A number of native faith groups, with a special relationship to nature and practices inspired by traditional folk beliefs, have grown in popularity in Central and Eastern Europe since the collapse of the socialist regimes. This study looks at the formation and practices of one such group in Estonia called Maausk, by examining the perspectives and experiences of the practitioners. Through sensory ethnography the analysis has been particularly directed towards the embodied aff ective experiences and their role in the cultural meaning-making processes of Maausk.
The study contributes to the long-term ethnological research into vernacular popular beliefs as well as the meaning and use of traditions and their relationship to authenticity. The analysis indicates that folk traditions may still contribute to the search for identity and authenticity that is linked with ethnicity, origins and nature. The study also looks at how this search for identity and authenticity might relate to the Estonian neoliberal capitalist society and globalisation, as well as to Estonia’s Soviet past.
Jenni Rinne is an ethnologist. This is her PhD thesis.
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