Pentecostal pastorhood as calling and career: migration, religion, and masculinity

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This article explores the intertwining of migration and religion in the lives of migrant Kenyan men who have become Pentecostal pastors in London. Drawing on the spiritual careers of several pastors, I suggest that pastorhood be understood as a gendered means of social mobility. As pastors, these men attain a status that is socially and culturally intelligible in London and Kenya. At the same time, given that status is contingent upon recognition, the article also examines how pastorhood helps them navigate the challenges and inconsistencies of their lived experiences, such as, a competitive religious marketplace and hostility in London, and the high expectations of those in Kenya. Rather than viewing religion as compensatory, I argue that Pentecostalism offers a ‘site of action’, to use Ruth Marshall’s phrase, in which they can (re-)make themselves as ‘new’ men and (re-)position themselves vis-à-vis the multiple social worlds they inhabit.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)749-766
JournalJournal of the Royal Anthropological Institute
Issue number4
Early online date2 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018


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