Ritual Revitalisation after Socialism

László Fosztó

Berlin: LIT-Verlag

Year of publication



Although postsocialist Romania ranks as one of the most religious countries in Europe, the role of religion in public life is relatively little understood. In this book László Fosztó investigates a village in Transylvania populated by members of two minority groups, Hungarians and Roma. Religion and ritual provide important resources for individuals and communities seeking to assert themselves publicly. The need for public affirmation among minorities is acute, but the forms of ritual they adopt differ. Some groups are more receptive to the revival of communal rituals and ‘traditions’, whereas for others revitalisation seems to be more effective when it is individually focused through conversion to Pentecostalism. Fosztó demonstrates that, even within a small community, different segments may opt for divergent forms of religious and cultural revival. Whereas Calvinism relies on the affirmation of cultural values to mobilise the faithful, Pentecostalism advocates a new form of moral personhood which is particularly attractive to Roma.

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