shape renewal of monasticism as well as its position in the postcommunist society.

Paper long abstract:

Nowadays, we are witnessing the conversions of monastic places as reaction to the change of the political regime (from the communist to the capitalist one) in the Czech Republic.

The communist regime put all the men consecrated life to the illegality and caused the discontinuity in the lives of the monastic communities and in the use of monastic buildings. Currently, the communities try to find their reinterpretation of the monastic tradition and of the tradition of the place in order to give the meaning to their presence in the locality. During last four years we work on the social anthropological research of moral economy (Fassin 2009) of monasteries of Benedictine tradition in the Czech Republic. We have seen that these buildings, the materiality of monastic tradition, represent the huge archive (Assmann 2010) of the different, sometimes contradictory memories of the place (including the antireligious memory inscribed during the communist era) and the communities have to choose some elements of the archive in order to converse the place according to the current canon they decided to live. We will analyse the dialogue of materiality with the immaterial tradition during the creation of the new canons and so the conversion of the places as well as the legibility of the canons. We argue that converting of monastic spaces represents process that is inherent in these spaces and that materiality of monastic buildings is an active agent shaping the restoration of monastic life and giving face to it for the society.

Panel P148
Converting spaces and religious transformation: exploring the potential of human and material interactions
  Session 1 Friday 17 August, 2018, -