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Negotiating Respect : Pentecostalism, Masculinity, and the Politics of Spiritual Authority in the

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“Provides important insights about why men convert to Pentecostalism, how they derive authority and status in Pentecostal churches, and how at the same time they reaffirm their claims to local ideals of masculinity.”—Elizabeth Brusco, author ofThe Reformation of Machismo: Evangelical Conversion and Gender in Colombia“An ethnographically vivid depiction of an unlikely partnership—of Evangelical churches and Dominican gangs which not only coexist but create a religious ecology where gangs celebrate evangelical holiness and Evangelicals vicariously celebrate the machismo violence of gangs.”—Jon Bialecki, University of EdinburghNegotiating Respect is an ethnographically rich investigation of Pentecostal Christianity—the Caribbean’s fastest growing religious movement—in the contemporary Dominican Republic.Within the context of urban poverty in a barrio of Villa Altagracia, Brendan Jamal Thornton considers the role of religious identity in the lives of young male churchgoers who navigate conversion as a transformative means of status acquisition, authority, and transition out of gang life. Thornton shows that conversion offers both spiritual and practical social value because it provides a strategic avenue for prestige and an acceptable way to transcend personal history.

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