Publications

the social life of entities

Kirsch, Thomas G. 2013. Intangible Motion. Notes on the Morphology and Mobility of the Holy Spirit. In The Social Life of Spirits, edited by Blanes, Ruy Llera & Diana Espirito Santo. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 33-51.

"The considerations developed in this chapter can be seen as an initial step in what might lead to a rewriting of geographies of Pentecostal-charismatic Christianity. This initial step entails, first, conceptualizing the Holy Spirit not just as an object of knowledge or representation but as an agency of divine ontology in its own right; secondly, carefully avoiding the problem of methodological individualism in the anthropological study of spiritual entities by taking account of the idea that spiritual entities come in different “sizes” and “shapes”; and thirdly, taking seriously the fieldwork observation that, for the Holy Spirit, mobility can be enacted not only by journeying but also through purposely changing morphology. Rewriting Pentecostal-charismatic geographies along these lines promises to shed new light on the Spiritistic dialectics of agency and patiency, identity formation in Christian religions of the spirit, the dynamics of sociospiritual inclusion and exclusion, and attempts by Pentecostal-charismatic actors hegemonically to legitimize certain types of spirit mobility and delegitimize (subversive) others."