Posts Tagged ‘culture’

Miller, “The Age of Evangelicalism”

March 4, 2014

Miller, Steven P.  2014.  The Age of Evangelicalism: America’s Born-Again Years.  Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Publisher’s Description: For years, evangelicalism has figured prominently in the American cultural and political landscape, seen everywhere from the election of openly devout President George W. Bush to the wild popularity of Christian self-help books and end-times thrillers like the Left Behind series and prompting sociologist Alan Wolfe to write, in 2003, ”We are all evangelicals now.” In fact, Wolfe responded not at the emergence or height of the phenomenon, but near its conclusion. Evangelical Christianity became central to American culture over several decades, beginning as early as the 1970s, but by 2008, that historical moment was ending.

Steven P. Miller offers an in-depth exploration of the place and meaning of evangelical Christianity in the United States between 1970 and 2008, America’s born-again years, when evangelical Christianity entered the American mainstream in ways both obviously and subtly influential. The Age of evangelicalism began in the 1970s, propelled by the rapid ascendance of an avowedly born-again president, Jimmy Carter, and the equally rapid emergence of the Christian Right. It climaxed three decades later with the presidential campaigns of George W. Bush, who synthesized Carter’s Jesus talk and the Christian Right’s cultural activism. During this period, the influence of evangelical Christianity extended well beyond its churches. Evangelicalism-broad enough to include both Hal Lindsey’s best-selling 1970 prophecy guide, The Late, Great Planet Earth and, thirty years later, Tammy Faye Bakker Messner’s emergence as a gay icon-meant that it influenced even its many detractors and bemused bystanders, who resided in an increasingly secular nation.

During the Age of Evangelicalism, Miller demonstrates, born-again Christianity was far from a subculture. It provided a language, medium, and foil by which millions of Americans came to terms with the end of the ”American Century.”

Daswani, “Global Pentecostal Networks and the problem of Culture: The Church of Pentecost in Ghana and Abroad.”

October 9, 2012

Daswani, Girish (202) “Global Pentecostal Networks and the problem of Culture: The Church of Pentecost in Ghana and Abroad.” in Michael Wilinson, ed, Global Pentecostal Movements: Migration, Mission, and Public Religion. Leiden: Brill. Pp 71-92

First Paragraph: Many have written on how Pentecostalism travels the globe and how it has become a force to be reckoned with in our contemporary world. For example, Pentecostalism possesses what Thomas Csordas (2007) callas a “transposable message” of salvation, and “portable practices” that included prayer, speaking in tongues and prophecy – homogenizing forms that travel across space and time through processes of missionization, migration, mobility, and mediation. Joel Robbins (2004, 117) discussed how Pentecostalism successfully adapted itself to the range of cultures in which it is introduced through a processes of replication and indigenizing difference. He calls these two descriptions of global Pentecostalism, global homogenization adn indigenizing difference, contradictory assertions that are useful in explaining its success (119). Similarly, according to Simon Coleman (2010, 800), Pentecostalism in its global form constitutes what he calls “part cultures, presenting worldviews meant for export that are holistic in one sense but, as we have seen, also in tension with the values of any given host society.” While Pentecostalism can be described as both global in its reach and local in its application, adapting to the tensions between its own values and those of its host societies and cultures, I seek to revisit how we may understand the “global” in the globalization of Pentecostalism through one church’s expanding networks and the simultaneous tensions and limits that arise from its engagement with “culture.”

Coleman, “Christianities in Oceania”

June 5, 2012

Coleman, Simon. 2012. Christianities in Oceania: Historical Genealogies and Anthropological Insularities. Archives de sciences sociales des religions. 157(1): 13-28.

Abstract: I explore the themes contained in this special issue by asking how papers prompt us to ask: What difference does Christianity make—to “culture”, to relations with the state or nation, to the self? This question must be inflected by the realization that Christianity has a long-standing history in Oceania, and has become part of the religio-political landscape that contemporary believers inhabit and sometimes react against. Posing the question also involves an examination of how papers juxtapose versions of history (broader processes of reproduction and transformation over time) with religiously-motivated historiographies (how Christians themselves understand and construct the present in relation to the past). I use these reflections to argue for the usefulness of exploring distinctions and resonances among three orientations towards culture discernible in the papers as a whole: those of being “of”, “against” and “for” culture.

Ono, Akiko (2012) “You gotta throw away culture once you become Christian: How ‘culture’ is Redefined among Aboriginal Pentecostal Christians in Rural New South Wales” Oceania 82(1): 74-85

March 21, 2012

Ono, Akiko (2012) “You gotta throw away culture once you become Christian: How ‘culture’ is Redefined among Aboriginal Pentecostal Christians in Rural New South Wales” Oceania 82(1): 74-85

Abstract : This paper is an ethnographic and historical exploration of Aboriginal Pentecostalism, which permeated quickly into the Aboriginal community in rural New South Wales in Australia during the early twentieth century. Today the Aboriginal Pentecostal Christians in this region renounce Aboriginal ‘culture’. This, however, does not mean they reject Aboriginality. By examining Malcolm Calley’s ethnography on the mid-twentieth century Pentecostal movement in this region and drawing upon my own fieldwork data, I show the way in which this group of Aboriginal Christians of mixed descent in a ‘settled’ part of Australia have maintained Aboriginality and reinforced attachment to the community through faith in the Christian God, whilst, paradoxically, developing strong anti-culture and anti-tradition discourses. This paper advocates shifting the study of social change from a dichotomised model that opposes invading moral orders against resisting traditional cultures, to one that examines the processual manifestations of the historical development of vernacular realities.

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