chapter  6
32 Pages

Voices In and About Popular Religion: The Competing Constructions of Participants and “Authorities”

I n Mexican ethnography, popular religion is an analytic term that refers to the religion of the urban lower classes, peasants, the indigenous population, workers, and fishermen. Def­ initions of popular religion “ as the religious and ritual activities consciously practiced outside of or in opposition to dominant institutionalized religion” (Stephen and Dow 1990: 8) or as a cap­ italist form of cultural production whose objective is to reproduce inequality and conflict (Garcia Canclini 1993: 1 -2 ) are unable to explain internal variation of “ sacred” knowledge, practical mastery, or motivations for participants, “authorities,” and on-lookers. If popular religion is seen as resistance to the official, then that distinction may be imposed upon and not reflected in the nature of popular religion (Norget 1994 : 7 -8 ).