What is the purpose of Santeria

Santería and its globalization in Cuba

The dissertation examines actors, practices and areas of conflict in the transnational networking of the Afro-Cuban religion Santería. Developed from the religious legacy of West African slaves and Iberian colonial Catholicism, it is the most popular religion in Cuba today. Through Cuban migrants, global cultural industries and tourism, the Santería reached the USA, the Caribbean, Latin America and Europe. Since the 1990s, local religious practice has increasingly taken place in cross-national and cross-border areas and is supported by reciprocal obligations within transnational ritual families. Claudia Rauhut analyzed the renegotiation of power, tradition and innovation in the transnational religious field of Cuba based on qualitative field research between 2004 and 2007 in Havana. She works out historical, social, economic and political factors of the transnationalization of the Santería and its areas of conflict. These deal with struggles of interpretation about the orientation of ritual practice, about religious institutionalization and ethical standardization, about conflicting traditional references between Cuba and Africa, new gender roles and changed relationships between Afro-Cuban religions and the Catholic Church. Santería practitioners in Cuba and their expert struggle aim to control an inevitable religious change in a globalized setting. It is about participation and integration in global religious developments on the one hand and self-assertion of sovereignty in local religious activity on the other.