Maskens, “The Pentecostal reworking of male identities in Brussels”

Maskens, Maïté.  2015. The Pentecostal reworking of male identities in Brussels: producing moral masculinities.  Etnográfica 19(2): 323-345.

Abstract: Addressing the paradoxes of gender in Pentecostal churches attended by converts of African or Latin-American origin in Brussels, it is argued that religious and migratory experiences are intimately intermingled in these spaces and that, in most cases, the geographical shift experienced by male believers has led to questions regarding their “traditional” masculinity. Their capacity to hold the role of breadwinner has often been undermined and they experience a kind of vulnerability against which religious gendered ideology often provides assurance and self-esteem by affirming men as heads of the religious space and chiefs of the household unit. Pentecostal masculinity, although adhering to a model of hegemonic patriarchal masculinity regarding the sexual division of domestic tasks, the recognition of men’s formal authority, and an exclusive focus on young women as the purity “capital” of churches, also reveals significant ruptures with that model: religious discourse values domestic involvement, sensibility and gentleness, encouraged and valorised as masculine characteristics. This hybrid posture of Pentecostal masculinity appears as a contrasted gender repertoire allowing men of the church to oscillate between various identifications and social locations according to specific situations and different contexts of enunciation.