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Religions 2016, 7(6), 65; doi:10.3390/rel7060065

Santa Muerte as Emerging Dangerous Religion?

Religious Studies, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA 23284, USA
Academic Editors: R. Andrew Chesnut and David Metcalfe
Received: 24 March 2016 / Revised: 24 May 2016 / Accepted: 27 May 2016 / Published: 3 June 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Death in the New World: The Rise of Santa Muerte)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [214 KB, uploaded 3 June 2016]

Abstract

Santa Muerte is one of the fastest growing folk saint movements in Mexico. She has a core following in Mexico among dispossessed populations, but also devotees from a broader swath of the Mexican population. This article analyzes the development of Santa Muerte veneration in Mexico since 2000. I argue that, from a structural analysis perspective, Santa Muerte veneration is on the threshold of designation and treatment as dangerous religion, although its eventual status remains contingent. The movement’s status will be determined by three interacting factors: (1) a core membership of outsider and dispossessed populations; (2) symbolic and social organization in a form that challenges the legitimacy and authority of the institutions of church and state; and (3) institutional control measures that contest the legitimacy of its symbolic presentation and organizational practices. I suggest several alternative developmental scenarios based on these factors. View Full-Text
Keywords: Santa Muerte; folk saint; church; state; religion Santa Muerte; folk saint; church; state; religion
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Bromley, D.G. Santa Muerte as Emerging Dangerous Religion? Religions 2016, 7, 65.

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