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Horizontes Antropológicos

Print version ISSN 0104-7183


LEWGOY, Bernardo. An ethnography of reading in a spiritist study group.Translated byDavid Allan Rodgers. Horiz.antropol. [online]. 2006, vol.1Selected edition, pp. 0-0. ISSN 0104-7183.

As a religion, Kardecism confers fundamental importance to the study of its own body of literature, understood as the complement to religious revelation. Based upon ethnographic research in a traditional middle-class Kardecist centre in Porto Alegre, this article examines some ways through which the Kardecists, structured in small groups, interact with this written tradition. The group is fundamental in forming a spiritist identity for two reasons: firstly, it delimits internal alliances, whether or not these are translated into differences in doctrinal views. Secondly, it is one of the spaces in which the spiritist orator is formed by learning to make use of formulas extracted from a specific repertoire. Inspired by the discussions on orality and literacy and by the recent proposal for an ethnography of reading (Boyarin 1993), I aim to show that, if the spiritist speech is constructed as orality supported by texts, there are also very important informal dimensions to be considered which contextualize and actualize these group’s relation with sacred texts.

Keywords : ethnography of reading; literacy; oral communication; spiritism.

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