'Remembering God' through Religious Habits: The Daily Religious Practices of Evacuee Karelian Orthodox Women
Habitual religiosity, i.e. the buildup and maintenance of religious habits, hinges on the embodied dimensions of religious memory. The processes involved can be conceptualised using Pierre Bourdieu’s theory on the habitus and Paul Connerton’s outline of the dynamics of habit-memory and habits. With the help of these theoretical tools, I analyse interview material concerning the daily religious practicesof evacuee Karelian Orthodox women, focusing specifically on three basic customs: making the sign of the cross, prayer, and the veneration of icons. These I investigate 1) as practices largely governed by the native layer of the women’s habitus; 2) as habits that continue to structure the habitus; 3) as habits incorporating cultural content; and 4) as customs influenced by the cumulative weight of the women’s habit-memory. The discussion offers a view of evacuee Karelian Orthodox women’s life-long investment in religion, and shows how in the perpetuation of this form of religiosity, small practices can bear great significance.
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