Global networks and the emergent sites of contemporary evangelicalism in brazil

Jeff Garmany*, Hannes Gerhardt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter considers the global networks, historical events and political economic contexts that have given rise to Evangelical and Pentecostal faiths in Brazil. Acknowledging Brazil long–held traditions for religious tolerance and syncretism, we query the roles of international forces in producing Brazil rather unique religious landscape. By unpacking a host of interrelated political, social and economic factors, we offer fresh insight regarding the growth and development of evangelical and Pentecostal faiths in Brazil and Latin America more generally. We explore the roots of their missionary efforts and the ways they adapted and grew in the late twentieth century. Related to these developments are domestic and international political events, as well as the changing role of the Catholic Church in Brazilian society. By focusing on the northeastern city of Fortaleza, we highlight the ways religious conversion and evangelical/Pentecostal growth connects to larger processes of globalization and political economic change. While proselytizing efforts were once linked with urban poverty and American missionaries, today Brazilians are leading this charge, establishing churches throughout the Amazon as well as in Africa and Asia. Our findings suggest that the growth of these Brazilian faiths relates to a multitude of political economic processes and patterns of global change: Brazil’s return to democracy in the 1980s and the rise of neoliberalism in the 1990s played important roles as did domestic and international migration patterns and shifting urbanization trends. These churches’ practices have adapted and evolved as they have globalized which explains the appeal of these faiths to Brazilians and elsewhere throughout Latin America. Just as Brazil’s religious past was characterized by rapid spiritual change and global connectivities, so will its religious future likely be just as dynamic and heterogeneous.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Changing World Religion Map: Sacred Places, Identities, Practices and Politics
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)9789401793766, 9789401793759
Publication statusPublished - 18 Nov 2015


  • Brazil
  • Evangelical/Pentecostal
  • Global networks
  • Political economy
  • Religion


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