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Cultural Anthropology

PENTECOSTAL BODY LOGICS: Cultivating a Modern Sensorium

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ABSTRACT

Pentecostals put intensive study into bodies, texts, practices, and their interrelationships so as to effectively cultivate a sensory culture—sensorium—and invite authoritative religious experience. This ethnographic study follows a Pentecostal sensorium from its crucial institutionalization in early Assemblies of God practice to more contemporary manifestations at Bethany University and among the Promise Keepers. It traces the historical mutations of what I call the body logics—or portable sensory dynamics—that are central to Pentecostal pedagogies of conversion and commitment, especially in their relatively easy transposition to new contexts and ambivalent but productive relationship to modern secularity. Further, it argues that religiously inflected sensory aptitudes, and perhaps even mind–body dynamics, emerge through a process of careful cultivation and nurturance.

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