Accepted paper:

Affective practices of a native faith of Estonia as embodied meaning makers


Jenni Rinne (University of Helsinki)

Paper short abstract:

This paper examines how cultural meanings are being embodied through affective practices of the native faith group of Estonians.

Paper long abstract:

Native faith is a fairly new concept in the religious studies. It has been developed to distinct Eastern European neo-paganism from the other variants of the global phenomenon. Different forms of native faith in Eastern Europe began to flourish in a very specific socioeconomic situation in the times of the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Estonian variant of native faith is called Maausk (earth faith). They practice as they would describe "pre-Christian folk beliefs": customs and traditions drawn from the past. Practitioners read popular folklore studies with the addition to ethnographic studies made of Finno-Ugric folks around the current Russian territory, in order to construct their practice. In this paper I am analyzing how practicing traditions by the members of Maausk can produce meanings of a good life and give a sense of meaningful identity. Imagined past is being embodied through practice of Maausk, which in turn orients the members towards an unknown future. Analyzing the affective practices opens up a possibility to analyze the role of affects and emotions in connection to person's motivations and action in life. I understand the practices as affective (Margareth Wetherell 2012) in the way that sensing and feeling body is in the participatory role when cultural meanings are being produced. Mind and body is then not understood as separate, but in connection with each other.

panel Reli006
Making a better future with ancient pasts: heritage and utopia in neo-paganism and neo-shamanism