6. Narratives of Spirituality and Wellbeing: Cultural Differences and Similarities between Brazil and the UK

Spirituality and Wellbeing - Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Study of Religious Experience and Health - Bettina E. Schmidt

Bettina E. Schmidt [+-]
University of Wales Trinity St David
View Website
Bettina E. Schmidt, DPhil (habil.), PhD, MA in cultural anthropology (Marburg University, Germany), professor in study of religions at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David and the director of the Alister Hardy Religious Experience Research Centre which located in Lampeter, UK. Previously she worked at Marburg University, Oxford University and Bangor University. She was also visiting professor at the City University of New York and visiting scholar at the Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo. Elected President of the British Association for the Study of Religions. She has published extensively on Caribbean and Latin American religions, identity, cultural theories and migration. Her academic interests include anthropology of religion, diaspora identity, religious experience, urban studies, medical anthropology and gender issues. Her main fieldworks were conducted in Mexico, Puerto Rico, Ecuador, New York City, and, more recently, in São Paulo, Brazil, about spirit possession and trance. She is the author of Spirit and Trance in Brazil: An Anthropology of Religious Experiences (2016, Bloomsbury), Caribbean Diaspora in the USA: Diversity of Caribbean Religions in New York City (2008, Ashgate), Einführung in die Religionsethnologie (2008, Reimer Verlag Berlin), and co-editor of Spirit Possession and Trance: New Interdisciplinary Perspectives (2010, Continuum), and of Handbook of Contemporary Brazilian Religions (2016, Brill).

Description

Wellbeing, happiness and life satisfaction are perceived depending on a range of factors, from income, social position, gender, age and cultural context. Some even argue with the Ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus that material possession is the least important aspect for a sense of happiness. This understanding led to the perceived paradox of happy but poor peasants and miserable millionaires. However, research shows that a more traditional feeling of contentment among rural people has been replaced by a feeling of dissatisfaction with their place in the contemporary globalised economic system. Is there therefore a trend to perceive wellbeing in similar terms despite cultural differences? This chapter looks at narratives of wellbeing that derived from a study of spirituality and wellbeing in Brazil and the UK. Brazil is usually portrayed with the greater acceptance of alternative spirituality and healing that should support a more holistic understanding of wellbeing. While the study has shown little evidence for the acceptance of spirituality within the medical context in Brazil, it has also shown a greater awareness of the importance of spirituality for wellbeing. Comparing subjective definitions of wellbeing from Brazilian and British spiritualists and other people involved in mediumistic religions, this paper highlights the cultural framework of these narratives and discusses similarities and differences.

Notify A Colleague

Citation

Schmidt, Bettina. 6. Narratives of Spirituality and Wellbeing: Cultural Differences and Similarities between Brazil and the UK. Spirituality and Wellbeing - Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Study of Religious Experience and Health. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. Feb 2020. ISBN 9781781797655. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=35876. Date accessed: 17 Jun 2019 doi: 10.1558/equinox.35876. Feb 2020

Dublin Core Metadata