Contemporary religion in Latin America

morello.book.jacketBoston College Associate Professor of Sociology Gustavo Morello, S,J., has spent the past six years trying to understand what the practice of religion looks like in Latin American today. His new book, Lived Religion in Latin America: An Enchanted Modernity (Oxford University Press, 2021), looks closely at three Latin American cities: Lima, Perú; Montevideo, Uruguay; and his native Córdoba, Argentina. With funding from the John Templeton Foundation, Fr. Morello and colleagues conducted 254 individual interviews with ordinary Latin Americans from all walks of life to reveal that modernity has not diminished religion, but transformed it, creating what Fr. Morello calls an “enchanted modernity.” Fr. Morello, who developed the book from the series of D’Arcy Lectures he delivered at Oxford University in 2019, explores how urban, contemporary Latin Americans, both believers and non-believers, from different social classes and religious affiliations, experience transcendence in everyday life. Those experiences take place in a diverse range of sacred spaces, as well as in the mountains, online, or in the form of body art. “I hope the book contributes to a critical theory of contemporary religion—one that is not centered on the West or the North, but that looks at Latin America and the Global South,” Fr. Morello said. “Religion is here, but the way it is practiced changes with us. I’ve tried to look at it in a different way.”

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