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Pentecostalism among Czech and Slovak Roma: The religiosity of Roma and the practices of inclusion of the Roma in the brotherhood in salvation. Autonomy and Conversions among Roma in Márov

Title data

Ripka, Štěpán:
Pentecostalism among Czech and Slovak Roma: The religiosity of Roma and the practices of inclusion of the Roma in the brotherhood in salvation. Autonomy and Conversions among Roma in Márov.
Prag , 2015 . - 275 p.
( Doctoral thesis, 2014 , Universität Bayreuth, Kulturwissenschaftliche Fakultät und Univerzita Karlova v Praze, Fakulta humanitních studií (FHS))

Official URL: Volltext

Project information

Project financing: Bayerisches Staatsministerium für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Kunst
One Year scholarship by the Bavarian Academic Center for Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe (BAYHOST)

Abstract in another language

The aim of the thesis is to discuss the possible uses of the concept of autonomy in the study of conversions of Roma to Charismatic/Pentecostal Christianity. Focus on empowerment and social inclusion has been prevailing in the field, and critical reflection of questions of governance and oppression is lacking. I use the thesis by Patrick Williams (1987; 1991; 1993a), according to whom the French Gypsies who converted to Pentecostalism achieved autonomy or at least a sense of autonomy, which allowed them to downplay the role of structural factors and other people behind their actions. Through a case study from ethnographic fieldwork in a Romani Charismatic congregation in Western Bohemia I extend and refine the concept. The main theoretical innovations come from the contemporary moral philosophy, especially the theory of autonomy (of the oppressed) by Christman (2014) who defines autonomy as a reflexive affirmation of an assumed practical identity, a “life worth living”. The story which missionaries in Márov, the place of my fieldwork, put forward, was that Roma converted from being pimps and drug dealers. The empirical realities and narratives about the change cast doubt on the easy account of radical change through the religion. Based on a detailed focus on conversion of one former drug addict I suggest that the converts took the practical identity of a convert while or even after leaving the business, which allowed them to remain autonomous and become seen as rational actors. In a Bible school, which was affiliated to the congregation, humbleness was promoted as a divine principle and possible road to salvation, and the converts seemed to have accepted the submission. Their model of autonomy through conversion contained the possibility of submission, while finding their own benefit in the situation – in this case learning a new speech code which they could then use elsewhere. In two chapters I also discuss questions of leadership and kinship with relation to conversions.

Further data

Item Type: Doctoral thesis
Institutions of the University: Faculties > Faculty of Cultural Studies > Chair Sociology of Culture and Religion
Faculties
Faculties > Faculty of Cultural Studies
Result of work at the UBT: Yes
DDC Subjects: 300 Social sciences > 300 Social sciences, sociology and anthropology
Date Deposited: 06 Jul 2015 05:53
Last Modified: 26 May 2017 09:19
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/15739