Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)


Religious Studies

First Advisor's Name

Albert Wauku

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Erik Larson

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

Iqbal Akhtar

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member



Date of Defense



The practice of Santeria ritual sacrificial practices among devotees in Miami was investigated, using an ethnographic method with an interview of devotees.

Pierre Bourdieu Habitus, James Scott’s weapon of the weak, Richard Schechner and Victor Turner Performance theory were used for this study. These theories helped in the analysis of the data collected. The research explores the significance of sacrifice in the religious tradition of Santeria in Miami. The study critically examined the goals for animal sacrifices and experiences of devotees in Miami.

The study explored how the socio-cultural, economic and political space of Miami has hindered the sacrificial practice of Santeria and how it has equally sustained its survival.

The spiritual effectiveness of sacrifice, its meaningfulness and how devotees understand the sacrifices to orishas in Santeria religious tradition are properly examined in this research.

The research concludes that the offering of sacrifices to orishas enhances solution to devotee’s problems, it guarantees their spiritual security, better future and sustains their physical and spiritual well-being. Devotees in Miami attested to these benefits as the motivation for their offering of sacrifices to the orisha in the religious practice of Santeria.



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