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The Anthropology of Global Pentecostalism and Evangelicalism$
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Simon Coleman and Rosalind I. J. Hackett

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780814772591

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814772591.001.0001

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Sin, Sociality, and the Unbuffered Self in US Evangelicalism

(p.41) 1 Personhood
The Anthropology of Global Pentecostalism and Evangelicalism

Omri Elisha

NYU Press

This chapter draws on fieldwork on evangelical megachurches in Knoxville, Tennessee. Focusing on the social interactions and spiritual aspirations of a men's fellowship group, this chapter argues that these groups should not be read in solely individualistic terms, as only reinforcing Protestant ethics of self-discipline and self-actualization. As this ethnographic involvement in evangelicalism as a lived religion reveals, evangelicals are taught to become involved in the spiritual and emotional lives of others and to allow such involvement by others. This emphasis on what the chapter terms the “immersive sociality” of these relational networks and communities of practice thus challenges—without completely displacing—the long-standing popular and academic assumption that the values of evangelical theology are primarily individuating in their emphasis and effects.

Keywords:   evangelical megachurches, Knoxville, Tennessee, men's fellowship group, lived religion, immersive sociality, relational networks, communities of practice

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