The Pentecostal Architecture of Belonging: From Microdiversity to Layered Integration

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 15:30
Oral Presentation
Rafael CAZARIN, Department of Sociology, University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU, Spain
Every week, Pentecostal churches worldwide undertake multiple activities aimed at integrating worshippers into the so-called Kingdom of God. At every event, born-again Christians are invited to share similar practices that shape ways of being and feeling, while helping believers to navigate a social world often marked by xenophobia, distrust and marginalization. In this paper, I intend to examine these ‘ways’ by drawing upon fellowships encounters observed in African Pentecostal churches located in Johannesburg (South Africa) and Bilbao (Spain). I am concerned here with articulating the notions of belonging and integration as circumscribed at the activities organized by pastors and attended by migrants, according to particular social categories. As will be evidenced, the ‘breaking down’ of the congregation into smaller groups seems to rearrange the diversity of social and cultural backgrounds of worshipers under the auspices of African and Pentecostal ‘features’. In other words, existing social categories are reworked through inclusive and exclusive religious terms, such that one is able to experience belonging to the Kingdom of God, no matter where he or she is settled.