PentecoStudies, Vol 16, No 2 (2017)

Pentecostalism as Cultural Resistance: Music and Tongue-speaking as Collective Response in a Brooklyn Church

Peter Marina, Michael Wilkinson
Issued Date: 12 Dec 2017


Based on ethnographic research in an Afro-Caribbean Pentecostal Church in Brooklyn, this article focuses on Pentecostal music and tongue-speaking as a form of cultural resistance. At least in urban settings, Pentecostalism is a creative cultural response to collectively experienced structural problems. Scholars have demonstrated the institutional challenges for Pentecostalism including its moderating effect on tongue-speaking. This article explores how one congregation maintains vitality through the practice of speaking in tongues, music, and prayer, as a type of spiritual capital. Spiritual capital explains how Pentecostalism provides a unique form of power for members to show their own agency and resistance to institutionalization as well as structural subordination. This analysis provides a framework for understanding music, charisma, and religious vitality in a Pentecostal congregation and its relationship with the larger cultural context.

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DOI: 10.1558/ptcs.32822


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