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Developing the DeadMediumship and Selfhood in Cuban Espiritismo$
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Diana Espirito Santo

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780813060781

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813060781.001.0001

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Spirits at the Crossroads of Belief and Pragmatism

Spirits at the Crossroads of Belief and Pragmatism

(p.1) 1 Spirits at the Crossroads of Belief and Pragmatism
Developing the Dead

Diana Espírito Santo

University Press of Florida

The introductory chapter aims to provide the reader with a feel for the ethnographic context; first, in terms of the existing religious and political ecology and the history of the relationship between the two, and second, in terms of how Afro-Cuban religious and spiritist phenomena has been approached by researchers in the past. It sets out the main anthropological stakes at hand in the rest of the book, namely, the questions that the author will be asking and how they differ from and augment existing scholarship, as well as some of the research methods used and difficulties faced. A case is made for an understanding of the role of Cuban espiritismo–and the dead–in the contemporary Afro-Cuban religious matrix as a fundamental one of providing a model of self, out of which variegated spiritual destinies emerge. Furthermore, the “self” as an object is proble matized.

Keywords:   Religious landscape, Revolution, Special Period hardships, Cuban anthropology

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