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Forbidden Revolutions: David Martin’s Encounter with Pentecostalism

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Maxwell, David 


Abstract: This article illuminates how David Martin’s engagement with Pentecostalism represented a significant turning point in his career in both personal and academic terms. It allowed him to come to terms with his own Methodist ‘revivalist childhood’ and to generate new insights into his pre-existing concerns: insights into the sociological method, the relation of religion to politics, the modernity of religion, and the secularisation thesis. In particular, it brought new energy to his continuing mission to persuade his own sociological profession, along with a liberal-minded intelligentsia, to see the social and political significance of contemporary religious expressions. David wrote with profundity and poignancy about the mentalities and aspirations of ordinary Pentecostal adherents, aware that communities of the poor across the globe aspired to an all-around ‘betterment’ from on high. His research and mentoring of young scholars inspired those pioneering the anthropology of Christianity in the early 2000s and prompted interventions in debates on the nature of World Christianity.


Funder: University of Cambridge


Symposium: The Achievement of David Martin, Anthropology of Christianity, Betterment, Latin America, Pentecostalism, Politics, Power, World Christianity

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Springer US