Negotiation Processes of “Pentecostal” and “Evangelical” Identity in Costa Rica


  • Nora Kurzewitz University of Heidelberg



Pentecostalism, Catholic Charismatic Renewal, Catholic Church, Evangelicalism, Evangelical Alliance, Costa Rica, Latin America


Pentecostal identity in Costa Rica is determined by its relationship to Catholicism. Those who currently are referred to as "Pentecostal" refer to themselves as "Evangelical" or as "Christian". Thus they distinguish themselves from Catholics, whom they pejoratively call "religious". This boundary creates a sense of identity for Evangelical Pentecostals and non-Pentecostals. At the same time, Evangelical Pentecostals are connected with Catholic Pentecostals in local history and present local discourse. Unravelling these complex name politics, this article illustrates how political dynamics on the local level along with their global entanglement shape Pentecostal self-understandings. It concludes that in order to study "Pentecostalism" adequately it is necessary not to operate with essentialist definitions but to contextualize it genealogically.

Author Biography

  • Nora Kurzewitz, University of Heidelberg

    Nora Kurzewitz is a PhD student of religious studies and intercultural theology at the University of Heidelberg in Germany. Her doctoral dissertation is based on field research in Costa Rica in 2015 and focuses on Pentecostalism and gender.


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How to Cite

Kurzewitz, N. (2019). Negotiation Processes of “Pentecostal” and “Evangelical” Identity in Costa Rica. PentecoStudies, 18(1), 79-98.