Chapter

Secret Sits in the Middle

Paul Christopher Johnson

in Secrets, Gossip, and Gods

Published in print August 2002 | ISBN: 9780195150582
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834358 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195150589.003.0002
 Secret Sits in the Middle

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Presents a point of departure for the study of secrecy through a close examination of Georg Simmel's seminal 1906 essay and offers a preliminary examination of secrets and secretism in Candomblé discourse. The chapter explores the meaning of the assertion that “a secret religion becomes public.” The chapter suggests that though there are no consensual secrets uniting the religion of Candomblé as a whole, there are “local secrets” that mark grades of status within each temple. Secrecy is theorized as a technique for the construction of social boundaries; it is a boundary without specific content marking reclusion from the public sphere.

Keywords: Candomblé; public; religion; secrecy; secretism; Simmel; social boundaries

Chapter.  7158 words. 

Subjects: East Asian Religions

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