King's Evangelical Divinity School

3 January 2010

Pentecostal presence, power and politics in Latin America

I just had an article published in the Journal of Beliefs and Values: Studies in Religion and Education (the official journal of the Association of University Lecturers in Religion and Education) entitled "Pentecostal presence, power and politics in Latin America". It forms part of an entire edition devoted to an academic treatment of global Pentecostalism, edited by William K. Kay. Details of the other articles and contributors can be found here. At some stage this year copyright rules permit me to post a version of the article on my website, but for now find below an abstract of the paper and keywords. The typeset PDF version can be purchased direct from Taylor and Francis (see link above).


Prior to the 1980s political scientists had by and large dismissed religion as a determinant of political behaviour. Yet sociologists and political scientists were forced to re-evaluate secularisation theories in light of various events on the geopolitical stage involving religion throughout that decade. Significant among these was the explosion of Pentecostalism across Latin America in the 1980s, leading to a boom in academic research keen to explore the social and political impact of this phenomenon. This article traces the rise and identifies the various expressions of Latin American Pentecostalism, together with its political responses across the continent, arguing that perceptions of Latin American Pentecostalism as homogenous and inherently conservative lack nuance and indeed are essentially flawed. In fact, Latin American Pentecostal political responses are diverse, depending on circumstance, Pentecostal expression, country or region, and demographics.

Keywords: Latin America; Pentecostalism; politics; society; religion

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