FAKTORY OVPLYVŇUJÚCE NÁBOŽENSKÉ KONVERZIE RÓMOV NA PRÍKLADE KONVERZIÍ K SVEDKOM JEHOVOVÝM A CHARIZMATICKÝM HNUTIAM VO VÝCHODNOM ZEMPLÍNE
Factors influencing religious conversion of Roma using an example of conversions to the Jehovah´s witnesses and charismatic movements in Eastern Zemplín
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This paper analyses the religious conversion of Roma in a region of eastern Slovakia of mixed ethnic and religious composition, focusing on the most important factors which influence this phenomenon. The conclusions also take account of the heterogeneity of Roma in the locality under examination, since the Romani communities there have different social levels, living conditions and degrees of contact with the majority. Religious conversion is a complicated process, with a number of determinants playing their parts. For the purposes of the paper’s interpretative framework, it seems most advantageous to use the stage model of religious conversion; family and social bonds are equally important, and also the personality of the missionary. The disposition of Roma towards religious conversion is strikingly influenced by the factors of social control and the firm social structure in the community. Analysis of the conversion narratives has shown that an individual crisis in various life situations, together with personal and social factors, functions as the starting mechanism of religious conversion. The fact, that in several localities Roma have a tendency to convert in larger numbers may be caused by the fact that social exclusion can evoke more individual crisis situations, which in certain circumstances (presence of a religious mission, weakened social structure of the community etc.) can result in larger waves of religious conversions.
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