Regendering Ethnicity

Pentecostal Gender Dynamics Reshaping Chinese Imageries in Java
  • En-Chieh Chao
Part of the Contemporary Anthropology of Religion book series (CAR)


This chapter explores the intersection of gender and ethnicity in the Pentecostal movement. It is intended to show how the Pentecostal movement enables a reconfiguration of gender, morality, and ethnic relations, particularly for ethnic Chinese. I provide four ethnographic tales from the Pentecostal corners of Salatiga, including stories of women and of the life transformation of a male gangster-turned-pastor. Although assertive within their worship halls and revivals, Chinese Indonesian Pentecostals strive to shake off ethnic stereotypes attached to them by creating a prosperity theology that downplays materialism, and by developing an ambivalent discourse of gendered submission in the predominantly Islamic nation.


  1. Aragon, Lorraine V. 2000. Fields of the Lord: Animism, Christian Minorities, and State Development in Indonesia. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawaii Press.Google Scholar
  2. Arlini, Gloria. 2010. Stories, Silence and Strategies: Collective Memory in a Chinese Indonesian Family. Thesis, Department of Sociology, Singapore: National Singapore University.Google Scholar
  3. Atkinson, Jane Monnig, and Shelly Errington. 1990. Power and Difference: Gender in Island Southeast Asia. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Bakhtin, Mikhail Mikhailovich. 2008[1981]. The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.Google Scholar
  5. Barker, Isabelle. 2007. “Charismatic Economies: Pentecostalism, Economic Restructuring, and Social Reproduction.” New Political Science 29 (4): 407–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Berg, Charles Ramírez. 1990. “Stereotyping in Films in General and of the Hispanic in Particular.” Howard Journal of Communications 2 (3): 286–300.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bertrand, Jacques. 2004. Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict in Indonesia. Cambridge Asia-Pacific Studies. Cambridge, UK; New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Brenner, Suzanne April. 1995. “Why Women Rule the Roost: Rethinking Javanese Ideologies of Gender and Self-Control.” Bewitching Women, Pious Men Gender and Body Politics in Southeast Asia edited by. Aihwa Ong. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  9. Brusco, Elizabeth E. 1995. The Reformation of Machismo: Evangelical Conversion and Gender in Colombia. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.Google Scholar
  10. Coleman, Simon. 2000. The Globalisation of Charismatic Christianity: Spreading the Gospel of Prosperity. London: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Comaroff, Jean. 2009. “The Politics of Conviction: Faith on the Neo-Liberal Frontier.” Social Analysis 53 (1): 17–38.Google Scholar
  12. Constable, Nicole. 2007. Maid to Order in Hong Kong: Stories of Migrant Workers. 2nd ed. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Cox, Harvey. 1995. Fire from Heaven: The Rise of Pentecostal Spirituality and the Reshaping of Religion in the Twenty-First Century. Reading, MA: Addison-Wsley.Google Scholar
  14. Dijk, C. van. 2001. A Country in Despair: Indonesia Between 1997 and 2000. Leiden: KITLV Press.Google Scholar
  15. Foucault, Michel. 2012. The History of Sexuality, Vol. 2: The Use of Pleasure. New York, NY: Vintage.Google Scholar
  16. Geertz, Hildred. 1974. “The Vocabulary of Emotion: A Study of Javanese Socialization Processes.” Culture and Personality: Contemporary Readings ed. Robert Levine, 249–264. Chicago, IL: Aldine Transaction.Google Scholar
  17. Hall, Stuart. 1997. Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices. Londong: Sage.Google Scholar
  18. Haynes, Naomi. 2012. “Pentecostalism and the Morality of Money: Prosperity, Inequality, and Religious Sociality on the Zambian Copperbelt.” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 18 (1): 123–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Heaton, Tim B., Mark Cammack, and Larry Young. 2001. “Why is the Divorce Rate Declining in Indonesia?.” Journal of Marriage and Family 63 (2): 480–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hoadley, Mason C. 1988. “Javanese, Peranakan, and Chinese Elites in Cirebon: Changing Ethnic Boundaries.” The Journal of Asian Studies 47 (03): 503–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hunt, Stephen. 2000. “‘Winning Ways’: Globalisation and the Impact of the Health and Wealth Gospel.” Journal of Contemporary Religion 15 (3): 331–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Jones, Gavin W. 1994. Marriage and Divorce in Islamic South-East Asia. Kuala Lumpur: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Keyes, Charles F. 1977. The Golden Peninsula: Culture and Adaptation in Mainland Southeast Asia. New York, NY: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  24. Keyes, Charles F. 1996. “Being Protestant Christians in Southeast Asian Worlds.” Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 27 (2): 280–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kipp, Rita Smith. 1993. Dissociated Identities: Ethnicity, Religion, and Class in an Indonesian Society. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Mackie, Jamie. 2005. “How Many Chinese Indonesians?.” Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies 41 (1): 97–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Mahmood, Saba. 2005. Politics of Piety: The Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subject. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Marshall-Fratani, Ruth. 1998. “Mediating the Global and Local in Nigerian Pentecostalism.” Journal of Religion in Africa, 8(3): 278–315.Google Scholar
  29. Martin, David. 1990. Tongues of Fire: The Explosion of Protestantism in Latin America. Oxford, UK; Cambridge, MA: B. Blackwell.Google Scholar
  30. Mate, Rekopantswe. 2002. “Wombs as God’s Laboratories: Pentecostal Discourses of Femininity in Zimbabwe.” Africa: Journal of the International African Institute 72 (4): 549–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Maxwell, David. 2005. “The Durawall of Faith: Pentecostal Spirituality in Neo-Liberal Zimbabwe.” Journal of Religion in Africa 35 (1): 4–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Meyer, Birgit., 1998 “Make a Complete Break with the Past: Memory and Post-Colonial Modernity in Ghanaian Pentecostalist Discourse,” Journal of Religion in Africa 28 (Fasc. 3): 316–49.Google Scholar
  33. Newell, Sasha. 2007. “Pentecostal Witchcraft: Neoliberal Possession and Demonic Discourse in Ivoirian Pentecostal Churches.” Journal of Religion in Africa 37 (4): 461–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Ouellette, Laurie. 2008. “Take Responsibility for Yourself: Judge Judy and the Neoliberal Citizen.” Reality TV: Remaking Television Culture edited by. Ouellette Laurie and Susan Murray. New York, NY: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  35. Pfeiffer, James, Kenneth Gimbel-Sherr, and Orvalho Joaquim Augusto. 2007. “The Holy Spirit in the Household: Pentecostalism, Gender, and Neoliberalism in Mozambique.” American Anthropologist 109 December. 688–700. doi: 10.1525/aa.2007.109.4.688.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Ricklefs, M. C. 2001. A History of Modern Indonesia Since C. 1200. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  37. Robbins, Joel. 2004a. Becoming Sinners: Christianity and Moral Torment in a Papua New Guinea Society. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  38. Robbins, Joel. 2004b. “The Globalization of Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity.” Annual Review of Anthropology 33: 117–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Rudnyckyj, Daromi. 2004. “Technologies of Servitude: Governmentality and Indonesian Transnational Labor Migration.” Anthropological Quarterly 77 (3): 407–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Rush, James R. 1983. “Social Control and Influence in Nineteenth Century Indonesia: Opium Farms and the Chinese of Java.” Indonesia 35: 53–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Salim, Agus. 2006. Stratifikasi Etnik: Kajian Mikrososiologi Interaksi Etnis Jawa Dan Cina (Ethnic Stratification: A Microsociological Study of Ethnic Interactions between the Javanese and Chinese Indonesians). Yogyakarta: Tiara Wacana.Google Scholar
  42. Schielke, Samuli. 2009. “Being Good in Ramadan: Ambivalence, Fragmentation, and the Moral Self in the Lives of Young Egyptians.” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 15: S24–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Staples, Robert. 1982. Black Masculinity: The Black Male’s Role in American Society. San Francisco, CA: Black Scholar Press.Google Scholar
  44. Suryadinata, Leo. 1997. Ethnic Chinese as Southeast Asians. New York; Singapore: St. Martin’s Press; Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Tan, Mely G. 1991. “The Social and Cultural Dimensions of the Role of Ethnic Chinese in Indonesian Society.” Indonesia, 113–25.Google Scholar
  46. Tapp, Nicholas. 1989. “The Impact of Missionary Christianity Upon Marginalized Ethnic Minorities: The Case of the Hmong.” Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 20 (1): 70–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Tickamyer, Ann R., and Siti Kusujiarti. 2012. Power, Change, and Gender Relations in Rural Java. Athens, OH: Ohio University.Google Scholar
  48. Wiegele, Katharine L. 2006. “Catholics Rich in Spirit: El Shaddai’s Modern Engagements.” Philippine Studies, 54 (4): 495–520.Google Scholar
  49. Reid, Anthony. 2001. Sojourners and settlers: Histories of Southeast Asia and the Chinese. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawai’i Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • En-Chieh Chao
    • 1
  1. 1.National Sun Yat-sen UniversityKaohsiung CityTaiwan

Personalised recommendations