Masagutova M. “Nevertheless, the Beseda Happened”: Online Broadcasts as a New Religious Practice of the Churikovtsy Community

M. Masagutova
European University at St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg, Russian Federation
ORCID 0000-0002-8528-190X
E-mail: mmasagutova@eu.spb.ru

 

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ABSTRACT. The coronavirus pandemic proved to be a challenge for anthropologists as well for those they study. The classical anthropological method of participant observation under quarantine restrictions turned out to be nearly impossible, which has jeopardized many researchers’ fieldwork. At the same time, due to sanitary and epidemiological restrictions, the regular spiritual life of the Churikovtsy teetotaler community I studied, including their weekly prayer meetings (“besedas”) in Vyritsa, also came under threat, yet they perceived this situation as a challenge of the modern world requiring a response. This paper fits into the general context of discussions on the possibilities and limitations of anthropological work in the pandemic times. The article focuses on the way the Churikovtsy religious community has adapted to the situation through a new practice of online broadcasts, which has allowed its members to continue their prayer meetings, while giving the researcher an opportunity to continue her fieldwork. The focus of this text is the story of adoption of this practice, as well as the challenges and benefits of the new format for the community and the anthropologist. The paper also addresses the role of material aspects in the religious practices of the Churikovtsy and the specifics of their rituals in the new circumstances.

 

 KEYWORDS: anthropology of religion, digital ethnography, Churikovtsy, teetotalers, pandemic

 

DOI 10.31250/2618-8600-2021-4(14)-138-157
УДК 004.738.5:39

 

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