Competitive Spirits: Latin America's New Religious Economy

By R. Andrew Chesnut | Go to book overview

6
Practical Consumers
The Success of Pneumacentric Religion
among Women

Since women constitute the great majority of religious practitioners in Latin America, any spiritual firm interested in prospering must develop and market products that appeal to the particular tastes and preferences of female consumers. This is not say that all Latin American women share a gendered religiosity. Gender identities can vary according to social class, ethnicity, nationality, region, and individual differences. Nevertheless, if the diasporan religions and Charismatic Christianity are thriving in the region, it is in large measure due to the popularity of their products among women from the popular classes. In this chapter I consider the reasons for the extraordinary success of these three religious groups among poor Latin American women.


Barely Visible

There is a surprising dearth of literature on the subject. Given the preponderance of women in Latin American faiths, one would expect a well-developed academic bibliography on women and religion in Latin America. Such is not the case, however, for several reasons. First, historically, most researchers have been men, who have been more likely to ignore or overlook the importance of women in religious enterprises. Second, studies of religion in Latin American have tended to focus on the ecclesiastical elite, primarily the clergy and, secondarily, on high-ranking lay leaders, who are often men.

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Competitive Spirits: Latin America's New Religious Economy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Acknowledgments v
  • Contents *
  • Competitive Spirits *
  • 1 - The New Temples of Religious Pluralism 3
  • 2 - Four Centuries of Religious Monopoly 17
  • 3 - An Anatomy of Pentecostal Success 39
  • 4 - The Catholic Charismatic Renewal 64
  • 5 - Religions of the African Diaspora 102
  • 6 - The Success of Pneumacentric Religion among Women 128
  • 7 - Ex Uno Plura (out of One, Many) 147
  • Notes 161
  • References 165
  • Index 171
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