The heritagization of religious and spiritual practices: the effects of grassroots and top-down policies (SIEF Ethnology of Religion Working Group) 
Anna Niedźwiedź (Jagiellonian University)
Clara Saraiva (FLUL, University of Lisbon)
Start time:
22 June, 2015 at 10:30 (UTC+0)
Session slots:

Short Abstract:

Numerous analyses of heritagization processes in various cultural contexts reveal their twofold dynamics between grassroots activities and implemented policies. We propose to problematize how these processes work within the religious and spiritual domains of contemporary and historical societies.

Long Abstract

An idea of the 'past' seems to be endlessly popular and valued in various religious contexts. Institutionalized and well-established religious systems eagerly call upon the concepts of the 'past' and 'heritage' to justify their contemporary practices and ideologies. Also numerous emergent religious and spiritual movements within much more ephemeral and less institutionalized spheres inscribe themselves into heritagization processes.

This panel aims to enhance understanding of how 'heritage' as process works in the religious-spiritual domains of contemporary as well as historical societies. We are interested in how heritage is invented, adopted and adapted within specific cultural, social and historical frames, and how it is embraced by or attached to religious-spiritual practices. Is heritagization instigated by grassroots, spontaneous activities, or top-down policies operating on regional, national, trans-national or global levels, or a combination of both?Are there any conflicting visions of 'heritage(s)' between these two - bottom-up and top-down - perspectives? How does religious-spiritual heritagization situate itself in relation to dominant political circumstances, economic conditions and the spread of new media? Is heritagization perceived as a positive value or as an obstacle from an emic viewpoint of religious-spiritual movements and their participants? Does heritage relate to ossified behaviors and practices or can it perhaps engender innovation in religious-spiritual life?

We welcome discussion of these and other questions relating to heritagization of religious and spiritual practices during this panel. Papers which combine ethnographic case studies with theoretical approaches are especially encouraged.

Accepted papers: