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Visiting Researcher Delivers Public Lecture on Pentecostalism and Politics

What do poverty and prosperity mean for pastors in the city of Dumaguete?

This was one of the central questions raised by SDRC Visiting Researcher Giovanni Maltese in his presentation entitled “Pentecostalism and Politics: Prosperity and Development in the Context of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program,” held on April 14, 2014 at the European Documentation Center of the Henry Sy, Sr. Hall. Delivered before research fellows, faculty members and staff, the public lecture was a dissemination of Prof. Maltese’s initial findings in a study conducted in Negros Oriental on Pentecostal partnerships with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for development and prosperity.

In his presentation, Prof. Maltese—a doctoral research fellow and lecturer with the Department of Religious Studies and Intercultural Theology at the University of Heidelberg—gave a brief background on Pentecostalism in the Philippines and worldwide before proceeding to his discussion on Pentecostals against and in favor of a partnership with the DSWD, citing their practices, rationalizations, and inconsistencies and contested claims. He then spoke on poverty and poverty alleviation in relation to the Pentecostal message of “prosperity,” particularly expounding on the discrepancy between the professed and experienced reality of those he interviewed for the study.  He concluded by pointing out the need to reconstruct the conditions of the possibilities of Pentecostals’ discourse in Dumaguete, given that current prospects for engaging with governmental development projects are unstable.

The discussions that followed in the open forum at the end of the lecture focused on the definition of the term “Pentecostalism”; the methods used in approaching the pastors participating in the study; the possibility of comparing Pentecostal-DSWD partnerships with civil society organization-DSWD partnerships; and whether the study sought to challenge existing theories on Pentecostal views of development and prosperity, or to generate new ones. Prof. Maltese acknowledged that this feedback would be both inspiring and insightful for his study. 

The public lecture is part of the regular activities conducted under the SDRC Visiting Researcher Program, which has had three presentations for AY 2013-2014.




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