Pentecostalism, Masculinity, and the Politics of Spiritual Authority in the Dominican Republic
Brendan Jamal Thornton
Caribbean Studies Association Barbara T. Christian Literary Award
“A much-needed ethnography that reorientates cultural understandings of Christianity and Dominican culture in poor, marginalized, and discriminated communities.”—Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute
“Adds nuance to the literature on identity and religion in Latin America.”—Journal of Anthropological Research
“Offers a rich and insightful ethnographic contribution to our understanding of Pentecostalism and masculinity in the Dominican Republic, and it provides valuable insight into how religion, masculinity and economic changes are reshaping specific places whilst being tied into vast, global movements.”—Marginalia Review of Books
“A welcome and overdue ethnographic account of Christian Pentecostal ‘evangélicos’ in poor barrios of the Dominican Republic. . . . Thornton unpacks the very unlikely and unspoken alliance forged between urban gangs and Protestant churches.”—Anthropos
“Vivid biographical sketches and interview material provide compelling evidence of [a] gendered ideal of conversion and its social consequences.”—New West Indian Guide
“An accessible book for those who are new to the fields of Latin American studies, Pentecostalism, or religious studies in general. Negotiating Respect demonstrates the value of ethnographic studies of Pentecostalism, as they continue to provide important insights for the study of religion.”—Reading Religion
“Thornton convincingly demonstrates the power and rootedness of Pentecostalism in the tangible benefits of social efficacy and ‘respect’ while relativizing the religious movement within a wider array of Dominican, and more broadly Caribbean, religious practices.”—AnthroCyBib
"Breaks new ground by virtue of its thorough exploration of the ongoing negotiations of Pentecostal masculine identities."—Martin Lindhardt, author of Power in Powerlessness: A Study of Pentecostal Life Worlds in Urban Chile
"Provides important insights about why men convert to Pentecostalism, how they derive authority and status in Pentecostal churches, and how at the same time they reaffirm their claims to local ideals of masculinity."—Elizabeth Brusco, author of The Reformation of Machismo: Evangelical Conversion and Gender in Colombia
"A nuanced portrait of born-again life . . . illuminates the Roman Catholic shaping of Dominican nationalism including its anti-Haitianism, evangelical masculinity, and the possibilities for gaining respect that Pentecostalism offers to entrenched gang members."—Elizabeth McAlister, coeditor of Race, Nation, and Religion in the Americas
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.
Brendan Jamal Thornton is an anthropologist and associate professor of religious studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
A volume in the series Latin American and Caribbean Arts and Culture, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
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Barbara T. Christian Literary Award - 2017
An accessible book for those who are new to the fields of Latin American studies, Pentecostalism, or religious studies in general. Negotiating Respect demonstrates the value of ethnographic studies of Pentecostalism, as they continue to provide important insights for the study of religion.
Adds nuance to the literature on identity and religion in Latin America.
--Journal of Anthropological Research
A welcome and overdue ethnographic account of Christian Pentecostal "evangélicos" in poor barrios of the Dominican Republic. . . . Thornton unpacks the very unlikely and unspoken alliance forged between urban gangs and Protestant churches.