The Religious Dynamics Of Syrian-Lebanese And Palestinian Communities In Brazil
This article analyzes the role of religious identities in the constitution and negotiation of the cultural differences and social position of the Arabic-speaking immigrants in Brazil since the end of the nineteenth century. Religious identity was an important form of social classification for both the immigrants and the Brazilian society. Among the immigrants, affiliation to one of the many religious communities present in the Middle East provided access to institutions and networks of solidarity within the larger group of Arabic-speaking immigrants in Brazil. Conversely, conversion to Catholicism was an important element in the process of cultural integration that was expected to accompany upwards social mobility in the Brazilian society. Religious imaginaries and religious identities were intertwined with the ethnic and national identities that the Arabic-speaking immigrants mobilized in order to build a community and negotiate their presence in the Brazilian society. Therefore, this analysis will focus on in the role of religious traditions and institutions in the ways through which Arab, Syrian-Lebanese and Palestinian ethnicity have been negotiated, transmitted and reinvented in Brazil.
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