Romani Studies

Evangelical transformations of empowerment and female Romani pastors

Romani Studies (2021), 31, (2), 259–276.

Abstract

This article analyses the empowerment of Romani women in Pentecostal societies in Bulgaria, discussing their diverse experiences in church lives, their opportunities, and the limitations they have as spiritual leaders. Using case material from my ethnographic research, I examine how Pentecostalism intersects with gender dynamics. In presenting the voices of pastors’ wives and female leaders, I reveal their areas of action and participation in formal, or less formal, religious practices. The text suggests that performing miracles is one of the key elements of the transmission of respect from male to female pastors and represents an attempt to achieve a cultural change through the adoption of evangelical Christianity. Moreover, the woman’s involvement in harmonizing social relations between church members, and between evangelists and non-evangelists has become important for non-religious aspects of everyday life. The main goal of the article is to foster an open discussion on the transformations of empowerment and female leadership, which are less studied topics within the much-explored research area of Romani Pentecostalism.

Access Token
£25.00
READ THIS ARTICLE
If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

References

Alexander, Estrelda. 2013. Beautiful feet. Women leaders and the shaping of global Pentecostalism. In: Miller, Donald, Sargeant, Kimon, and Flory, Richard, eds. Spirit and power: The growth and global impact of Pentecostalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 225-41. Google Scholar

Baptist Herald. 1938. 15 November. http://www.nabarchives.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/BapHer1938Nov15.pdf, accessed 16 January 2021.2 Google Scholar

Bernal, Jorge M. Fernandez. 2014. Romani communities and churches in South America? In: Thurfjell, David, and Marsh, Adrian R., eds. Romani Pentecostalism: Gypsies and Charismatic Christianity. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang. 193-204. Google Scholar

Brusco, Elizabeth. 2010. Gender and power. In: Anderson, Allan, Bergunder, Michael, Droogers, André, and van der Laan, Cornelis, eds. Studying global Pentecostalism: Theories and methods. Berkeley, LA, London: University of California Press. 74-92. Google Scholar

Cantón-Delgado, Manuela, Marcos Montiel, Cristina, Medina Baena, Salvador, and Mena Cabezas, Ignacio. 2004. Gitanos pentecostales. Una mirada antropológica a la Iglesia Filadelfia en Andalucía. Sevilla: Signatura Demos. Google Scholar

Cantón-Delgado, Manuela, Toyansk, Marcos, and Jiménez-Royo, Javier. 2019. Suspicion and prejudice: The role of ideology in the study of Christian revival among the Roma. Social Compass 66 (4): 455-70. Google Scholar

Carrizo-Reimann, Agustina. 2011. The forgotten children of Abraham: Iglesia Evangelica Misionera Biblica Rom of Buenos Aires. Romani Studies 21 (2): 161-76. Google Scholar

Casselberry, Judith. 2017. The labor of faith. Gender and power in Black Apostolic Pentecostalism. Durham, NC; London: Duke University Press. Google Scholar

Cucchiari, Salvatore. 1990. Between shame and sanctification: Patriarchy and its transformation in Sicilian Pentecostalism. American Ethnologist 17 (4): 687-707. Google Scholar

Erolova, Yelis. 2017. Religious trends among Muslim Roma in Bulgaria. In: Kyuchukov, Hristo, and New, William, eds. Languages of resistance: Ian Hancock’s contribution to Romani Studies. München: Lincom. 301-17. Google Scholar

Fosztó, László. 2009. Ritual revitalization after socialism. Community, personhood, and conversion among Roma in a Transylvanian village. Berlin: Lit-Verlag. Google Scholar

Gay y Blasco, Paloma. 1999. Gypsies in Madrid: Sex, gender and the performance of identity. Oxford: Berg. Google Scholar

Gay y Blasco, Paloma. 2000. The politics of evangelism: Masculinity and religious conversion among Gitanos. Romani Studies 10 (1): 1-22. Google Scholar

Gay y Blasco, Paloma. 2012. Gender and Pentecostalism among the Gitanos of Madrid: Combining approaches. Romani Studies 22 (1): 1-18. Google Scholar

Gooren, Henri. 2010. Conversion narratives. In: Anderson, Allan, Bergunder, Michael, Droogers, André, and van der Laan, Cornelis, eds. Studying global Pentecostalism: Theories and methods. Berkeley, LA; London: University of California Press. 93-112. Google Scholar

Христова, Виолета. 2016. Ромката и библията. София: КСИ. Google Scholar

Marushiakova, Elena, and Popov, Veselin. 2014. The Gypsy religious revival movement: “New churches” in the territories of the former Soviet Union. In: Thurfjell, David, and Marsh, Adrian R., eds. Romani Pentecostalism: Gypsies and Charismatic Christianity. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang. 47-58. Google Scholar

Marushiakova, Elena, and Popov, Veselin 2015. The First Roma/Gypsy organisations, churches and newspapers. In: Kominko, Maya, ed. From dust to digital: Ten years of the endangered archives programme. Cambridge: Open Book Publishers. 258-93. Google Scholar

Marushiakova, Elena, and Popov, Veselin eds. 2021. Roma voices in history. A sourcebook. Roma civic emancipation in Central, South-Eastern and Eastern Europe from the 19th century until World War II. Leiden: Brill, Ferdinand Schöningh. Google Scholar

Nowicka, Ewa. 2014. Konwersja religijna i konwersja kulturowa. Romowie zielonoświątkowcy w Szafarach. Studia Humanistyczne AGH 13 (3): 165-83. Google Scholar

Ploscariu, Iemima. 2020. Faith church: Roma baptists challenging religious barriers in interwar Romania. Social Inclusion 8 (2): 316-26. Google Scholar

Podolinská, Tatiana. 2017a. Roma in Slovakia. Silent and invisible minority: Social networking and pastoral Pentecostal discourse as a case of giving voice and positive visibility. Slovenský Národopis/Slovak Ethnology 2 (65): 135-57. Google Scholar

Podolinská, Tatiana. 2017b. “Roma” label: The deconstructed and reconceptualized category within the Pentecostal and Charismatic pastoral discourse in contemporary Slovakia. Journal of Nationalism, Memory & Language Politics 11 (2): 146-80. Google Scholar

Podolinská, Tatiana, and Hrustič, Tomáš. 2010. Boh medzi bariérami. Sociálna inklúzia Rómov náboženskou cestou. Bratislava: Coreta, FSR & UEt SAV. Google Scholar

Podolinská, Tatiana, and Hrustič, Tomáš. 2014. Religious change and its effects on social change for Roma in Slovakia. Acta Ethnographica Hungarica 59 (1): 235-56. Google Scholar

Ries, Johhanes. 2007. I must love them with all my heart: Pentecostal mission and the Romani other. The Anthropology of East Europe Review 25 (2): 132-42. Google Scholar

Ries, Johhanes. 2010. Romany/Gypsy church or people of God? The dynamics of Pentecostal mission and Romany/Gypsy ethnicity management. In: Stewart, Michael, and Rövid, Márton, eds. Multi-disciplinary approaches to Romani Studies. Budapest: Central European University. 271-9. Google Scholar

Roht-Yilmaz, Eva-Liisa. 2020. A constant border-crossing: Conversion and evangelical charismatic Christian identity among the Roma in Estonia and Latvia. Romani Studies 30 (1): 89-113. Google Scholar

Roman, Raluca-Bianca. 2017. Body limited: Belief and (trans)formations of the body in a Pentecostal Roma community. Annual Review of the Sociology of Religion 8: 256-73. Google Scholar

Славкова, Магдалена. 2007a. Циганите евангелисти в България. София: Парадигма. Google Scholar

Slavkova, Magdalena. 2007b. Evangelical Gypsies in Bulgaria: Way of life and performance of identity. Romani Studies 17 (2): 205-46. Google Scholar

Slavkova, Magdalena. 2014. Prestige and identity construction of Pentecostal Roma in Bulgaria. In: Thurfjell, David, and Marsh, Adrian R., eds. Romani Pentecostalism: Gypsies and Charismatic Christianity. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang. 59-72. Google Scholar

Slavkova, Magdalena. 2017. Personalizing the Romani evangelical faith. In: Kyuchukov, Hristo and New, William, eds. Languages of resistance: Ian Hancock’s contribution to Romani Studies. München: Lincom. 318-25. Google Scholar

Slavkova, Magdalena. 2021. Everyday Pentecostalism in a Rudari family. In: Sorescu-Marinković, Annemarie, Kahl, Thede, and Sikimić, Biljana, eds. Boyash studies: Researching “our people.” Frank & Timme (Forum: Rumänien). 161-78. Google Scholar

Thurfjell, David. 2014. Testimonies of change: Individual Pentecostalism amongst the Kaale. In: Thurfjell, David, and Marsh, Adrian R., eds. Romani Pentecostalism: Gypsies and Charismatic Christianity. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang. 163-74. Google Scholar

Westerlund, David, ed. 2009. Global Pentecostalism: Encounters with other religion traditions. London and New York: Tauris. Google Scholar

If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Details

Author details

SLAVKOVA, MAGDALENA