Klatis, “Insult and Insecurity”

Klaits, Frederick.  2016.  Insult and Insecurity: Discernment, Trust, and the Uncanny in Two US Pentecostal Communities.  Anthropology Quarterly 89(4): 1143-1173.

Abstract: Within many North American evangelical Christian communities, discernment denotes attentiveness to an interior voice that believers learn to identify as God’s. This article adopts a comparative perspective on everyday domains of perception and feeling that practices of discernment implicitly distinguish as unmarked by God’s activity, and as characterized by specific forms of anxiety from which believers desire to be redeemed. In a majority White Pentecostal congregation in suburban Buffalo, New York, believers cast emotional insecurity as a condition demanding redemption, while members of African American churches in the inner city hope to be redeemed from sensitivity to insults. While practices of discernment counter such anxieties by fostering forms of intimacy and trust, they also reinforce anxiety by focusing believers’ attention on how familiar relations may be distorted in uncanny ways.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *