Going to ‘Pentecost’: how to study Pentecostalism – in Melanesia, for example
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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In this article, I question regional context as primary context in anthropological analyses. I argue that the idea of historical continuity in a geographical locality/region might prevent us from understanding not only radical change, but also more gradually emerging social patterns that connect the ethnography to very different kinds of histories and places. Concretely, I focus on the global Charismatic and Pentecostal movements, and as an experiment, I ask whether it is possible to go to ‘Pentecost’, instead of going to Melanesia. With ‘going to Pentecost’ as a heuristic device, I suggest it is possible to overcome methodological challenges in the study of global religious movements. In this article, I thus trace the practices and articulations of my interlocutors as part of a wider Pentecostal universe. I show how notions of seeing, borders, separations, and protection are crucial in ‘Pentecost’, and I connect this to key Christian ideas and values.