The Melting Cauldron: Ethnicity, Diversity, and Identity in a Contemporary Pagan Subculture
Keywords:pagan religious identity
AbstractEthnicity and race are imprecise social constructs. Many contemporary Pagans tend to identify their beliefs and practices with one or several European pre-Christian cultures. This aspect of Pagan reconstruction carries notions of implicit ethnic and cultural allegiance, irrespective of whether this phenomenon is conscious or deliberate in the minds of Pagans. This article is an exploration of the causes of the dissonance between the Pagan ideal of inclusiveness and diversity and the fact that contemporary Paganism tends to attract people of mostly European descent. The following is a discussion of how the processes involved in the construction of a Pagan religious identity are the main culprits causing this dissonance, which leads to an accidental ethnic near homogeneity among Pagans. This article is the result of several years of observing the Pagan communities in the city of Montreal, and most recently, in the Canadian National Capital Region, which became my home in 2003.
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