Vernacular Religions and the Invention of Identities Behind the Finno-Ugric Wall

  • KRISTIN KUUTMA University of Tartu


In the following I discuss vernacular religion as a tool for conesting and manifesting identities in Estonia. The stud takes a look at an overwhelming impact of the Soviet system of state atheism combined with constraining sociopolitical norms and oppression of cultural individuality on the religious ideology that emerged in the modern, secularised Estonian society under the Soviet rule. In such a context vernacular forms of religiosity were perceived and practised in Estonia with obvious political connotations. Afther regaining idependence on August 20, 1991 this ideology of opposition had not ceased, but carried on up to the present-day. This analysis of interdisciplinary approach will focus on the historical overview of the emergence of particular religious movements, though the main emphasis will be placed on developments in the 1990s. The given examination draws mostly on published material and documented manifestations available in print, as well as on ethnographic observation of social interaction, although no individual or detailed interviews were carried out by the author. The aim of this contribution is therefore a general mapping of a particular situation under the circumstances of the most turbulent transitional phase in recent Estonian history, while focusing on the social visibility of those religious identities and the image projected to the general public.

How to Cite
KUUTMA, K. (2005). Vernacular Religions and the Invention of Identities Behind the Finno-Ugric Wall. Temenos - Nordic Journal of Comparative Religion, 41(1).