„Légy szíves ezt a levelet elégetni, ha elolvastátok”: vernakuláris vallás a titkosrendőrségi aktákban
Magyar Néprajzi Társaság
“Please burn after reading”: vernacular religion in secret police archives: The paper explores to what extent archival materials produced by the secret police in socialist Hungary could be used as sources for the study of vernacular religion. Looking at examples from the Historical Archives of the Hungarian State Security, it argues that when read with critical approach, these documents reveal several aspects of religiosity from an era remarkably scarce in contemporary ethnographic sources. For all their limitations these files reveal the ways in which religious groups and individuals adapted to oppression and developed strategies to deflect the attention of the authorities, but also expressions of spirituality or the position and role religion, churches and their representatives had in a socialist society. By applying the vernacular religious approach to these files we are also able to move away from showing religious subjects simply as the victim of the regime and point instead to their resilience and agency.
This research is part of the project Creative Agency and Religious Minorities: Hidden Galleries in the Secret Police Archives in Central and Eastern Europe. The project has received funding from the European Research 2020 research and innovation programme No. 677355.
Secret police , Archives , Communism , Eastern Europe
Hesz, A. (2021) 'Légy szíves ezt a levelet elégetni, ha elolvastátok”: vernakuláris vallás a titkosrendőrségi aktákban [“Please burn after reading”: vernacular religion in secret police archives]', Ethnographia, 132 (1), pp. 45-66.