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Religious Studies in Latin America


22 de abril, 2018
Religious Studies in Latin America

This article critically reviews recent contributions to religious research in Latin America. Social scientists have long considered religion to be a struc- turing feature of culture and local society. Owing to the centrality of Catholi- cism in Latin America, early studies privileged the political influences of the Catholic Church with respect to the state and society at large. The “other- ness” of native folk religions received less attention, with scholars undervalu- ing the presence of indigenous and African religiosities. In Latin America, religions are currently experiencing a diversification and reconfiguration, owing in part to the growing influence of different Christian denomina- tions, particularly Evangelical and Pentecostal churches. Religious change is also occurring at the margins of institutional churches through New Age, neo-pagan, neo-Indian, neo-esoteric, and self-styled religiosities, as well as through popular religious syncretisms, indicating new experiments with what is considered sacred. This dynamism poses theoretical and conceptual chal- lenges to scholars analyzing religious diversity and the renewed role that religions play in contemporary societies with respect to secularization, syn- cretism, and hybridization as well as the emergence of alternative identities (gender, sexual, ideological and political).


Para citar este artículo: 
Religious Studies in Latin America, in Annual Review of Sociology Vol. 42: 473-492
First published online as a Review in Advance on June 1, 2016
DOI: 10.1146/annurev-soc-081715-074427

Renée de la Torre
CIESAS Occidente, Guadalajara, 44190 Jalisco, Mexico; email:

Eloisa Martín
Department of Sociology, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, RJ 20051-070, Brazil; email:



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