Hoenes del Pinal, “Towards an Ideology of Gesture”

Hoenes del Pina, Eric (2011) “Towards an Ideology of Gesture: Gesture, Body Movement, and Language Ideology Among Q’eqchi’-Maya Catholics” Anthropological Quarterly 84(3):595-630.

Abstract: While much attention has been paid to how linguistic practices and language ideologies shape local forms of Christianity, relatively little attention has been paid to the role that non-verbal communicative codes and people’s ideas about them play in these same processes. This paper analyzes the gestural and bodily practices of Q’eqchi’-Maya Catholics belonging to two denominations (Mainstream and Charismatic Catholicism) to argue that non-linguistic practices play a significant role in constructing and performing moral and religious identities. I argue that because local discourses about what constitutes appropriate bodily behavior in religious rituals invoke some of the same kinds of value judgments and are predicated on the same semiotic processes as metalinguistic discourses, a fuller understanding of how language ideologies underpin Christian subjectivities needs to take into account how a wide range of communicative practices relate to each other.

A part of the special issue Beyond Logos: Extensions of the Language Ideology Paradigm in the Study of Global Christianity (-ies)

O’Neill, “Delinquent Realities”

O’Neill, Kevin Lewis. 2011. “Delinquent Realities: Christianity, Formality, and Security in the Americas.” American Quarterly 63(2: 337-365.

Abstract: In response to growing postwar violence in Guatemala, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) cosponsored a reality television show in which ten former gang members were split into two teams, each of which was expected to build a sustainable business within Guatemala’s formal economy. This competition modeled a kind of entrepreneurial self-fashioning that relied on Christian images and imperatives to “formalize” the show’s reportedly delinquent participants. Based on several years of ethnographic fieldwork in Central and North America, this article explores how this Christian self-fashioning dramatizes an increasingly popular strategy for gang prevention and intervention throughout the Americas: regional security by way of good Christian living. Christianity today has become entangled with the geopolitics of American security, especially when it comes to efforts at gang abatement, linking the illegal activities of transnational criminal networks to the morality of individual men and women.