Accepted paper:

Constructing a new temple in Portugal: invisible aspects of a Hindu community


Inês Lourenço (CRIA, ISCTE-IUL)

Paper short abstract:

This paper will focus on the repair practices developed by a Portuguese Hindu community to overcome their own group identity crisis, closely linked to marginality and to the financial crisis of the surrounding society.

Paper long abstract:

Invisibility is one of the characteristics of the Indian origin community in Portugal. For Hindus, recent years have seen an increase of this visibility, resulting from complex refurbishment processes that these groups have developed to cope with the financial, cultural and identity crisis of the last decade. Used to build multiple belongings, younger generations were progressively moving away from the older one, creating a generational gap that threatened the continuity of the group. This phenomenon will be discussed based on the ethnographic reality of a Hindu community of the Great Lisbon area, connected to the expansion the Shiva Temple of Santo Antonio dos Cavaleiros (Loures). This analysis intends to examine the repair practices that allowed the reconciliation of generations and, consequently, contributed to the consolidation of the community ties, previously in crisis. The confidence in the public space is represented by the efforts to build a temple that will replace the existing temporary building, in a time of social transformations that deepen affected many members of this community and spurred many of them to re-migration processes. Finally, the relationship of this community's members with things will also be discussed, either the new temple or the small personal items, in order to understand the symbolic weight of things that act as portable heritage, in the identity construction processes of this group, as well as in the interaction with the surrounding society.

panel Mat02
Repairing the periphery