Daswani, Girish. 2013. The Globalization of Pentecostalism and the Limits of Globalization. In Janice Boddy and Michael Lambek, A Companion to the Anthropology of Religion. Hoboken, NJ : John Wiley and Sons.
Abstract: Globalization and Pentecostalism are intimately connected in a double sense. On the one hand, it is globalization that makes possible the rise of Pentecostalism and offers it the means to spread. On the other hand, “globalization” summarizes what Pentecostals find wrong with the world and what they hope to transform. I illustrate this interconnection and the dilemmas to which it gives rise by forcing on a particular denominator whose members I followed for years.
The Church of Pentecost (CoP) is a global church with over eighty branches located outside of its headquarters in Ghana. At the time of writing, the home page of its website displayed a list of its eighty-four member countries, scrolling across the screen from right to left like flashing news bulletins or stock prices. The names are indexical of a divine commitment to, and financial investment in, countries such as Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Israel, India, Lebanon, United Kingdom, United States, and Zimbabwe (the list continues). The phrase “Bringing the world to the saving knowledge of Christ” underpins the title of the church, elucidating the imagined reality summoned up by the list. While the information does not change as frequently or rapidly as international news or stock markets, it affirms the missionary presence of the church and the international flows of its leaders and members. The website is an apt artifact of our globalized age, electronically capturing its urgency, continuous movement, and fluctuations. For viewers, the website also helps to thicken social relations by enabling the virtual participation of church members living in different parts of the world. One of the news items from 2011, for example, informed CoP members about the chairman’s public lecture at the Global Christian Forum in Manado, Indonesia. Another, from 2012, shared a blog post from the immediate past-chairman, who writes about the failure of the church in Europe to live up to expectations. While residing in hamburg, Germany, he invited CoP members to pray for the European branches of its church. “now, while the fastest growing churches are in Africa and Asia, Christianity has taken a nose-dive in most parts of Europe. We are the fruit of their missionary sacrifices. Our presence in Europe at this time is divine . . . REVERSE MISSIOLOGY.”
Abstract: The last number of years has seen the mushrooming of African Pentecostal churches, especially Prosperity Gospel churches, in the post-recession industrial landscapes of Ireland. This article aims to explore the growth of African Pentecostalism in Ireland from both the perspective of embodied and affective religious experience and the conditions for the possibility of those religious experiences. This article is based on several years of ethnographic research among African Pentecostals in Ireland. It attends especially to the sensorious forms of worship and the Jesus walks that Pentecostals organise to transform the Irish symbolic landscape. Drawing on recent anthropological theory, the article draws out the contradictions, doubts, boundaries and limitations perceived and lived in totalising Pentecostal discourses and practices. Here, we develop the concept of ontological (in)security in order to theorise these doubts and limitations as well as the power
First Paragraph: Many have written on how Pentecostalism travels the globe and how it has become a force to be reckoned with in our contemporary world. For example, Pentecostalism possesses what Thomas Csordas (2007) callas a “transposable message” of salvation, and “portable practices” that included prayer, speaking in tongues and prophecy – homogenizing forms that travel across space and time through processes of missionization, migration, mobility, and mediation. Joel Robbins (2004, 117) discussed how Pentecostalism successfully adapted itself to the range of cultures in which it is introduced through a processes of replication and indigenizing difference. He calls these two descriptions of global Pentecostalism, global homogenization adn indigenizing difference, contradictory assertions that are useful in explaining its success (119). Similarly, according to Simon Coleman (2010, 800), Pentecostalism in its global form constitutes what he calls “part cultures, presenting worldviews meant for export that are holistic in one sense but, as we have seen, also in tension with the values of any given host society.” While Pentecostalism can be described as both global in its reach and local in its application, adapting to the tensions between its own values and those of its host societies and cultures, I seek to revisit how we may understand the “global” in the globalization of Pentecostalism through one church’s expanding networks and the simultaneous tensions and limits that arise from its engagement with “culture.”
Excerpt: “How do we shout Halleluiah?” Enthusiastically, her audience responded with a shout of “HALLELUIAH!” accompanied by exuberant arm movements. “And how do the Dutch shout Halleluiah?” Her audience laughed, and tried to imitate the lack of enthusiasm they perceived among the Dutch in different ways: a shortly mumbled hallelujah, huddled and hesitant arm movements that barely raised the hands above the head and kept elbows firmly clipped to the sides. Approvingly, she continued with her next question, encapsulating the problem in one distinct contrast: “And how do they shout when they are watching a football match?” To this, her audience responded like the crowd in a bar when the Dutch football team scores during a soccer match: loud shouting, flinging arms upwards and jumping up and down.
Abstract: This article discusses the question how to construct a vantage point from which to study the phenomenon of Nigerian missionaries in Europe. When theoretical frameworks extrapolating from the history of religion in western Europe are used to understand a religious network that originated in Nigeria, Nigerian missionaries and missionaries from the Global South inevitably appear as a case of history repeating itself and even as ‘premodern.’ In contrast, Africanist literature provides an understanding of the ways in which oppositions between tradition and modernity are constructed and used in Nigerian Pentecostalism that is very different. This literature however, does not provide ways to engage with the European contexts in which Nigerian missionaries operate. Therefore the article suggests that the encounter between Nigerian missionaries and European contexts might be most fruitfully conceptualized as a ‘meeting of modernities’ (inspired by Eisenstadt’s notion of ‘multiple modernities’), each implying a ‘denial of coevalness.’