Workshop “Gender, Pentecostalism and Diaspora” (12-14 March 2014)

Gender, Pentecostalism and Diaspora

Subversions, inversions, redefinitions

Bergen, 12-14 March 2014

University of Bergen

Department of Social Anthropology

Seminar Room, 8th-9th Floor

Gender, as we know has always played a paradoxical role in Pentecostalism: on the one hand Pentecostal theologies convey, through the conversion narrative, ruptures and liberations vis-à-vis given inherited gender traditions and relationalities, conveying new senses of egalitarian community and affecting domesticity. On the other, from a demographic and political point of view most Pentecostal churches remain a highly unequal system where, despite the majority of feminine frequency and adhesion, places of power and authority remain mostly masculine.

Part of this paradox can be explained through another dilemma brought about by Pentecostalism: it is informed as a global, supra-cultural ethos, but relies in a constant process of cultural ‚Äėlocalization‚Äô, in order to adjust its own dialectics of conversion and transformation. It is intrinsic and extrinsically framed as a trans-global phenomenon, but ‚Äėsucceeds‚Äô through its conversion into ‚Äėautochthony‚Äô, absorbing and reconfiguring cultural logics. But a third dilemma also appears in the equation: the simultaneous rooting of Pentecostalism in ‚Äėtradition‚Äô and ‚Äėmodernity‚Äô. Pentecostalism is frequently framed as the individualistic, psychologizing consequence of modernity (or post-modernity), while it constantly refers to an idea of Biblical tradition that is pre-modern: that of the Pentecostal gift or charisma. Finally, one could also argue that such dilemmas and paradoxes stem from an all-encompassing understanding of ‚ÄėPentecostalism‚Äô as an umbrella term that covers highly disparate expressions.

In this workshop we intend to complexify these dilemmas from a specific perspective: that of the diasporization of Pentecostal movements and the consequent processes of subversion, inversion and redefinition it spouts, especially in what concerns political and experiential domains. These processes, guided by the act of mobility, affect church members – as believers and migrants – in their quotidian, day-to-day life, but also in terms of morality, aspirations and self-conceptions. If migration is, by definition, a life-changing experience, how does it couple with conversion narratives and moral aspirations produced within Pentecostal communities? The question remains open: can we talk about a ‚Äėdiasporic pentecostalism‚Äô in the same terms as others have talked about ‚Äėdiasporic religions‚Äô? What are the implications of this in terms of ‚Äėzones‚Äô of anthropological comparison (African, South American, Melanesian Pentecostalisms, etc.)? Possible themes for this workshop could be:

– Gender and Christian pluralism: spaces of confrontation and adaptation;

– Transporting or discovering Pentecostalism: debating trajectories of belief and adherence;

– (Re)defining moral territories and moral communities in transnational perspective;

– Spaces of subversion versus spaces of continuity in diasporic context;

– Rethinking ‚Äėtradition‚Äô and ‚Äėculture‚Äô in diasporic contexts: Christianity and Pentecostalism as agents of traditionalization.


Wednesday, 12th March

10.00-10.30 Welcome, coffee

10.30-11.30 Ruy Blanes: Introduction: subversions, inversions, redefinitions

11.30-12.00 Discussion

12.00-13.00 Lunch

13.00-14.00 Rijk van Dijk: Pentecostalism, Institutional Social Mobility and the Reformulation of Relationships: the case of Botswana

14.00-15.00 Katrin Maier:¬†‚ÄúIf your husband is backing you up, you can go anywhere!‚ÄĚ Female Agency Through Submission to Male Authority in Nigerian Pentecostalism in London

15.00-15.30 Discussion

Thursday, 13th March

10.00-11.00 Ma√Įt√© Maskens:¬†Combating and reproducing ‚Äėhegemonic masculinity‚Äô: the Pentecostal reworking of male identities in Brussels

11.00-12.00 Mar Griera and Rafael Cazarín: Gendered religious gifts? Spiritual biographies of Pentecostal women in migratory contexts in South Africa and Spain

12.00-12.30 Discussion

12.00-13.00 Lunch

13.00-14.00 Geraldine Mossière: Discourses on gender among young African Pentecostals in Montreal: Intersecting experiences of transnationality and representations of locality

14.00-15.00 Kim Knibbe: Charisma, Risk and gender in mission and migration

15.00-15.30 Discussion

Friday, 14th March

10.00-12.00 Final discussion

Administered by: University of Bergen, Department of Social Anthropology, PO box: 7802, NO-5020 Bergen,
Phone: +47 55 58 92 50 , E-mail: