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The Power of the Spirits: The Formation of Identity based on Puerto Rican Spiritism

Author(s): Bettina E. Schmidt

Journal: REVER - Revista de Estudos da ReligiĆ£o
ISSN 1677-1222

Issue: 2;
Start page: 127;
Date: 2006;
Original page

Based on the writings by the French Allan Kardec, Spiritism spread to Puerto Rico in the middle of the nineteenth century when it became a framework for other traditions. Espiritismo popular (popular Puerto Rican Spiritism) integrates Catholicism, African religious elements, and aspects of Spanish popular religion.After explaining the history and belief system of Puerto Rican Spiritism, the article discusses the creation of ethnic identity based on Spiritism. Following the lead of Fredrik Barth the author argues that ethnicity should not e regarded as an essentialist concept but that we should look on the way it is created. Hence, ethnic groups originate in a complex process, from the relationship between the integration of individuals and the separation toward other groups. The article demonstrates how Puerto Rican Spiritism supported and supports the creation of a common identity.
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