Abstract: While the notion of the individual figures prominently in the debate about Christian personhood, the concept of relational selves has shaped the existing literature on Japanese selfhood. I take this seeming divergence between “individual Christian” and “interdependent Japanese” as the point of departure to probe how Japanese-Brazilian Pentecostal migrants in contemporary Japan understand and experience their sense of self. The article is based on 14 months of fieldwork in Toyota, Japan, which consisted of participant observation, interviews, and surveys among Brazilian and Japanese residents there. The discourses about the category of religion serve as a major source of data to tease out cultural understandings about “the authentic self.” I will argue that Pentecostal personhood does not fit within either the “individual” or the “relational.” The concept of “accompanied self” will then be proposed to accurately capture the kind of self that many migrant converts strive to embody.
van Klinken, Adriaan. 2016. Pentecostalism, Political Masculinity and Citizenship: The Born-Again Male Subject as Key to Zambia’s National Redemption. Journal of Religion in Africa 46(2-3): 129-157.
Abstract: Africa has become a key site of masculinity politics, that is, of mobilisations and struggles where masculine gender is made a principal theme and subjected to change. Pentecostalism is widely considered to present a particular form of masculinity politics in contemporary African societies. Scholarship on African Pentecostal masculinities has mainly centred around the thesis of the domestication of men, focusing on changes in domestic spheres and in marital and intimate relations. Through an analysis of a sermon series preached by a prominent Zambian Pentecostal pastor, this article demonstrates that Pentecostal discourse on adult, middle- to upper-class masculinity is also highly concerned with men’s roles in sociopolitical spheres. It argues that in this case study the construction of a born-again masculinity is part of the broader Pentecostal political project of national redemption, which in Zambia has particular significance in light of the country constitutionally being a Christian nation. Hence the article examines how this construction of Pentecostal masculinity relates to broader notions of religious, political and gendered citizenship.
Abstract:Neo-Pentecostalism is characterized as offering freedoms and empowerment for women, a limited role in navigating patriarchy, or strengthening patriarchal control. In Nairobi, Kenya, neo-Pentecostalism is concerned with a morality built around an idealized model of the nuclear family in which a wife is subservient to her husband. It might appear that women’s ministries empower female members to challenge structures of control, but such challenges are resisted and women are expected only to survive within existing structures. Single women are expected to live amongst the prejudices of society and dissuaded from any attempt to alter the societal structures that leave them marginalized.
Voiculescu, Cerasela. 2017. Nomad self-governance and disaffected power versus semiological state apparatus of capture: The case of Roma Pentecostalism. Critical Research on Religion. Early online publication.
Abstract: Inspired by Deleuze and Guattari, the article discusses Roma Pentecostalism as nomad self-governance or self-ministry and political affirmation, in a dialectical conversation with stable apparatuses of power such as state and transnational polities advancing neoliberal program of social integration as semiological apparatus of capture. The latter is upheld by expert social sciences as royal sciences, which translate alternative forms of self-governance into the conceptual apparatus of the state and transnational polities. On the other hand, Pentecostal self-ministry works as disaffected power undoing the architecture of the state subject, authorizing new hermeneutics of the self to take control over semiological acts of translation, and engender a political resubjectivation of the governed. The article identifies Roma Pentecostalism as a source of political reawakening of Romani civil society, a creative line of flight with an immense power of deterritorialization of the main domains of subjection.
Publisher’s description: This book argues that the runaway popularity of Pentecostal Christianity on the Zambian Copperbelt is a result of this religion’s capacity to produce novel forms of value realization. A close analysis of the relationships that form in Pentecostal churches reveals that Pentecostal social life is structured around an animating idea – a value – called ‘moving by the Spirit.’ Moving by the Spirit entails personal advancement both with regard to material prosperity and religious skill or charisma. While moving by the Spirit makes Pentecostalism attractive, it is difficult for Pentecostal believers to balance prosperity against charisma without reproducing divisions in economic status. These divisions undermine the social world of the church by limiting the access of poorer believers to the relationships with their leaders – relationships through which the value of moving by the Spirit is most effectively realized.
Roman, Raluca Bianca. 2017. Kaale belongings and Evangelical becomings : faith, commitment and social outreach among the Finnish Kaale (Finnish Roma). PhD Thesis, Department of Social Anthropology, University of St. Andrews.
Abstract: Grounded in a theoretical debate between anthropological studies on Roma/Gypsies and anthropological studies of Christianity, the focus of this thesis is on the experience of social and religious life among members of a traditional minority in Finland, the Finnish Kaale/Finnish Roma, a population of approximately 13.000 people living in Finland and Sweden. Over the past decades, the processes of urbanisation and sedentarisation have led to shifts in the ways in which the social lives of Kaale families are lived. A shift towards individualisation is interlinked with the continuous importance placed on family and kin belonging, which come together in a re-assessment of people’s central attachments in the world. At the same time, over the same period of time, a large number of this population have converted to Pentecostal and charismatic movements in the country, leading to subtle changes in the shape of social relations within and outside their own community: between believers and non-believers, between Kaale and non-Kaale. Making use of participant observation, interviews, conversion stories and individual life histories among Finnish Kaale living in the capital city of Helsinki and in Eastern parts of the country, this ethnography provides an insight into the multiple, overlapping and complex ways in which Kaale belonging is understood and into the ways in which Pentecostal religious life takes shape among born-again Kaale. Furthermore, looking specifically at the practice of Evangelism and missionary work, which defines the life of Pentecostal Kaale believers, the role of faith as an enhanced engagement with the world is analysed. A conversation therefore emerges also on the role of Pentecostal belonging in mobilising believers in relation to the world around them and, more specifically, on the way in which Pentecostal faith provides an avenue for a further social engagement and social mobilisation of individual Kaale believers.
Taylor, Lauren A. 2016. Reconsidering Samuel: A Mental Health Caretaker at a Ghanaian Prayer Camp. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 59(2): 263-275.
Abstract: This essay is intended to challenge popular and academic narratives of prayer camps in Ghana as being inherently inhumane. It is based on two years of Master’s thesis research and six trips to one prayer camp in particular, where I observed the daily routines of the camp and interviewed staff who care for people with mental illness. I aim to contextualize what is currently known about patients and staff at Ghanaian prayer camps within Ghana’s broader social, political, religious, and medical landscapes. To do so, I call upon my own experience interacting with one caretaker in particular: Samuel.
Abstract: Nowadays, although throughout Europe the Catholic, Orthodox, Muslim and Protestant denominational identities remain among Roma, the conversion rate would suggest the number of Roma Pentecostal will have numerically overtaken all the others in just a few years’ time. The uniqueness of Spanish Gypsy Pentecostalism contradicts some of the stereotypes of global Pentecostalism and resides in its organisational complexity and hierarchical structure, its rapid institutionalisation as a sole church, the thorough theological training of its leaders, and its autonomy both from the State and from the European and Latin American Pentecostal Roma Movement. This article is structured around a life history and two concerns: (a) the role of the constant circulation of the gypsy evangelical ministers as regards charisma and leadership; (b) the growing transfer of prestige from the respected gypsy elders to the young evangelical pastors and their role in wide pacification processes involving ethnic cohesion and kinship.
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.