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Maneuvering between God and Caesar: analysis of the current religious market and the processes of mercantilization and commodification of religion in Brazil

Grant number: 23/07629-3
Support Opportunities:Research Grants - Visiting Researcher Grant - International
Duration: February 15, 2024 - February 14, 2025
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Sociology - Other specific Sociologies
Principal Investigator:Frank Usarski
Grantee:Frank Usarski
Visiting researcher: Renata Agnieszka Siuda-Ambroziak
Visiting researcher institution: University of Warsaw, Poland
Host Institution: Pró-Reitoria de Pós-Graduação (PRPG). Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo (PUC-SP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


The proposal presented in this Call ("Maneuvering between God and the Taxman: analyzes of the current religious market and the processes of commodification and commodification of religion in Brazil") will be an integral part of the project of the Proposing Researcher, prof. Frank Usarski from PPG in Science of Religion at PUC-SP, carried out with Cnpq resources ("Dharma versus money? A sociological analysis of the economy of Brazilian Buddhism"), in close collaboration in its preparation and execution with the professor Renata Siuda-Ambroziak from the University of Warsaw, Poland, recognized for her production in the area of the "economic paradigm" of the Science of Religion, especially in the critical verification, dialogue and modification of universal theories of the religious market for the purposes of their application in Brazil, as well as in the analysis of religion in the context of economy, politics, healing, popular festivities and the phenomena of leadership and presence of religion in public space. Her look, as an outsider from the other side of the Atlantic, and, at the same time, a rare specialist with an in-depth knowledge of Brazilian culture and reality (CAPES scholarship at UFSC, Erasmus Mundus at UFSC, CAPES PRINT at USP and UFSC, PAPD at UERJ) is fresh, innovative, objective, thought-provoking, very pertinent, but still little publicized and discussed in the Brazilian Academy. In the proposal presented, integrated with the aforementioned Cnpq project focused on the commodification of Buddhism, three complementary dimensions will be addressed in the visiting researcher's activities: a) a systematic survey of commercialized religious goods and services; b) a detailed analysis of offers in the area of counseling, coaching and workplace spirituality associated with Buddhism and c) an investigation of the positions that different Buddhist entities have taken in the face of the "economization" trends of their religion.Prof. Renata will also contribute to: the construction of the background for Buddhist-oriented research with a more comprehensive analysis of the current Brazilian religious market; the phase of elaboration and execution of field research, updating the analyzes with empirical data (aiming at statistical analyses, collecting primary data in interviews, during participant observation and by creating a photographic collection); in the elaboration of a theoretical, conceptual and methodological framework for the project by submission of the respective material to a critical analysis. The project also proposes to address current trends in the "commodification" of religion in a broader context of a comparative perspective between religious markets, especially in Brazil and Poland, believing that, despite different societies and cultures responding in different ways to the same stimulus, being dynamic, versatile and sometimes unpredictable systems, there are always generalizations for formulation and verification in different markets and fields of universal presence of religion. Comparisons can contribute to new hypotheses, better illustrate conclusions, help find causal relationships between facts, processes and phenomena, in the search for analogies and differences, highlighting their importance as a valuable tool in the elaboration of concepts and theories in topics with a greater degree of difficulty in analysis. As religious phenomena are complicated to approach outside of trans and interdisciplinarity, this is the suggested approach for the research. The participation of Prof. Dr. Renata Siuda-Ambroziak as a visiting researcher with the assistance of FAPESP will contribute substantially for the execution and dissemination of the results of the project financed by Cnpq. (AU)

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