Special Issue of LARR Focuses on Lived Religion and Lived Citizenship

March 2, 2015

In February 2015 the Latin American Research Review (LARR) released a special issue, "Lived Religion and Lived Citizenship in Latin America's Zones of Crisis," overseen by guest editors Jeffrey W. Rubin, David Smilde, and Benjamin Jung. The publication has been six years in the making and contains contributions from 15 different scholars, including Dr. Rich Wood, a UNM Associate Professor of Sociology and faculty affiliate of the LAII. Wood offers Concluding Comments on "Advancing the Grounded Study of Religion and Society in Latin America."

In the foreword, Kristin Norget and Catherine C. LeGrand of McGill University commend the issue for its "attempt to take religion seriously not as an incidental, peripheral element but as a determinative, significant force in analyses of social and political change" and for its attention to addressing "multiple facets of social change and religion in the Americas in an interdisciplinary framework." Norget and LeGrand further note that the issue has relevance above and beyond its attention to religion, as it "demonstrates the great promise of interdisciplinary work on themes that have not often been thought of in relation one another.The framework of citizenship is just one way in which different theoretical perspectives and the disciplines of history, anthropology, sociology, and political science can be fruitfully brought together. We hope that in the future LARR will attract more such important interdisciplinary initiatives from across the Americas to illuminate critical social, cultural, and political interactions and transformations."

The interdisciplinary selection of articles is grouped into three themes: "Social Movements and Participatory Democracy," "Activists Speak About Religion," and "Zones of Crisis." The accompanying articles address topics such as "Acción Cultural Popular, Responsible Procreation, and the Roots of Social Activism in Rural Colombia," "Activistas hablan de religión y movimientos sociales, Lima 2010," and "Santa Muerte, Protection, and Desamparo: A View from a Mexico City Altar," among others.

As the author of the Concluding Comments, Wood summarizes the collection by noting that "Latin American society is in a state of flux today, with alternative economic and political models vying to be identified as the best way forward for whole societies but also being advanced by particular sectors pursuing their own narrow interests. Although scholars are often accustomed to think of these economic and political dynamics as occurring separately from culture, this special issue shows that cultural dynamics strongly impact politics, with an eye to the oft-overlooked role of religion in sociopolitical movements targeting political and economic policy, and in sociocultural movements that reshape identities."

The full issue is available to UNM campus users through Project Muse: Lived Religion and Lived Citizenship in Latin America's Zones of Crisis.