On Looking and Learning: how children develop their skills in Orisha religion
Dário Ribeiro de Sales Júnior
(Federal University of Bahia)
Paper short abstract:
The main goal of this paper is to reflect on how kids who follows the Candomblé, an Afro-Brazilian religion, develop the skills that are required by their position in the sacerdotal hierarchy of that religion.
Paper long abstract:
The main goal of this paper is to reflect on how children who follows the Candomblé, an Afro-Brazilian religion, learn and develop the skills that are required by their positions in the sacerdotal hierarchy of that religion. Based on analysis of the relations that the children establish with others more skilled Candomblé practitioners and the environment they dwell in, I sought to understand what the children mean when they say that they learn by observing other people's actions. I claim that for them to look at someone is a synonym for taking part in an activity, it means to follow other (human and non-human) beings' paths and, therefore, cannot be defined as a simple passive attitude. I point out that the children's games which involve some religious aspect are fundamental to the development of a habitus. I conclude that the children learn through their daily engagement in the terreiros' dynamic and what they learn are embodied dispositions to act and not representations about the world. This kind of learning is grounded on a sense of familiarity which precedes the formal process of initiation in the religion. Moreover, I show how this learning - which is not exclusively religious - can also be present in the kids' everyday lives through episodes which involve healing and the reconfiguration of social relations. Finally, I intend to demonstrate how the religious engagement and its consequent objectivizing of the subject implies learning how to struggle against religious intolerance in the childhood.
Learning, Education and Knowledge Transmission in Cultural and Intercultural contexts