The (Re)Construction of Identities in the Diaspora: Religion, Ritual and the ‘Ethnic Package’ of Immigrants from Guinea-Bissau in Portugal

    • IMG_7268
    • Presentation speakers
      • Clara Saraiva, Institute for Tropical Research and Universida de Nova Lisboa, Portugal


    Using as case study death rituals of immigrants from Guinea-Bissau in Portugal, this paper will expand on what takes place in the diaspora, and how the religious cognitive worlds and identities are reconstructed to accommodate a situation where people, goods and spirits travel across the ocean to act in people´s lives. It will deal with the multiple levels that death touches upon, from the symbolic to the more practical ones. Death is one realm in which a transnational approach is mandatory; it entails an intense circulation of material goods and wealth, but also of highly symbolic significant universes which circulate along with the goods and the people: the corpse, but also the spirits and the relations with the other world that people brought along into the diaspora situation. This paper tries to deconstruct the religious and ritual connections established between the territory of origin and of the diaspora an show how religion and ritual act in reconstructing immigrants identities in the diaspora .