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Accepted paper:

The Orders of Loving: Polish Identity, Roma Identity, and the Humanitarian Impulse in The Narratives of Charismatic Christians

Authors:

Maciej Witkowski
Ewa Nowicka (Collegium Civitas)

Paper short abstract:

In the years 2016-2020 series of ethnographic studies on charismatic Christian communities were conducted. Contradictory to the predictions of macroscale theories none of the analyzed cases showed tendencies towards ethnic exclusivism coexisting with profound religiosity.

Paper long abstract:

Since 2015 the influx of successive waves of refugees to Europe has led to unprecedented debate on the relation between national identity, religious identification and universal human community in Poland (which seems homogeneous as far as religion and ethnicity are concerned). In the years 2016-2020 series of ethnographic studies (in-depth interviews and participant observations) on charismatic Christian communities were conducted. The research included Catholic Poles, Orthodox Poles and Pentecostal Roma. We noticed that the members of very different communities show similarities in their attitudes towards providing help to the foreigners. One of the objectives of our research was determination of the range and patterns of perception of various forms of interpersonal bonds (ethnic, religious, universal). Questions about the attitudes towards receiving and providing help to the foreigners coming to Poland were asked. We were particularly interested in mutual relation of ethnicity and Christian universalism. The interviews explored the potential contradictions and internal conflicts between individual, national, religious and universal aspects of identity. In the spectrum of different types of attitudes the belief that their own ethnic and territorial community should remain open to social distinction dominated. Contradictory to the predictions of macroscale theories none of the analyzed cases showed tendencies towards ethnic exclusivism coexisting with profound religiosity. The research showed that Christian universalism similarly in all the cases broadens the way to understand the ethnic community, making it more inclusive. Our analysis will point to the interpretation of the reasons for divergent results of the macroscale research and ethnographical insight.

panel P181
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