Violent Conversion

October 2016
10 black and white illustrations
248 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Religion in Transforming Africa
Library eBook
James Currey
BISAC REL079000, SOC032000, SOC002010

Violent Conversion

Brazilian Pentecostalism and Urban Women in Mozambique

Linda Van de Kamp

Examines Pentecostal conversion as a force of change, revealing new insights into its dominant role in global Christianity today.

There has been an extraordinary growth in Pentecostalism in Africa, with Brazilian Pentecostals establishing new transnational Christian connections, initiating widespread changes not only in religious practice but in society. This book describes its rise in Maputo, capital of Mozambique, and the sometimes dramatic impact of Pentecostalism on women. Here large numbers of urban women are taking advantage of the opportunities Pentecostalism offers to overcome restrictions at home, pioneer new life spaces and change their lives through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Yet, conversion can also mean a violent rupturing with tradition, with family and with social networks. As the pastors encourage women to cut their ties with the past, including ancestral spirits, they come to see their kin and husbands as imbued with evil powers, and many leave their families. Conquering spheres that used to be forbidden to them, they often live alone as unmarried women, sometimes earning more than men of a similar age. They are also expected to donate huge sums to the churches, often money that they can ill afford, bringing new hardships.

Linda van de Kamp is Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Table of Contents

Gender, Family and Social Transformations in Maputo
Transnational Spaces of Conquest
Moving Frontiers: the Generational Trajectories of Pentecostal Women
Converting the Spirit Spouse
Terapia do amor: Confrontational Public Love
'Holy Bonfires' and Campaigns
Conclusion: Violent Conversion


Van de Kamp's book provides a valuable insight into the multifaceted nature of religion, economics, and social relations in Mozambique. . . . [H]er text is not only an indispensable resource for scholars studying religion in Africa, but also for those researching global Christianity and Pentecostalism. READING RELIGION

One always stands to gain from studies that foreground the often overlooked lives of women and, moreover, women in the often overlooked Lusophone world. Violent Conversion deserves to be read by all interested in global Pentecostalism, religion and gender, religion and globalization, African studies, and Brazilian studies. PENTECO STUDIES

A vital contribution to discussions about Pentecostalism and the anthropology of Christianity, kinship and gender roles under neoliberalism, and urban studies in Mozambique. AMERICAN ETHNOLOGIST

Violent Conversions is, without doubt, mandatory reading for scholars of Christianity . [it] highlights the urgency of researching "religion" as a domain [that is a] central part of social life. The author shows how Pentecostalism is an agent - and not the result - of globalization. MANÁ

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