Thinking Globally about Local Religious Societies

Juha Pentikäinen

in The Oxford Handbook of Global Religions

Published in print October 2006 | ISBN: 9780195137989
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

 Thinking Globally about Local Religious Societies

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Globalization has affected indigenous peoples and their traditional cultures in significant ways. Throughout the world, some 190 million people are identified by religious cultures that are variously known as “native,” “indigenous,” “local,” and “ethnic” religions. These are the native people of North and South America, Siberia and Northern Europe, and the tribal peoples of Africa, India, Central Asia, Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands. In an era of globalization, great numbers of these people have been obliged to leave their rural home territories to live in urban milieus or to migrate as emigrants or refugees to foreign countries, where they live in new environments in newly established groups with strange neighbors. This global diaspora of native peoples greatly affects their religious life because their spirituality is ordinarily not conveyed through organizations and ideologies. In general, there has been little knowledge of and interest in the huge diversity of the “ethnic religions” to be found around the world.

Keywords: Siberia; ethnic religions; globalization; indigenous peoples; tribal peoples; Africa; Pacific Islands; diaspora; religious life; religious cultures

Article.  2218 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Interfaith Relations

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