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Título:IDENTITY AFFIRMATION, RECOGNITION AND HUNGER ALLEVIATION OF AFRICAN DESCENDENT BRAZILIAN RELIGIONS: THE TESTIMONY OF CASA DO PERDÃO, RIO DE JANEIROInstituição:PONTIFÍCIA UNIVERSIDADE CATÓLICA DO RIO DE JANEIRO - PUC-RIO Autor(es):MARIA INES FERREIRA DA COSTA DE ALMEIDA RIBEIRO
The purpose of this work is to understand the social actions towards hunger alleviation undertaken by the Africans descendent religions in Rio de Janeiro. The central goal of this study is to understand how such actions may contribute to the affirmation of these religious identities and the recognition of terreiros (African descendent religious centers) in the public space, through the legalization processes which would enable them to implement specific public policies. Recent research in Brazilian terreiros (Social Development Ministry, 2011; Fonseca and Giacomini, 2013) show that African descendent religions have an important role on hunger alleviation for the urban population living under poverty. These actions are one of the modalities of a range of terreiros social actions on a context of legal, geographic and political vulnerability to which, the terreiros and its members are historically subjected. In a context of social and political subordination, the centers of African descendent religions in Brazil taste absence and negligence from the Government in ensuring the rights enshrined in the 1988 Federal Constitution and in particular, the right to food. It is in this context that the legalization of the terreiros has been understood by them as crucial to their recognition as potential partner institutions of the State in the implementation of public policies to fight hunger. The use of an African ethos, which is historically preserved in the centers of African descendent religions, is essential to the care of others to the construction of collective social emancipation projects. Based on the testimonial of the Centro Espírita Umbandista Casa do Perdão of Rio de Janeiro, this paper discusses issues related to: 1) the processes of identity construction in modernity, trying to understand them from the point of view of integration of African descendent religions in Brazilian society and their strategies of resistance; 2) the secular State and its coexistence with religious diversity; 3) the subordination of African descendent religions in Brazil and the need for policies to recognize that arrangements have to be made and discussed, with emphasis on the process of legalization of terreiros and 4) care, understood here as a form of acting, while African ethos present in the life of terreiros and their relation to social work. The main findings of this research highlight the important social role that these terreiros play in fighting hunger, whose actions extend beyond the community of its followers. It is outstanding the need to acknowledge the history of resistance of the saint people and its importance in the fight against religious intolerance and defense of equality and human dignity. Finally, it is worth to note the need to perform new studies to understand the dynamics of social work terreiros, especially in the light of theories and reflections proposed by the Social Service.