Text, Context and Performance

Gagauz Folk Religion in Discourse and Practice


Past scholarship on the Gagauz people has focused on their ethnic origins and the tension between their Christian faith and Turkish linguistic identity. This study, based on extensive fieldwork in the Republic of Moldova, approaches the problem of this central dichotomy in Gagauz identity through the lens of daily religious practices. This empirical approach reveals how scholarly discourses on ‘folk religion’ guide the local fieldworker’s identification of what are ‘folk’ religious practices and thus actualises 'folk religion' in a given context.The book offers a fresh methodological perspective on ‘folk religion’ as discourse and object of study and is the first monograph in a Western European language on the religion, history and identity of this under-studied European people.

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Biographical Note
James A. Kapaló, Ph.D. (2009) in the Study of Religions, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, is Lecturer in the Study of Religions at University College Cork, Ireland.
Review Quotes
" Text, Context and Performance will be a book that anyone interested in the folk religion of Eastern Orthodoxy, or folk religion in general, will want to read. Kapaló’s studies and translations of Gagauz religious texts bring to the attention of folklorists the rich tradition of apocryphal religious literature, charms, and prayers in Gagauz and Romanian, two traditions that are little known in American folklore scholarship."
David Elton Gay, Indiana University, Journal of Folklore Research (2014)

"Kapaló’s excellent study can be seen as an extremely contextualized study of charms, charmers, and charming, which also makes some general methodological points about the study of culture. The contextual information he provides is comprehensive: national, regional, village-level, historical, political, linguistic, and economic."
Jonathan Roper, University of Tartu, Estonia, Folklore 124:3
All those interested in the folk religion and history of the Gagauz and Turkish speaking Christians, Orthodoxy in Moldova and Romania, as well as sociologists, anthropologists and folklorists of religion
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