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

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

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
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Prof Bettina E. Schmidt is a cultural anthropologist and currently professor in study of religions at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David and the director of the Alister Hardy Religious Experience Research Centre. She received her doctorate and post-doctorate from the University of Marburg, Germany. 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. Prof Schmidt is the current President of the British Association for the Study of Religions. She has published extensively on Caribbean and Latin American religions, religious experience, anthropology of religion, identity, cultural theories, gender, and migration. Her main fieldwork has been conducted in Mexico, Puerto Rico, Ecuador, New York City, and Brazil. 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 However, research shows that a more traditional feeling of contentment among rural people has been replaced by a feeling of dissatisfaction with their place in the contemporary globalised economic system.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.

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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. 137-157 Mar 2020. ISBN 9781781797655. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=35876. Date accessed: 27 Feb 2020 doi: 10.1558/equinox.35876. Mar 2020

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