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A Goddess in Motion

Visual Creativity in the Cult of Maria Lionza

Roger Canals

242 pages, 20 illus., 2 tables, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-612-6 $120.00/£85.00 Hb Not Yet Published (August 2017)

eISBN 978-1-78533-613-3 eBook Not Yet Published

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“This book is an important contribution to the Maria Lionza cult… [because] very few books on this topic have been published, and they are mainly in Spanish…Roger Canals is…the only one who worked on this cult first in Venezuela, then outside, at the transnational level, in Puerto Rico and Barcelona… his work on this cult gets a special value due to his analysis of the communication and ritual practices through the Internet and social networks (like Facebook). In particular it shows the impact of the use of the new technologies for the globalization of beliefs.” · Catherine Alès, L'École des hautes études en sciences socials (EHESS)

“This is an excellent study. It has the quality of a good ethnography of the Maria Lionza cult, analyzing the cultural particularity of this worship, and also contains good theoretical reflections on the role of visual images in religious cults.” · Joan Bestard, University of Barcelona

The current practice of the cult of María Lionza is one of the most important and yet unexplored religious practices in Venezuela. Based on long-term fieldwork, this book explores the role of images and visual culture within the cult. By adopting a relational approach, A Goddess in Motion shows how the innumerable images of this goddess —represented as an Indian, white or mixed-race woman— move constantly from objects to bodies, from bodies to dreams, and from the religion domain to the art world. In short, this book is a fascinating essay that sheds light on the role of visual creativity in contemporary religious manifestations.

Roger Canals is a lecturer in the department of social anthropology at the University of Barcelona. Besides numerous articles in visual anthropology, he is the director of several ethnographic films, including The Many Faces of a Venezuelan Goddess (2007) A Goddess in Motion. María Lionza in Barcelona (2016). He was awarded the Fejos Postdoctoral Fellowship by the Wenner Gren Foundation.

Series: Volume 42, New Directions in Anthropology
Subject: Religion General Anthropology General Cultural Studies
Area: Latin America

BISAC: SOC002010 SOCIAL SCIENCE/Anthropology/Cultural; SOC039000 SOCIAL SCIENCE/Sociology of Religion

BIC: JFSR Religious groups: social & cultural aspects; JHMC Social & cultural anthropology, ethnography


Chapter 1. Who is María Lionza?
Chapter 2. The cult of María Lionza
Chapter 3. The ritual image
Chapter 4. Between Art and Religion
Chapter 5. Bodies, dreams and apparitions
Chapter 6. A globalized goddess
Chapter 7. A network of images



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