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<nettime> The Spiritual Economy of Latin America
Ken Jordan on Sun, 26 Oct 2003 07:49:44 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> The Spiritual Economy of Latin America

This may not be appropriate to post to Nettime, but I stumbled across this
book and was so amazed I had to check the website of the publisher to be
sure it wasn't a parody. And it's not. Rather, it's an actual new release
from Oxford University Press. Here's the catalog copy from the website, and
for those who want to go to the source, the URL is at the bottom of this

Competitive Spirits
Latin America's New Religious Economy
R. ANDREW CHESNUT, University of Houston

R. Andrew Chesnut shows how the development of religious pluralism over the
past half-century has radically transformed the "spiritual economy" of Latin
America. In order to thrive in this new religious economy, says Chesnut,
Latin American spiritual "firms" must develop an attractive product and know
how to market it to popular consumers. Three religious groups, he
demonstrates, have proven to be the most skilled competitors in the new
unregulated religious economy. Protestant Pentecostalism, the Catholic
Charismatic Renewal, and African diaspora religions such as Brazilian
Candomble and Haitian Vodou have emerged as the most profitable religious
producers. Chesnut explores the general effects of a free market, such as
introduction of consumer taste and product specialization, and shows how
they have played out in the Latin American context. He notes, for example,
that women make up the majority of the religious consumer market, and
explores how the three groups have developed to satisfy women's tastes and
preferences. Moving beyond the Pentecostal boom and the rise and fall of
liberation theology, Chesnut provides a fascinating portrait of the Latin
American religious landscape.


Ken Jordan
ken {AT} kenjordan.tv

"Be as if." - Andrew Boyd 

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