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Morality in the religious marketplace: Evangelical Christianity, Candomblé, and the struggle for moral distinction in Brazil

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ABSTRACT

Most of the research on the growth of evangelical Christianity in Latin America and elsewhere has focused on the distinctive products that evangelicals bring to the “religious marketplace” and on other competitive advantages that evangelical churches have over their religious rivals. Alternatively, on the basis of research among evangelical Christians and practitioners of African-derived Candomblé in northeastern Brazil, I examine the role of discourses about morality in encounters between two religions that, although often openly hostile to one another, draw adherents from similar socioeconomic circumstances. I argue that competing religious discourses play a central role in struggles for moral distinction in communities that are relatively homogeneous in terms of their social compositions. [Brazil, religion, Candomblé, Christianity, morality]

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