Youth and Pentecostal Identity: A Case Study on the Periphery of Rio De Janeiro - Brazil

Monday, 16 July 2018: 17:45
Oral Presentation
Alexander MAGALHÃES, CEFET-RJ, Brazil
This paper aims to present a form of specific identification, which we call the "assembleiana youth identity," which invokes a "classical" Pentecostal symbology, tracing the centennial trajectory of its church Assembly of God. It is the second oldest Pentecostal church in Brazil and the first in number of followers - if affirming as a kind of resistance to the so-called "postmodern" identities, marked by fluidity and multiplicity. The research originates from a case study with members of a Pentecostal Assembly of God (age 14-24) located in São João de Meriti, in the city of Baixada Fluminense, metropolitan region of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Such identity is visible by two main characteristics: the (negotiated) observance of so-called uses and customs - which come from a whole theological tradition, but are more visible in the clothing and habits of daily life - as well as resistance to values considered as "temporal (mundane)", which is a category constructed from the opposition of what is "God (sacred)". This identity encourages young people to establish their diverse forms of sociability among the believers separated from the "world" but together in the "body of Christ." However, it differs from what I called an "Assembleiana identity", since it intends to dialogue with the specific characteristics of the youth condition of the Brazilian popular social class, trying to deal with the difficulties and typical dilemmas of this group, but without marking its identity according to the precepts of the previously mentioned church. The methodology used in this paper was a combination of in-depth interviews, participant observation in religious cults and a survey of the church's youth members.