Access

You are not currently logged in.

Login through your institution for access.

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

Popular Voices in Latin American Catholicism

Popular Voices in Latin American Catholicism

Daniel H. Levine
Copyright Date: 1992
Pages: 436
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt7zvq92
Find more content in these subjects:
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Popular Voices in Latin American Catholicism
    Book Description:

    Throughout Latin America, observers and activists have found in religion a promise of deep and long-lasting democratization. But for religion to change culture and politics, religion itself must change. Such change is not only a matter of doctrine, ritual, or institutional arrangements but also arises out of the needs, values, and ideas of average believers. Combining rich interviews and community studies in Venezuela and Colombia with analysis of broad ideological and institutional transformations, Daniel Levine examines how religious and cultural change begins and what gives it substance and lasting impact. The author focuses on the creation of self-confident popular groups among hitherto isolated and dispirited individuals. Once silent voices come to light as peasants and urban barrio dwellers reflect on their upbringing and community, on poverty and opportunity, on faith, prayer, and the Bible, and on institutions like state, school, and church. Levine also interviews priests, sisters, and pastoral agents and explains how their efforts shape the links between popular groups and the larger society. The result is a clear understanding of how relations among social and cultural levels are maintained and transformed, how programs are implemented, why they succeed or fail, and how change appears both to elites and to ordinary people.

    Originally published in 1992.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-6261-0
    Subjects: Anthropology
    × Close Overlay

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations
  1. Front Matter (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents (pp. ix-xii)
  3. List of Figures (pp. xiii-xiv)
  4. List of Tables (pp. xv-xvi)
  5. FOREWORD (pp. xvii-xviii)
    John F. Wilson, Robert T. Handy, Stanley N. Katz and Albert J. Raboteau

    Popular Voices in Latin American Catholicismis the fifth volume in the series “Studies in Church and State,” which is published by the Princeton University Press. This series is sponsored by the Project on Church and State at Princeton University, an undertaking originally funded by the Lilly Endowment. The Project has been guided by two objectives. One has been to sponsor scholarly publications on the interaction of religion and its political environment, primarily but not exclusively in the context of the history of the United States. The other has been to draw on disciplines in addition to those routinely concerned...

  6. PREFACE AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS (pp. xix-xxii)
  7. NOTE ON THE INTERVIEWS (pp. xxiii-xxiv)
  8. PART I: ISSUES AND CONTEXTS
    • ONE POPULAR VOICES (pp. 3-30)

      Daniel virguez, a Colombian peasant, has sought out adult education, ventured far beyond the confines of his village, and become a respected and effective leader in his church and society. Pastora Chirinos, a woman from the slums of urban Venezuela, became literate and active, forming groups of friends and neighbors who meet to talk about their faith, read the Bible, and work together on community needs for housing and health, education, water, and bus service, Huberto Vanegas grew up illiterate and alone. To survive, he shined shoes in the street, sold beer in a whorehouse, and worked as a migrant...

    • TWO LIBERATION THEOLOGY, BASE COMMUNITIES, AND THE PATTERN OF CHANGE IN LATIN AMERICA (pp. 31-53)

      In a small rural community in Colombia, I once interviewed a priest who managed in very few words to sum up much of the reason for the intense interest and conflict that surround Latin American Catholicism today. As we talked about the role that the church could and should assume in social and political life, he said firmly that “I believe that Jesus Christ did not come to found a new religion, but rather to bring an integral liberation which reaches into all aspects of life” (C 40). Both the man himself and his words are of interest here.

      For...

    • THREE COLOMBIA AND VENEZUELA: NATIONS, CHURCHES, AND PROGRAMS (pp. 54-93)

      The central theoretical and empirical goal of this book is to understand and explain changes in the culture, associational life, and religious expression of popular groups, and to explore what politics means to their daily lives. Most of the description and analysis presented in these pages centers therefore on communities, organizations, and individuals. As we have seen, however, complete understanding requires us to look beyond the popular level. Transformations in popular groups cannot be addressed in a void but must instead be studied in terms of their characteristic relation with institutions, manifest, for example, in the place these big structures...

    • FOUR COLOMBIA AND VENEZUELA: DIOCESES, VILLAGES, AND BARRIOS (pp. 94-130)

      The development of popular groups in the dioceses of Facatativá and Cali in Colombia and of Barquisimeto in Venezuela offers a sample of the styles and approaches to popular work, and of the programs now at issue in these nations as well as in the region as a whole. As a group, these experiences fall somewhere between the highly politicized and conflictridden extremes of Nicaragua or El Salvador or the popular church of Brazil, and the stolid conservative passivity or even active reactionary stance of cases like Argentina. That outcomes should fall in this middle range should come as no...

  9. PART II: ACTORS AND EXPERIENCES
    • FIVE BEING RELIGIOUS, READING THE BIBLE, BECOMING CHURCH (pp. 133-180)

      If religion is to have a role in the transformation of popular culture, religion itself has to change. Religious ideas and structures must evolve in new directions, and the way religion is experienced and understood within popular culture must also be transformed. Religious elites or pastoral agents cannot simply mandate a new agenda or direct popular groups to take on new values, roles, or commitments. To be enduring, change has to be incorporated into the common sense of everyday life, reinforced by daily routine, and worked into the expectations that ordinary people bring to bear on decisions about legitimate priorities,...

    • SIX POPULAR NEEDS AND POPULAR IDEALS (pp. 181-212)

      The preceding chapter explored the origins and dynamics of change in religion, and pointed to possibilities and limitations for cultural and social change beginning in religion. Here I take up the other side of the coin, looking closely at the kinds of people making the changes and fitting them into their daily lives. As we listen to these men and women describe and comment on their experiences, needs, and evolving ideals, two themes will emerge and move to center stage. The first concerns the impact of poverty on personal and collective life. The second directs attention to popular notions of...

    • SEVEN PRIESTS, SISTERS, AND PASTORAL AGENTS (pp. 213-271)

      In previous chapters, priests, sisters, and pastoral agents appear only in scattered snapshots; as categories in statistical tables (“resources” of the institutional church), givers of advice, shapers of agendas, and choosers of leaders. They have been depicted as occupants of defined roles who mediate the relations between institutions and popular groups, turn plans into action, and give general notions about “linkage” a firm grounding in everyday routine. Although these mediating roles are important, their impact cannot be satisfactorily understood in abstract terms. Because the ties that bind institutions and groups are also personal relations, it is important to take a...

    • EIGHT SELECTED LIFE HISTORIES (pp. 272-314)

      This chapter presents five ordinary lives, told insofar as possible in the voices of the men and women who have lived them. They discuss their youth and upbringing, describe education, work, and family, and speak at length about what faith, church, and community have meant to them, and how these have changed in the course of their lives. The life histories in this chapter are best understood as both individual and social documents. They represent the efforts of thoughtful men and women to make sense of their own experiences, and to give them meaning in a larger social and philosophical...

  10. PART III: THEORETICAL AND COMPARATIVE REFLECTIONS
    • NINE LINKING EVERYDAY LIFE WITH BIG STRUCTURES (pp. 317-352)

      In this chapter, I will draw the threads of evidence and argument together around themes of linkage. As we reflect on the emergence of popular voices in Latin American Catholicism, and on the possibilities they hold for cultural and political transformation on a large scale, continuing links between popular groups and big structures assume particular importance. Popular culture grows not in isolation but linked to the explicit programs and messages of institutions, and also to the tacit models they leave embedded in social relations and public images of power and authority. The very notion of “popular” rests on relations between...

    • TEN THE FUTURE OF POPULAR VOICES (pp. 353-374)

      This book has taken a close look, from several different angles of view, at how popular voices emerge and what they have to say. I have stressed how changes in popular culture emerge and are linked to associational life and to institutions. I have also considered the implications of all this for politics defined not only with respect to states and regimes, but also to politics as defined in terms of the dimensions of conflict, power, and authority that run through all spheres of life. Religion has been central to our story because in Latin America, as elsewhere in contemporary...

  11. BIBLIOGRAPHY (pp. 375-396)
  12. INDEX (pp. 397-403)