“Return” or Continuation: The Post-Socialist Religiosity through the Eyes of the Religious Actors Cover Image
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„Завръщане” или продължение? Постсоциалистическата религиозност през погледа на нейните актьори
“Return” or Continuation: The Post-Socialist Religiosity through the Eyes of the Religious Actors

Author(s): Galina Valchinova
Subject(s): History
Published by: Институт за балканистика с Център по тракология - Българска академия на науките

Summary/Abstract: The paper offers a critical reading of the widespread thesis of the ‘return to religion’ after a ‘religious vacuum during communism’. Adopting the perspective of the religious actors – here taken in the broadest sense of the term, the author questions the logic of post-socialist religiosity by recourse to sociological and anthropological categories of agency, social capital, and religious specialists. After a theoretical introduction, two case studies from Bulgaria help developing the ideas of religious activism, religious entrepreneurship and (self-)legitimizing strategies. Special attention is paid to dreaming as a mechanism of fostering religious initiative and in the same time, of veiling individual agency. Examples from Herzegovina, Romania, and the FYR of Macedonia are further convoked to outline a few tendencies in the religious life of the Balkan post-socialist societies. These are: medicalization of religiosity and the interplay of religious and medical legitimization; the interdependence of religious revival and the search for new arenas of accumulating and/or exhibiting social capital; the mutual accommodation of religious virtuosi and Church hierarchies. All of them are indicative of in-depth evolutions of ‘religion’ under communism, which cannot be subsumed under the ‘religious vacuum’, and which help understanding the shifts and specific expressions of religiosity in Balkan post-socialist societies.

  • Issue Year: 1/2012
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 62-74
  • Page Count: 13
  • Language: Bulgarian