Thornton, “Negotiating Respect”

Thornton, Brendan Jamal. 2016. Negotiating respect: pentecostalism, masculinity, and the politics of spiritual authority in the Dominican Republic. [Place of publication not identified]: University of Florida Press.

Publisher’s Description: Negotiating Respect is an ethnographically rich investigation of Pentecostal Christianity–the Caribbean’s fastest growing religious movement–in the Dominican Republic. Based on fieldwork in a barrio of Villa Altagracia, Brendan Jamal Thornton examines the everyday practices of Pentecostal community members and the complex ways in which they negotiate legitimacy, recognition, and spiritual authority within the context of religious pluralism and Catholic cultural supremacy. Probing gender, faith, and identity from an anthropological perspective, he considers in detail the lives of young male churchgoers and their struggles with conversion and life in the streets. Thornton shows that conversion offers both spiritual and practical social value because it provides a strategic avenue for prestige and an acceptable way to transcend personal history. Through an exploration of the church and its relationship to barrio institutions like youth gangs and Dominican vodú, he further draws out the meaningful nuances of lived religion providing new insights into the social organization of belief and the significance of Pentecostal growth and popularity globally. The result is a fresh perspective on religious pluralism and contemporary religious and cultural change.

Maskens, “The Pentecostal reworking of male identities in Brussels”

Maskens, Maïté.  2015. The Pentecostal reworking of male identities in Brussels: producing moral masculinities.  Etnográfica 19(2): 323-345.

Abstract: Addressing the paradoxes of gender in Pentecostal churches attended by converts of African or Latin-American origin in Brussels, it is argued that religious and migratory experiences are intimately intermingled in these spaces and that, in most cases, the geographical shift experienced by male believers has led to questions regarding their “traditional” masculinity. Their capacity to hold the role of breadwinner has often been undermined and they experience a kind of vulnerability against which religious gendered ideology often provides assurance and self-esteem by affirming men as heads of the religious space and chiefs of the household unit. Pentecostal masculinity, although adhering to a model of hegemonic patriarchal masculinity regarding the sexual division of domestic tasks, the recognition of men’s formal authority, and an exclusive focus on young women as the purity “capital” of churches, also reveals significant ruptures with that model: religious discourse values domestic involvement, sensibility and gentleness, encouraged and valorised as masculine characteristics. This hybrid posture of Pentecostal masculinity appears as a contrasted gender repertoire allowing men of the church to oscillate between various identifications and social locations according to specific situations and different contexts of enunciation.

Lindhardt, “Men of God”

Lindhardt, Martin.  2015. Men of God: Neo-Pentecostalism and masculinities in urban Tanzania.  Religion.  Early online publication.

Abstract: Based on research in Tanzania, this article explores how masculine born-again Christian identities are constructed and enacted in a field of tension between Pentecostal/charismatic norms for masculine behaviour and popular cultural expectations of male honour and status. The author sheds light on the gendered aspects of conversion and highlights why becoming a born-again Christian often represents a different kind of challenge and a more radical change of lifestyle in the case of men. At the same time, the author argues that a thorough understanding of the ways in which born-again men negotiate identities and position themselves in the social world they live in requires that we move beyond the narrow focus on the oppositional aspects of born-again masculinities that characterises much of the literature on Pentecostal/charismatic Christianity and gender. Focusing particular attention on the recent neo-Pentecostal turn in Tanzania (and Africa), the article demonstrates how this kind of Christianity allows for transformations in private while at the same time providing room for the enactment of powerful masculine identities in public.

Presterudstuen, “Performing Masculinity Through Christian Devotion”

Presterudstuen, Geir Henning.  2015. Performing Masculinity Through Christian Devotion: Methodism, Manhood and Colonial Mimicry in Fiji. Interventions, early online publication.

Abstract: Although the academic research on religion in Fiji and the South Pacific is substantial, there are few examples of studies that connect religion with the larger discourses of Fijian tradition and social life. Even fewer are the ones linking culturally specific notions of gender performances to Christian devotion. By utilizing the theoretical framework of colonial mimicry,1

I argue that the Christianization of Fiji, particularly its continued impact on the social organization of modern Fijian society, has been reliant upon its collusion with premodern Fijian notions of gender, power and consanguinity. Based on historical enquiries and ethnographic material, I develop the argument that while conversion may be understood as the conscious adoption and mimicking of the western notion of religion as presented by Wesleyan misGeir Henning Presterudstuensionaries in the 1800s, the Fijian understanding of their Christianity, the merging between Christian belief and Fijian social protocol and the consequent development of culturally specific articulations of Christian devotion have produced substantial differences from western theological practice and teaching. A central distinction is the close link between performances of masculinity and Christian devotion found among Fijian Methodists.

Eriksen, “Sarah’s Sinfulness Egalitarianism, Denied Difference, and Gender in Pentecostal Christianity”

Eriksen, Annelin. 2014. Sarah’s Sinfulness: Egalitarianism, Denied Difference, and Gender in Pentecostal Christianity. Current Anthropology DOI: 10.1086/678288

Abstract: Early anthropological studies of Pentecostalism and gender, dominated by Latin American and Caribbean ethnography, focused to a large extent on women’s conversion and how Pentecostal ideology has limited masculine oppressive behavior and provided women with social community, faith healing, domestic counseling, and so forth. These studies of Pentecostalism have thus been dominated by a focus on women on the one hand and on social community and social change on the other. The primary question asked in these studies has been, does Pentecostalism bring about an increased degree of equality? With the development of the anthropology of Christianity, the focus has shifted to a more thoroughgoing understanding of Christianity as a culture. In this paper I argue that this shift can also stimulate a shift in the way we study equality and gender in Pentecostalism. Instead of looking at men and women’s roles, we need to look at the specific idea of egalitarianism that this form of Christianity brings about and how this shapes the way in which gendered difference is articulated. I present a case from Vanuatu, South West Pacific, arguing that we need to look at gendered values, and I suggest a focus on what I call “the charismatic space.”

Flores, “God’s Gangs”

Flores, Edward Orozco. 2013. God’s Gangs: Barrio Ministry, Masculinity, and Gang Recovery. New York: NYU Press.

Release Date: December 11, 2013

Publisher’s Description: Los Angeles is the epicenter of the American gang problem. Rituals and customs from Los Angeles’ eastside gangs, including hand signals, graffiti, and clothing styles, have spread to small towns and big cities alike. Many see the problem with gangs as related to urban marginality—for a Latino immigrant population struggling with poverty and social integration, gangs offer a close-knit community. Yet, as Edward Orozco Flores argues in God’s Gangs, gang members can be successfully redirected out of gangs through efforts that change the context in which they find themselves, as well as their notions of what it means to be a man.  Flores here illuminates how Latino men recover from gang life through involvement in urban, faith-based organizations. Drawing on participant observation and interviews with Homeboy Industries, a Jesuit-founded non-profit that is one of the largest gang intervention programs in the country, and with Victory Outreach, a Pentecostal ministry with over 600 chapters, Flores demonstrates that organizations such as these facilitate recovery from gang life by enabling gang members to reinvent themselves as family men and as members of their community. The book offers a window into the process of redefining masculinity. As Flores convincingly shows, gang members are not trapped in a cycle of poverty and marginality. With the help of urban ministries, such men construct a reformed barrio masculinity to distance themselves from gang life.

Webster, “The Anthropology of Protestantism”

Webster, Joseph. 2013. The Anthropology of Protestantism: Faith and Crisis among Scottish Fishermen. New York: Palgrave MacMillan.

Publisher’s Description: Narrowing in from the broader context of the north Atlantic, through northern Europe, to Britain, northeast Scotland, and finally the fishing village of Gamrie, this anthropology of Protestantism examines millennialist faith and economic crisis. Through his ethnographic study of the fishermen and their religious beliefs, Webster speaks to larger debates about religious radicalism, materiality, economy, language, and the symbolic. These debates (occurring within the ostensibly secular context of contemporary Scotland) also call into question assumptions about the decline of religion in modern industrial societies. By chronicling how these individuals experience life as “enchanted,” this book explores the global processes of religious conversion, economic crisis, and political struggle.

van Klinken, “Imitation as Transformation of the Male Self How an Apocryphal Saint Reshapes Zambian Catholic Men”

van Klinken, Adriaan. 2013. Imitation as Transformation of the Male Self How an Apocryphal Saint Reshapes Zambian Catholic Men. Cahiers d’études africaines 1-2(209-210): 119-142.

Abstract: St Joachim, who according to the apocryphal Protoevangelium Jacobi is the father of Mary, the mother of Jesus, is the patron saint of a Catholic Men’s Organization in Zambia which promotes him as model of Catholic manhood. Through a case study of this organization, this article explores the intersections of religion, men and masculinity in a contemporary African Catholic context, in relation to broader discussions on African masculinities. The focus is on the practice of imitation of St Joachim and its effects on masculinity as the symbolic, discursive and performative construction of embodied male gender identity. Two theoretical concepts inform the analysis, being the notion of imitation as a hermeneutical process and Michel Foucault’s conceptualization of the technologies or hermeneutics of the self. The article shows how a sacred text is mobilized and inspires a communal imitative practice through which men are shaped, and shape themselves, after a religious ideal of masculinity.

Samson, “Reading Images of Christ”

Samson, Judith.  2013.  Reading Images of Christ: Masculinity and Homosexuality as Sites of Struggle in Popular Religious Images of Jesus.  Religion and Gender 2(2): 280-304.

Abstract:  The attitude towards homosexuality has become one of the key markers of political identity. In Europe as well as in Northern America it has been used by different groups to promote their views. Especially between fundamentalist Christians and politically as well as religiously liberal people it has become a significant topic of contestation. This article argues that this struggle not only takes place on a textual, but also on a visual discursive level, in which the image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is central. An analysis of the representation of Jesus’ masculinity in this image shows that different groups, Polish fundamentalists at a pilgrimage site and liberal American producers of a satiric website, use different versions of the same image to either counter or support public acceptance of homosexuality.