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Trans-National Pentecostalism And Secular Modernity

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Chapter Summary

Terms such as "modernity", "religion" and "secularity" can no longer be used without mental quotation marks to indicate their ethnocentricity, their status as constructions of a very particular western (and colonial) cultural history. American Pentecostalism was a mixture of poor white and poor black religiosity from the outset, and it finds a ready response in cultures with a tradition of belief in spirits and spirit possession, particularly among marginalised ethnic and cultural minorities. The Pentecostal/charismatic movement has been part of the mobilisation of the masses in the trek from the small town and rural areas of the developing world to the megacities, and on to the cities of the developed world. This chapter discusses the three particular areas in which Pentecostalism is markedly paradoxical, poised between antinomies in respect of the individualism, agency and autonomy of the Pentecostal self; the Pentecostal economic ethic; and Pentecostal gender relations.

Keywords: American Pentecostalism; cultural minorities; secular modernity



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