Steinert, Isidora Urrutia and Eduardo Valenzuela Carvallo. 2019. “Religiosity at the Roadside: Memorials, Animitas, and Shrines on a Chilean Highway.” Journal of Contemporary Religion 34(3): 447-468.
Abstract: Roadside memorials devoted to vehicle-related deaths are increasingly common across the globe. Scholars have generally emphasised their commemorative status—as sites where a private memory is publicly displayed—underestimating, however, their religious dimension. This article is based on research which involved the content analysis of photographs taken during multiple visits to the 94 roadside memorials existing in 2015 on Route 78, a major Chilean highway connecting Santiago (Chile’s capital city) and San Antonio (one of the country’s main sea ports). We argue that Chilean roadside memorials are not solely commemorative sites but primarily animitas that have a core (popular) religious component: they are privileged locations where salvific grace is dispensed, acting as mediators between the living and the divinity and connecting the sacred and profane worlds. Furthermore, we suggest that the tragic nature of the deaths they commemorate confers on them a miraculous efficacy which may transform the sites into shrines and the victims into folk saints.
Bacigalupo, Ana, 2014. The potency of indigenous ‘bibles’ and biographies: Mapuche shamanic literacy and historical consciousness. American Ethnologist. 41(4):648–663.
Abstract: Mapuche oral shamanic biographies and performances—some of which take the form of “bibles” and involve shamanic literacies—play a central role in the production of indigenous history in southern Chile. In this article, I explain how and why a mixed-race Mapuche shaman charged me with writing about her life and practice in the form of such a “bible.” This book would become a ritual object and a means of storing her shamanic power by textualizing it, thereby allowing her to speak to a future audience. The realities and powers her “bible” stored could be extracted, transformed, circulated, and actualized for a variety of ends, even to bring about shamanic rebirth. Ultimately, I argue, through their use and interpretation of this kind of “bible,” Mapuche shamans expand academic notions of indigenous history and literacy.
Lindhardt, Martin. 2012. Pentecostalism and politics in neoliberal Chile. Ibero Americana (Stockholm) 42(1-2): 59-84.
Abstract: This article explores historical and contemporary relationships between Pentecostalism and politics in Chile. The first part of the article provides an historical account of the growth and consolidation of Pentecostal religion within changing political environments and sheds light on Pentecostal stances to and involvements with the political sphere. In particular, it focuses on how a culture of political disenchantment has emerged in post- dictatorial neo-liberal Chile, creating a symbolic void that can be filled by religious movements. The second part of the article discusses possible affinities between Pentecostalism as a religious culture and democratic principles and values. It argues that although Pentecostalism may contain certain democratic qualities, there is also a striking compatibility between, on the one hand, Pentecostal theistic understandings of politics and social change, and, on the other, a neo-liberal social order, where political apathy is widespread and where a privatised rather than a communal and associative sense of progress predominates
Lindhardt, Martin. 2012. ‘We, the Youth, Need to Be Effusive’: Pentecostal Youth Culture in Contemporary Chile. Bulletin of Latin American Research 31(4): 485-498.
Abstract: This paper explores the recasting of Pentecostalism as a youth religion in contemporary Chile. I focus in particular on how young native Pentecostals, whose life experiences and social status differ from those of ex-Catholic converts, address the dilemma of being exposed to the religious culture of their parents, and their congregation, and to the secular youth culture beyond the religious community. I argue that, although faced with many challenges, young Pentecostals are able to define vital roles and positions for themselves within their church and in wider society, as they engage in a creative bricolage, embracing certain aspects of globalised youth ideologies as fundamental features of their Pentecostal self-identities.
Fediakova, Evguenia. 2012. Evangelicals in Democratic Chile, 1990-2008: from ‘resistance identity’ to ‘project identity.’ Religion, State, and Society 40(1): 24-48.
Abstract: Since the reestablishment of democracy in Chile, Evangelicals have been becoming more prominent in society. Their communities foster civic skills among their members, and this fact, taken together with the gradual raising of their economic and educational level, could transform the Evangelicals into a ‘cultural citizenship’. Nevertheless, my study project shows that in spite of the extensive community work that Evangelical churches are developing, and their respect for democracy, they continue to be depoliticised and distanced from the main national problems. The Evangelical community is concerned about its rights, but it tends to act in defence of its corporate interests rather than in the national perspective, which decreases its involvement in the developing democracy.
Guerrero, Bernardo. 2012. The Street is Free: Identity and Politics among Evangelicals in Chile. Religion, State, and Society 40(1):11-23.
Abstract: Chilean Evangelicals, like their peers elsewhere in Latin America, have striven for over a century to be recognised by state and society. They have achieved a number of advances, but feel that this is not yet enough. This article examines the practice most used by Evangelicals to affirm their identity: street preaching. In the drama of street preaching they mobilise and express their identity, including their political identity. Their preaching involves traditional themes of Pentecostal discourse: the saved versus the lost, and the offer of a better life that can be obtained by joining the ranks of this religious movement.
Bacchiddu, Giovanna (2011) “Holding the Saint in One’s Arms: Miracles and Exchange in Apiao, Southern Chile.” In Dedele and Blanes, eds, Encounters of Body and Soul in Contemporary Religious Practices. Oxford, Berghahn Books.
Excerpt: An approach to the body divorced from the spheres of both the social and the spiritual is unthinkable in Apiao, Chiloé, like in the rest of native lowland South America. This essay endeavours to illustrate how the body, the spiritual and the social interact and mutually build each other in the devotion to a local Catholic saint. A little statue of a miraculous saint is the interlocutor in an articulate dialectical exchange; an individual with whom people engage and build meaningful social relationships.