Negotiating Evangelicalism and Pentecostalism

Global Entanglements, Identity Politics and the Future of Pentecostal Studies


  • Giovanni Maltese University of Hamburg
  • Judith Bachmann Universität Heidelberg
  • Katja Rakow Universiteit Utrecht



Pentecostal studies, Evangelicalism, identity politics, local negotiations, global entanglements, discourse, hegemony, antagonism, knowledge production, equivalential chains


Pentecostal studies seems to be caught in a deadlock with regard to its subject matter of research. Most definitions of Pentecostalism appear either too broad or too narrow compared with the inclusive sense in which "Pentecostalism" is used in academia. Scholars admit that Pentecostal is a "fuzzy category", but still, they opt for a combination of essentialist definitions, rarely investigating whether their empirical data could open up fresh perspectives on how to conceptualize the subject matter of Pentecostal studies. Others postulate a "Pentecostalization" of Christianity and/or tend to dissolve Pentecostal studies into the study of Evangelicalism and/or Catholicism for other reasons. Still others prefer to speak of Pentecostalisms in the plural or seem to have given up on finding a consensus. The introduction to this special issue proposes an alternative approach. Drawing on Michael Bergunder's work, it suggests to conceptualize Pentecostalism as a name that keeps together various equivalential chains. As the articles collected in this special issues show, this means to investigate the meaning "Pentecostalism" assumes in specific research contexts as product of local identity politics and analyse its entanglement in a global discourse about "Pentecostalism".

Author Biographies

  • Giovanni Maltese, University of Hamburg

    Giovanni Maltese is assistant professor of religious studies and global christianity at the Faculty of Humanities, University of Hamburg. His research focuses on religion and politics with a special interest in global Pentecostalism and reformist Islam, history of religion in Southeast Asia, and theory and methods of religious studies.

  • Judith Bachmann, Universität Heidelberg

    Judith Bachmann is a research and teaching fellow at the Department of Religious Studies and Intercultural Theology, University of Heidelberg, Germany. She has studied at the University of Heidelberg, the University of Leipzig (Germany) and the University of Gloucestershire (UK), and has received a diploma in Protestant Theology from the University of Heidelberg. Her current project concerns the study of witchcraft concepts among Christians and Muslims in Ibadan, Nigeria. She is particularly interested in Pentecostalism and Islam in Africa.

  • Katja Rakow, Universiteit Utrecht

    Katja Rakow is associate professor of religious studies at the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies of Utrecht University. Her research focuses on megachurches in the US and Singapore, with a special interest in material religion and the transcultural dynamics of religious practices and discourses.


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How to Cite

Maltese, G., Bachmann, J., & Rakow, K. (2019). Negotiating Evangelicalism and Pentecostalism: Global Entanglements, Identity Politics and the Future of Pentecostal Studies. PentecoStudies, 18(1), 7-19.