Posts Tagged ‘masculinity’

Flores, “God’s Gangs”

November 4, 2013

Flores, Edward Orozco. 2013. God’s Gangs: Barrio Ministry, Masculinity, and Gang Recovery. New York: NYU Press.

Release Date: December 11, 2013

Publisher’s Description: Los Angeles is the epicenter of the American gang problem. Rituals and customs from Los Angeles’ eastside gangs, including hand signals, graffiti, and clothing styles, have spread to small towns and big cities alike. Many see the problem with gangs as related to urban marginality—for a Latino immigrant population struggling with poverty and social integration, gangs offer a close-knit community. Yet, as Edward Orozco Flores argues in God’s Gangs, gang members can be successfully redirected out of gangs through efforts that change the context in which they find themselves, as well as their notions of what it means to be a man.  Flores here illuminates how Latino men recover from gang life through involvement in urban, faith-based organizations. Drawing on participant observation and interviews with Homeboy Industries, a Jesuit-founded non-profit that is one of the largest gang intervention programs in the country, and with Victory Outreach, a Pentecostal ministry with over 600 chapters, Flores demonstrates that organizations such as these facilitate recovery from gang life by enabling gang members to reinvent themselves as family men and as members of their community. The book offers a window into the process of redefining masculinity. As Flores convincingly shows, gang members are not trapped in a cycle of poverty and marginality. With the help of urban ministries, such men construct a reformed barrio masculinity to distance themselves from gang life.

Webster, “The Anthropology of Protestantism”

June 12, 2013

Webster, Joseph. 2013. The Anthropology of Protestantism: Faith and Crisis among Scottish Fishermen. New York: Palgrave MacMillan.

Publisher’s Description: Narrowing in from the broader context of the north Atlantic, through northern Europe, to Britain, northeast Scotland, and finally the fishing village of Gamrie, this anthropology of Protestantism examines millennialist faith and economic crisis. Through his ethnographic study of the fishermen and their religious beliefs, Webster speaks to larger debates about religious radicalism, materiality, economy, language, and the symbolic. These debates (occurring within the ostensibly secular context of contemporary Scotland) also call into question assumptions about the decline of religion in modern industrial societies. By chronicling how these individuals experience life as “enchanted,” this book explores the global processes of religious conversion, economic crisis, and political struggle.

van Klinken, “Imitation as Transformation of the Male Self How an Apocryphal Saint Reshapes Zambian Catholic Men”

June 11, 2013

van Klinken, Adriaan. 2013. Imitation as Transformation of the Male Self How an Apocryphal Saint Reshapes Zambian Catholic Men. Cahiers d’études africaines 1-2(209-210): 119-142.

Abstract: St Joachim, who according to the apocryphal Protoevangelium Jacobi is the father of Mary, the mother of Jesus, is the patron saint of a Catholic Men’s Organization in Zambia which promotes him as model of Catholic manhood. Through a case study of this organization, this article explores the intersections of religion, men and masculinity in a contemporary African Catholic context, in relation to broader discussions on African masculinities. The focus is on the practice of imitation of St Joachim and its effects on masculinity as the symbolic, discursive and performative construction of embodied male gender identity. Two theoretical concepts inform the analysis, being the notion of imitation as a hermeneutical process and Michel Foucault’s conceptualization of the technologies or hermeneutics of the self. The article shows how a sacred text is mobilized and inspires a communal imitative practice through which men are shaped, and shape themselves, after a religious ideal of masculinity.

Samson, “Reading Images of Christ”

April 10, 2013

Samson, Judith.  2013.  Reading Images of Christ: Masculinity and Homosexuality as Sites of Struggle in Popular Religious Images of Jesus.  Religion and Gender 2(2): 280-304.

Abstract:  The attitude towards homosexuality has become one of the key markers of political identity. In Europe as well as in Northern America it has been used by different groups to promote their views. Especially between fundamentalist Christians and politically as well as religiously liberal people it has become a significant topic of contestation. This article argues that this struggle not only takes place on a textual, but also on a visual discursive level, in which the image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is central. An analysis of the representation of Jesus’ masculinity in this image shows that different groups, Polish fundamentalists at a pilgrimage site and liberal American producers of a satiric website, use different versions of the same image to either counter or support public acceptance of homosexuality.

Thomson, “Christianity, Islam, and ‘The Religion of Pouring’: Non-linear Conversion in a Gambia/Casamance Borderland”

October 10, 2012

Thomson, Steven (2012) “Christianity, Islam, and ‘The Religion of Pouring’: Non-linear Conversion in a Gambia/Casamance Borderland.” Journal of Religion in Africa 42(3):240-276 

Abstract: The twentieth-century religious history of the Kalorn (Karon Jolas) in the Alahein River Valley of the Gambia/Casamance border cannot be reduced to a single narrative. Today extended families include Muslims, Christians, and practitioners of the traditional Awasena ‘religion of pouring’. A body of funeral songs highlights the views of those who resisted pressure toward conversion to Islam through the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s. The introduction of a Roman Catholic mission in the early 1960s created new social and economic possibilities that consolidated an identity that stood as an alternative to the Muslim-Mandinka model. This analysis emphasizes the equal importance of both macropolitical and economic factors and the more proximal effects of reference groups in understanding religious conversion. Finally, this discussion of the origins of religious pluralism within a community grants insight into how conflicts along religious lines have been defused.

Klinken, “Men in the Remaking: Conversion Narratives and Born-Again Masculinity in Zambia”

October 9, 2012

Klinken, Adriaan (2012) “Men in the Remaking: Conversion Narratives and Born-Again Masculinity in Zambia” Journal of Religion in Africa 42 (3): 215-239 

Abstract: The born-again discourse is a central characteristic of Pentecostal Christianity in Africa. In the study of African Christianities, this discourse and the way it (re)shapes people’s moral, religious, and social identities has received much attention. However, hardly any attention has been paid to its effects on men as gendered beings. In the study of men and masculinities in Africa, on the other hand, neither religion in general nor born-again Christianity in particular are taken into account as relevant factors in the construction of masculinities. On the basis of a detailed analysis of interviews with men who are members of a Pentecostal church in Lusaka, Zambia, this article investigates how men’s gender identities are reshaped by becoming and being born-again and how born-again conversion produces new forms of masculinity. The observed Pentecostal transformation of masculinity is interpreted in relation to men’s social vulnerability, particularly in the context of the HIV epidemic in Zambia.

van Klinken (2011) The Homosexual as the Antithesis of “Biblical Manhood”? Heteronormativity and Masculinity Politics in Zambian Pentecostal Sermons

March 15, 2012

Adriaan van Klinken (2011). The Homosexual as the Antithesis of “Biblical Manhood”? Heteronormativity and Masculinity Politics in Zambian Pentecostal Sermons. Journal of Gender and Religion in Africa 17(2): 126-42.

Abstract:

This article offers a critical analysis of a series of sermons entitled Fatherhood in the 21st Century preached in a Zambian Pentecostal church, in which homosexuality is an explicit theme. The sermons are discussed in relation to the broader controversy on homosexuality in African Christianity. While it is often suggested that African Christian leaders actively oppose same-sex relationships in order to profile themselves in local and global contexts, the case study reveals an additional factor. Homosexuality is also used in the politics of gender, particularly masculinity, within the church. The references to homosexuality in the sermons create a counter-image of the
promoted ideal of “biblical manhood”. A stereotypical homosexual is constructed, who embodies two of the main features of Zambian men: their preoccupation with sexuality and their indifference towards the male role they are to play. This article reveals the heteronormative politics and theology underpinning “biblical manhood” and points to the problematic consequences thereof in relation to HIV&AIDS. It also suggests how to interrogate and rethink “biblical manhood” from the perspective of queer theology.

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