Publication Date

2014-12-10

Availability

Open access

Embargo Period

2014-12-10

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Latin American Studies (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense

2014-11-04

First Committee Member

B. Christine Arce

Second Committee Member

Sallie Hughes

Third Committee Member

Elvira Maria Restrepo

Abstract

The mass media have recently brought to public light the new religious movement of Santa Muerte, or “Holy Death”. The depictions of Santa Muerte in news coverage, television and film have also swayed public perception through highly exoticized representations of the belief system, particularly in relation to violence and criminality. Separating sensationalization in the media from the actual practices of Santa Muerte serves to demonstrate that many devotees are non-violent practitioners. By using an ethnographic study of botanícas and documenting Santa Muerte related objects available to practitioners, this study nuances the multilayered components of this emergent religion.

Keywords

Santa Muerte; Holy Death; botanícas

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