Conversion, Continuity and Change - Lived Christianity in Southern Goa

Conversion, Continuity and Change - Lived Christianity in Southern Goa

Product ID: 7831

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Author: Rowena Robinson
Publisher: Sage Publications
Year: 1998
Language: English
Pages: 236
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8170366836


Located at the intersection of the Sociology of popular religion and the dynamics of social transformation, this book examines the processes of conversion, continuity and change in a Goan Catholic community.

In doing so, the study analyzes the patterns of persistence and transformation that can be discerned in the socio-religious practices of present-day Catholics in relation to the wider Hindu society within which they are located and from which they emerged through conversion four centuries ago.

Rowena Robinson begins by delineating the geographical space (the physical description of the fieldwork area along with the social and cultural settings) and the academic spaces (the related historical, sociological and anthropological contexts) covered by the book. She then moves on to describing the socio-political context in which the erstwhile Portuguese rulers of Goa carried out mass conversions to Catholicism. The author examines which aspects of the socio-ritual life of the converting community were changed and which were retained, focusing on the issues of caste, kinship relations, and ideas about inheritance and gender.

Chapters 4 and 5 of the book explore ritual life at the level of the individual and the community including life-cycle rituals and the annual cylindrical rituals of the church. The last two chapters tell a tale of conflict and disharmony, of competition centered around rituals and of contests between groups for privileges and honours in the church. While noting the historical unity that binds Hindus and Catholics in Goa, the author cautions against the possible increase in communal propaganda.

Overall, this book provides a rich analysis of the interplay between Christianity and colonialism as well as the emerging disharmony of tradition in a new social context. It will be essential reading for scholars, students and researchers in the fields of social anthropology, sociology, kinship and religious studies.


List of Tables, Diagrams, Maps and Plates

Kinship Notations and symbols



Encounter and Engagement:
The Socio-Political Context of Conversion

The Present, the People, the Place

Igorjechem Fest: The Annual Ritual Cycle

Life-Cycle Rituals: Birth, Marriage and Death

Ceremony and Conflict in the Church

By Way of a Conclusion


References and Select Bibliography