Power and Religiosity in a Post-Colonial Setting

Sinhala Catholics in Contemporary Sri Lanka

Power and Religiosity in a Post-Colonial Setting

This study of religious change and cultural fragmentation in contemporary Sri Lanka focuses on a series of new Catholic shrines that attract hundreds of pilgrims. Their fame is based, among other things, on their efficacy as centers for demonic exorcism, alleviating suffering and helping people to find jobs. The author looks at the rise of these shrines in relation to the historical experience of the Catholic community in Sri Lanka, rather than in terms of narrowly defined religious criteria. Central to this broader nonreligious context is the role of power and especially the impact of post colonialism on the small Roman Catholic population.


"This excellent monograph on contemporary Sinhala Catholicism, a subject long neglected by students of world Catholicism and historians of Sri Lankan religion, does more than fill the obvious substantive gap: its theoretically sophisticated analysis of how a fragmented modern religious community has adjusted to changing forms of power and domination promises wide-ranging implications for how we conceptualize religious practice....rich in detail...provocative." The Journal of Religion

"...imaginative, powerful, and sophisticated study. For its exquisite lucidity alone it deserves to be widely read. For anthropologists, South Asianists, students of religion and Church historians, this is essential reading. It establishes Stirrat as one of the leading exponents of British Social Anthropology and crowns his excellent previous writings on Sri Lanka to make him a major chronicler of Sri Lankan society." The Journal of Asian Studies

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