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Convert, Revert, Pervert

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Chapter Summary

Conversion is basically a battle that takes place along the symbolic boundaries between systems of belief that happen to coexist in the same social environment. If a person converts, it is as if one of the systems had lost the battle to keep the person convinced and convincingly within its own boundaries. Getting people to revert is not just a matter of welcoming back people who had moved away from the faith of their fathers. It is more an act of reconquest expressed in rituals of purification leading to the reversion of an individual who had previously been considered an impure degenerate (pervert), traitor and liar, according to a sequence of stigma that are usually applied by those remaining faithful to a system of belief to those abandoning it, often transforming their interior experience into a public affair.

Keywords: conversion; pervert; revert



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