Item Details

Religious Return Mobility in Pentecostalized Kenya

Issue: Vol 20 No. 2 (2021)

Journal: PentecoStudies: An Interdisciplinary Journal for Research on the Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements

Subject Areas: Religious Studies

DOI: 10.1558/pent.41886


Based on extensive fieldwork in urban Kenya, this paper grapples with one thematic question and one conceptual question. On the thematic side, it considers the under-explored countertrend of Kenyans who, having turned to Pentecostalism, eventually return to their former, mainline-Protestant or Catholic denomination. Such reverting raises questions concerning personal attachments, social contexts and pressures, and the unidirectionality of born-again conversions. On the conceptual side, the paper frames this phenomenon using the notion of “return religious mobility”, which I propose is best suited to the lived-religion approach. More broadly, the paper emphasizes the ongoing relevance of people’s often-invisible religious histories, raising methodological and epistemological questions that go not only beyond formal membership binarism but also beyond the presentist bias as reflected through exclusive attention to de facto practice.

Author: Yonatan N. Gez

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