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The Pentecostalization of Religion and Society in Latin America

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Pentecostalization is the combination of Pentecostal growth, Pentecostal influence on other religions, and Pentecostal impact on the rest of society. Increased competition with other religions (the Catholic Charismatic Renewal and mainstream Protestantism) forces these to adopt Pentecostal elements. Pentecostal elements (like conversion discourses, speaking in tongues, and faith healing) gradually spread in the mass media, affect non-religious groups in civil society and even the religiously unaffiliated, show up in political campaigns, affect economic behavior and entrepreneurship, and impact gender relations. Main research questions: To what extent is there a Pentecostalization of religion and society happening in Latin American countries, what forms is this taking, how are Pentecostal churches affected by the Pentecostalization process, and how could this lead to a new theoretical framework? The new theoretical framework of Pentecostalization links various previous approaches, theories, and unconnected country studies. Using ethnographic research, semi-structured interviews, and surveys, Pentecostal and non-Pentecostal churches and organizations will be analyzed in Chile and Paraguay. Chile has the oldest and strongest Pentecostal churches of Latin America, whereas Pentecostal growth only recently started in Paraguay, providing a clear contrast in the level of Pentecostalization.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Oakland University Rochester, Michigan United States, Email:


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