Religious Transformation in Maya Guatemala
Cultural Collapse and Christian Pentecostal Revitalization
Published by: University of New Mexico Press
Mayas, and indeed all Guatemalans, are currently experiencing the collapse of their way of life. This collapse is disrupting ideologies, symbols, life practices, and social structures that have undergirded their society for almost five hundred years, and it is causing rapid and massive religious transformation among the K'iche' Maya living in highland western Guatemala. Many Maya are converting to Christian Pentecostal faiths in which adherents and leaders become bodily agitated during worship.
Drawing on over fifty years of research and data collected by field-school students, Hawkins argues that two factors--cultural collapse and systematic social and economic exclusion--explain the recent religious transformation of Maya Guatemala and the style and emotional intensity through which that transformation is expressed. Guatemala serves as a window on religious change around the world, and Hawkins examines the rapid pentecostalization of Christianity not only within Guatemala but also throughout the global South. The "pentecostal wail," as he describes it, is ultimately an acknowledgment of the angst and insecurity of contemporary Maya.
Published in Association with School for Advanced Research Press
"A coherent and coordinated manuscript of considerable scholarly value."--Shawn Morton, The Americas
"This collection is an extraordinary and timely contribution to the sociology of religion."--Choice
"Compelling and convincing . . . Religious Transformation in Maya Guatemala is the kind of book that could only have been born out of extraordinary efforts and circumstances."--Eric Hoenes del Pinal, Reading Religion
"The book is a tour de force, building on some of the most sustained, perceptive fieldwork ever done in indigenous communities of the Americas. The polished writing, with its textured insights and depth of ethnography, explains in fascinating detail key changes in the spiritual life of Latin America and rural, indigenous Guatemala. I have never seen such a comprehensive treatment, and it will be of greatest value to those interested in rapid religious change. I know of few people who could take such an expansive view on the topic."--Stephen Houston, author of The Life Within: Classic Maya and the Matter of Permanence
School for Advanced Research Press