6 Matching Annotations
  1. May 2020
    1. The article has two main consequential points: a) prosperity has a great teleological and symbolic role in Zambian Pentecostalism, but there are differences in the way it is articulated. For instance, the reality of economic and social inequality has to be negotiated within the prosperity gospel framework. b) The negotiation happens to a big extent within a set non-market gift economy of the Zambian society characterized by flows across social classes. "Prosperity" is a proxy for relative economic advancement, which is seen as way to advance those around you in an interdependent necessarily differentiated system. Encompassing surrounding non-believers in this network of prosperity is essential to converting them.

    2. Analyses linking Pentecostalism to the pursuit of personal gain through the breakdown of social relationships are problematic on at least two fronts. First, the vast majority of these studies are based largely, if not exclusively, on sermons and interviews with church leaders. While these are certainly an important part of any anthropological discussion of Pentecostal ritual life, in the absence of a robust ethnographic engagement with those who spend their time listening to these messages, it is impossible to determine the extent to which believers are putting their leaders' words into practice (see Engelke 2010).

      The author also harshly criticizes non-ethnographic qualitative studies solely based on sermons and interviews that try to argue for a individualizing, socially corrosive prosperity Pentecostalism without data that actually documents sociality.

    3. Using a very different theoretical approach, Robbins (2009a) suggests that one of the primary reasons for Pentecostal expansion among those most disenfranchised by late capitalism may very well be the ease with which this religion creates social cohesion despite the ‘institutional deficit’ of the neoliberal global order (B. Martin 1998: 117‐18

      This is very interesting to me because of the absence of the state and Catholic church, which led to the growth of prosperity gospel within the Brazilian lower classes. In other words, a clash between "pre-modern" and "post-modern". "Institutional deficit" is a key word coming from the available journal article Robbins (2009a). Martin (1998) is a book chapter that interested me a lot as well, and it is available at the library but not eletronically (maybe Libgen?).

    4. What is missing here is any serious consideration of the idea that the kind of processes Weber (1992 [1930]) attributed to modern Calvinist theology and practice – much less any kind of intentional social engagement (see Miller & Yamamori 2007) – might be evident in late‐modern Pentecostalism.

      This is a criticism of the materialism present in "occult economies" approaches to third-world Pentecostalism that uses Weber's classical work an argument for the efficacy and power of religion.

    5. Central to this interpretation has been Comaroff and Comaroff's work on ‘occult economies’ (Comaroff & Comaroff 1999; 2000), which situates the prosperity gospel alongside witchcraft accusations, rumours of zombies, and lurid tales of Faustian pacts with the Devil.

      Very similar folk tales are shared informally in Brazilian prosperity gospel churches of pacts with the Devil and witchcraft explaining mysterious economic events. Comaroff's mechanism of market fetishization is a very materialist and economicist explanation to prosperity gospel according to the article's author.

    6. Indeed, much has been said about the meteoric rise of this form of Christianity alongside the expansion of neoliberal reforms throughout the Global South.

      Is he saying political economy arguments of third-world Pentecostalism are very tired at this point? He confirms he prefers a more Weberian approach throughout.