The Virgin of Altagracia in the Intra Caribbean migration context; An intersectional study of migration and lived religion of Dominico Puerto Rican women

Saavedra Corrada, Maria M. (2022) The Virgin of Altagracia in the Intra Caribbean migration context; An intersectional study of migration and lived religion of Dominico Puerto Rican women. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This thesis is an intersectional analysis of gender, religion, migration, and race. It focuses on the experiences of Dominico Puerto Rican women in the context of Intra-Caribbean migration, focusing on their lived religious experiences in this transnational space. I specifically explore their intimate and social reflections on the virgin of Altagracia, as a unifying familiar figure in the new environment that provides comfort for women who have left homeland and reminds women of this devotion in the Dominican Republic.

The purpose of this research is to introduce a Global South, Intra Caribbean migratory perspective to current sociological debates on religion and migration (Vásquez 2016, Pasura 2016, Levitt 2009). In this thesis I argue that although many studies about religion and migration focus either on the fixed or hybrid understandings of religion from the Global South to Global North migratory context, this research contends that women develop individualized, situated, and personalized interpretations of religion and spirituality that interconnect with a broader cultural and social interpretations of Altagracia.

The thesis provides a contribution to an intersectional analysis of religion, gender, and spirituality, because religion in migration is a subject that has not been central for Social Sciences researchers in this Intra Caribbean context. It explores the relationship between intimate and collective meanings of Altagracia without focusing exclusively on the sociological meanings attributed to her by Catholicism. The research is informed by a feminist methodology, which attempts to address a gap in knowledge around women’s experiences of Intra Caribbean migration.

The purpose of this methodology is to bring to the spotlight insights of women who live in the areas of San Juan and Canovanas, locations that have not been sufficiently researched. Original primary data foreground the reflections of Dominican migrant women in Puerto Rico on gender, race, religion, and migration. As suggested by the N vivo data analysis software, the data show that Altagracian rituals are connected to the sacred location of Higüey in Dominican Republic and to the colonial history of Catholicism common to the Spanish Caribbean. These rituals and devotions of Altagracia are reproduced, recreated, and re-evaluated with a gendered personal and self-improvement purpose in mind within the transnational space.

This thesis contributes to theories of lived religion as proposed by scholars like (Pasura 2014, Jones 2019, McGuire 2016, Hirschman 2004). Its original contribution to knowledge lies also in the enriched understanding of migrant women’s lives in the Caribbean and it proposes a new awareness of Intra Caribbean migration and its interconnections with gendered religious transnationalism. The data show that women prioritize everyday interpretations of religion and spirituality before organized religion.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GR Folklore
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences
Supervisor's Name: Pasura, Dr. Dominic and Hume, Professor Mo
Date of Award: 2022
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2022-82871
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 13 May 2022 13:55
Last Modified: 13 May 2022 13:56
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.82871

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