“adapted for heaven”: conversion and culture in western Sicily

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Abstract

This paper examines the phenomenological and sociocultural character of Sicilian Pentecostal conversion and compares this transformational experience to that offered by traditional Sicilian shamanic practice. The approach to religious conversion advocated here is critical of the family of approaches called “deprivation-ideology” approach and features a view of conversion that relies on the existentialist-psychoanalytic synthesis of Herbert Fingarette. This paper advances the idea that the comparative study of religious transformation is best furthered when the conversion experience itself is the center of investigation rather than the cause or consequence of conversion events.

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