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The Formation of CandombléVodun History and Ritual in Brazil$
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Luis Nicolau Pares

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781469610924

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9781469610931_Pares

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From Calundu to Candomblé

From Calundu to Candomblé

The Formative Process of Afro-Brazilian Religion

(p.67) 3 From Calundu to Candomblé
The Formation of Candomblé

Luis Nicolau Parés

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter presents Max Weber's claim that one of the principal functions of religion is to provide meaning to the existence of suffering and some means of overcoming or transcending it. Bronislaw Malinowski calls religion an aid in bearing “situations of emotional stress.” In continuing this line of interpretation, scholars of Central Africa in the 1960s and 1970s proposed the theoretical model known as the “fortune-misfortune complex,” according to which religious activity has as its objective not only “to prevent misfortune” but also “to maximize good fortune.” In conflict and in “times of difficult experience,” one craves “health, fecundity, psychic security, harmony, power, status and wealth.” The conceptual range of the “fortune-misfortune” model, which is also applicable to the study of West African religion, “popular Catholicism,” and Afro-Brazilian religions, calls into question its heuristic utility and its analytic interest if it is unable to distinguish between these different religious modalities.

Keywords:   Max Weber, religion, suffering, Bronislaw Malinowski, Central Africa, fortune-misfortune complex

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