Corporal Practices and Leisure of Young Brazilian Evangelicals

Abstract

A large part of Brazilian evangelicals, from traditional groups, have restrictions related to the body which drive them away from sporting activities, dancing, gymnastics, and other corporal practices. Nevertheless, many of them participate in activities during Physical Education classes, as this is a school discipline. Therefore, this research aims to analyze how and if experiences in corporal practices during Physical Education classes are capable of transforming the relations of evangelical students with these practices and the ‘use of the body’ in leisure practices. We carried out ethnographic research in two public schools in São Paulo state for a school year, in Secondary Education classes. The analyses presented are the fruit of our daily observations and the discourse of the students selected. The results suggested that churches have been attempted to govern their follower’s corporal practices. However, there are breaches during Physical Education classes that allow young evangelicals to experience secular activities.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    The concept of ‘corporal practices’ is constituted in Brazil through contrast with the concept of ‘physical activity’ which, despite the lack of an absolute consensus, has been used since the 1990s by authors who think about PE through Human and Social Sciences. See: Lazzarotti filho, Ari., et al. The term bodily practices in Brazilian scientific literature and its impact on the Physical Education field. Movimento (2010), 11–29.

  2. 2.

    The (native) term ‘mundane’ is frequently used by the evangelicals studied to refer to everything opposed to the sacred/divine.

  3. 3.

    The ethnographic research was based on Clifford Geertz’s (1989) principles of ‘dense description’ and ‘interpretative analysis.’

  4. 4.

    This research was approved by the Research Ethnics Committee.

  5. 5.

    Online:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cegKntPZHnE&list=PLzhxYAii0R01qH_fHX9MDOsxB9xIMx90b&index=6.

  6. 6.

    In relation to this debate see: Giumbelli, E. O fim da religião: dilemas da liberdade religiosa no Brasil e na França. Attar, 2002. and Pierucci, A. F. Religião como solvente – uma aula. Novos Estudos Cebrap, no. 75: (2006): 111–127.

  7. 7.

    In the field of Sociology of Leisure in Brazil, there is a discussion about the concept of free time and available time, with the latter being more adopted in academic texts. We do not intend here to prepare a discussion about the concept. We use ‘free time,’ since it was the term used by natives (students studied).

  8. 8.

    The examples cited here were consulted in blogs used by churches to evangelize their faithful. Each blog can be accessed through the links mentioned in the footnotes. Since the lessons are taken from the books of Casa Publicadora das Assembleias de Deus (CPAD) we do not have the reference to which version of the bible was used. The reference cited is: Revista Lições Bíblicas. SABEDORIA DE DEUS PARA UMA VIDA VITORIOSA, A atualidade de Provérbios e Eclesiastes. Lesson 13 – Fear God all the time. I – A truth that cannot be forgotten. 1. We are created. 2. There is a Creator. II – The two great moments in life. 1. Youth. 2. Old Age. III – The different dimensions of human existence. 1. Corporal. 2. Spiritual. IV – Taking care of everything. 1. Keeping the commandments. 2. Awaiting judgment. Conclusion. Editora CPAD. Rio de Janeiro – RJ. 4th Quarter of 2013

  9. 9.

    Online:http://www.estudantesdabiblia.com.br/licoes_cpad/2013/2013-04-13.htm.

  10. 10.

    Online:http://www.escola-dominical.com/2013/12/licao-13-tema-deus-em-todo-tempo-, slides.html

  11. 11.

    The term ‘corporal culture’ or ‘culture of movement’ is used by researchers that were and still are part of the so-called ‘renewal movement’ of Brazilian Physical Education, which reached its peak in the 1980s and broke away from visions of the body and movement based solely on biological and anatomical visions.

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This article is the fruit of part of a research project funded by the Research Support Foundation of the State of São Paulo—FAPESP.

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Correspondence to Heloisa Heringer Freitas.

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Rigoni, A.C.C., Romera, L.A., Sajorato, T. et al. Corporal Practices and Leisure of Young Brazilian Evangelicals. Int J Lat Am Relig (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s41603-020-00104-4

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Keywords

  • Young evangelicals
  • Corporal practices
  • Physical education
  • Leisure