From popular religion to practices of sacralization: Approaches for a conceptual discussion

Eloísa Martín

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


The concept of "popular religion" is among the most frequent to arise in debates on religion in social science. Nevertheless, there is often disagreement on the scope of this concept and its definition, which are the result of an implicit and indiscriminate notion of religion. The author identifies three main groups of works that describe and apply different definitions of popular religion. The first, clearly identified with a Catholic matrix, considers popular religion as the religion of the "people". The second focuses on the "functions" that popular religion fulfils among the poorest sectors of the population, as a way of dealing with deprivation. The third group suggests the existence of a "different logic" to analyse religious events. Basing herself on the main literature produced in Latin America on the subject, the author proposes a way round the problems raised by coining and discussing the concept of "practices of sacralization".

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-285
Number of pages13
JournalSocial Compass
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Catholicism
  • Latin America
  • Popular religion
  • Sacred

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Religious studies
  • Sociology and Political Science


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