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Submissive Wives and Loving Husbands: Gender and the Pursuit of “Balance” in Pentecostal Marital Relations in Benin Republic

Title
Submissive Wives and Loving Husbands: Gender and the Pursuit of “Balance” in Pentecostal Marital Relations in Benin Republic
Speaker(s)
Speaker: Dr Sitna Quiroz # Durham University
Hosted by
Introduced by
Date and Time
30th Mar 2018 15:00 - 30th Mar 2018 17:00
Location
Seminar Room 1, Chrystal Macmillan Building
URL
http://www.san.ed.ac.uk/events/research_seminars/2017_2018/submissive_wives_and_loving_husbands_gender_and_the_pursuit_of_balance_in_pentecostal_marital_relations_in_benin_republic

This presentation critically examines some assumptions about female subordination and gender differentiation that underpin some studies of Pentecostalism and gender in Africa.  Based on ethnographic fieldwork in Benin, it explores how Pentecostals of the Assemblies of God in Benin aim to build “balanced” monogamous unions by following Biblical teachings. However, balance does not mean equality between men and women, but neither does it mean subordination of one versus the other. In this context, where the ultimate source of power is conceived to be spiritual, having equal access to the Holy Spirit allows both men and women to ease and to negotiate relationship struggles. This kind of spiritual empowerment contrasts with a notion of empowerment based on social roles as understood by secular views of gender that assume a subordination of women to religious patriarchal structures. Ultimately, it suggests, a balance of gender relations of this sort contributes to restoring some forms of patrilineal (but not patriarchal) authority that people in this context perceive as having been disrupted, and also legitimises forms of authority within the church.

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