9780520260627

City of God: Christian Citizenship in Postwar Guatemala (The Anthropology of Christianity)

O'Neill, Kevin Lewis

ISBN 10: 0520260627 / 0-520-26062-7
ISBN 13: 9780520260627
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication Date: 2009
Binding: Hardcover
Editorial Reviews for this title:
Synopsis:
In Guatemala City today, Christianity isn't just a belief system--it is a counterinsurgency. Amidst postwar efforts at democratization, multinational mega-churches have conquered street corners and kitchen tables, guiding the faithful to build a sanctified city brick by brick. Drawing on rich interviews and extensive fieldwork, Kevin Lewis O'Neill tracks the culture and politics of one such church, looking at how neo-Pentecostal Christian practices have become acts of citizenship in a new, politically relevant era for Protestantism. Focusing on everyday practices--praying for Guatemala, speaking in tongues for the soul of the nation, organizing prayer campaigns to combat unprecedented levels of crime--O'Neill finds that Christian citizenship has re-politicized the faithful as they struggle to understand what it means to be a believer in a desperately violent Central American city. Innovative, imaginative, conceptually rich, City of God reaches across disciplinary borders as it illuminates the highly charged, evolving relationship between religion, democracy, and the state in Latin America.

Review:
"A significant study of religion and power by a probing and caring anthropologist. Full of surprising insights, City of God is a must-read for anyone concerned with the possibilities and limits of political theology in a volatile 21st century."—João Biehl, author of Vita: Life in a Zone of Social Abandonment

City of God is a rich and gracefully written ethnography of Pentecostal Christians in today's Guatemala which shows how a disciplined self, constituted in daily devotional activities, is believed to be pertinent not only for individual well-being but the soul of the nation. With its concept of 'Christian citizenship,' it is also a significant theoretical contribution to the anthropology of religion. The book deserves to be read widely by students of anthropology, Central America, Christianity and religion more generally.”—Steve Caton, author of Yemen Chronicle: An Anthropology of War and Mediation

“A groundbreaking ethnography of Christian citizenship and subject formation in the neo-liberal era. O'Neill focuses on what evangelical Christians in Guatemala City actually do, by way of a close study of Church ceremonies, cell group meetings, interviews, direct daily observation and close readings of the voluminous mass-media products. The result is a thoroughly innovative study of the way in which social circumstance and politics are internalized. We will be feeling the aftershocks of the movement that is so sensitively studied in this book for years to come.”—Claudio Lomnitz, author of Death and the Idea of Mexico

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