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Title:Religion, symbol, and ethnicity of contemporary Mapuche people in Chile
Author(s):Rhee-Yang, Kyejung
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Whitten, Norman E., Jr.
Department / Program:Anthropology
Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Religion, General
Anthropology, Cultural
Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies
Abstract:This dissertation demonstrates a study of the duality of hegemony and resistance that constitutes the cultural reconstruction of ethnicity at the crossroads of Mapuche people, the largest indigenous group in Chile, and the progressive Catholic Church. It focuses upon Comunidades Cristianas de Base (the Basic Christian Communities, hereafter CCB) in Mapuche communities and their leaders, Mapuche animadores. Mapuche CCBs are sites where grassroots Mapuche Catholics try to maintain their sense of cultural integrity by using both Catholic and Mapuche cultural forms.
Mapuche animadores, who act as mediators between the Church and Mapuche people, greatly contribute to reconstructing Mapuche ethnic consciousness. In the Catholic contexts for training animadores and in structuring retiros and jornadas, Mapuche animadores learn the Catholic ways in which they can express their ethnic consciousness through religious discourses and symbols. With the opportunities to obtain symbolic vehicles by which to articulate ethnicity, they encourage Mapuche Catholics in their communities to express their ideas in CCB.
Ironically, Mapuche CCBs also constitute a field of imposition and resistance. Despite its emphasis on Mapuche rights, the Catholic Church tries to impose its own definition of Mapuche ethnicity through reinterpretations of Mapuche culture and tradition from the Church's point of view. Mapuche people resist the imposed ethnicity, and deploy their own version of ethnicity by interpreting Mapuche "tradition" and Catholicism in their own ways.
The reconstruction of Mapuche ethnicity offers a social critique of the dominant society that recognizes any indigenous culture as a symbol of "backwardness." By focusing on the processes by which Mapuche Catholics articulate ethnicity through religious symbolic vehicles, this dissertation demonstrates how Mapuche people express their critical consciousness of Mapuche reality and of the Chilean society.
Issue Date:1995
Rights Information:Copyright 1995 Rhee-Yang, Kyejung
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9543703
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9543703

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