The article analyzes sociological work produced during the 1960s and 1970s on Messianic and rural religious movements, specifically encompassing the episodes of Contestado, Juazeiro, and Canudos. It begins with these authors’ characterizations of the social formations within which the movements emerged and with a discussion of coronelismo. It next examines how the notion of Popular Catholicism fits into these studies and what importance is attached to it. Lastly, it explores these authors’ evaluations of the degree and nature of social rupture which is occasioned by these religious movements, and goes on to identify links between such evaluations and two kinds of questions: the distinction between religious and secular protests and the relationship between religion and social class.
religion; Messianism; coronelismo; Popular Catholicism