Society for the Anthropology of Religion
Volunteered - Oral Presentation Session
In Portugal there was no religious freedom under the Salazar dictatorship. This situation changed with the rights acquired after the 1974 revolution and with the entry into the European Union in the 1980s. Portugal became multi-ethnic and a multi-religious: Afro-Brazilian religions, pagan and druid associations, shamans, all try to find their position within the multiple religious scenario. Struggling to acquire full rights in a traditionally Catholic country, these new religions negotiate their identities using the notion of social memory, group identity and heritage. They invoke their material and immaterial heritage to try to acquire the status of official religions.
In a Europe governed by specific standards on patrimonialism, in which all seek the classification by UNESCO of the various performances linked to heritage, we will analyze the response of these religious minorities to the dialogue between patrimonialization and reification / secularization of society.
The research data from the EU project The heritagization of religion and the sacralization of heritage in contemporary Europe will be drawn upon, using the case study of the Sintra Park (a UNESCO heritage site near Lisbon). Reputed for its magic, the area of the Sintra mountain is used by multiple religions as the space for their offerings and rituals, causing conflicts with Catholic believers. How does the religious freedom that the constitution defends fit in with what many consider a violation of their citizenship right to walk through a natural park without being confronted with religious offerings considered by them to be inappropriate?