The rapid growth of new Pentecostal churches in the South West Pacific nation Vanuatu is the focus of this article. It is argued that we need to look at the social dimensions of new religious movements—the way that the social in itself becomes the key to a transformed life—in order to gain an understanding of these movements' significance and proliferation in this area. This does not imply that the religious in its ontological sense is not important, but that this might be inseparable from the social—the rules and regulations, the activities and meetings. In order to highlight this dimension of the new churches, the literature on the cargo movements from Melanesia is used as a comparative background.
In Search of Unity through the Holy Spirit in Vanuatu
AI, Humanoids, and Immortality
This article investigates new ethnography on AI development relating to imaginaries of technoscientific forms of immortality. As a Think Piece in Analytics, it engages in a somewhat experimental comparative endeavor as I set concepts from the ethnographic field of transhumanism in a comparative relation to concepts developed in the anthropological theory of Christianity, mainly Dumont's concept of the ‘individual-in-the-world’. I argue that through such a comparison we can understand recently developed ideas about the (technologically) immortal human being in a new light. The article points to how technoscientific immortality echoes core cultural themes, but it also considers a major difference in the perception of the social. When death is made redundant, the question of how sociality is reproduced moves center stage.
A Reconsideration of the Pentecostal Gender Paradox
In this article I discuss ‘the Pentecostal gender paradox’, famously coined by Bernice Martin. I do so by comparing Melanesian and Pentecostal forms of egalitarianism. My argument centers on the contention that in order for this paradox to emerge, specific concepts of equality and gender have to be kept fixed across contexts where they may not necessarily be stable. Pentecostalism has a specific effect on the role of women in the church, such as giving them access to the spirit, while also impacting on the notion of equality and ideas about the nature of gender. I conclude that in Pentecostalism gender is seen as an individual quality and that gender relations are viewed as power relations.
In Pursuit of the New Millennium
Bruce Kapferer, Annelin Eriksen, and Kari Telle
An approach is outlined toward imaginary projections upon presents and futures at the turn of the current millennium. The religiosity or the passionate intensity of commitment to imaginary projections is stressed, particularly the way that these may give rise to innovative social and political directions especially in current globalizing circumstances. While new religions of a millenarian character are referred to, the general concern is with the form of new conceptions of political and social processes that are by no means confined to what are usually defined as religions.