In and Out of Church in Managua, Nicaragua


This project focuses on an independent Pentecostal church and a Catholic Charismatic group in Managua. It uses a five-level typology of religious activity (Droogers et al. 2003: 5-6): disaffiliation (no church membership), pre-affiliation (provisional church participation), affiliation (regular membership), conversion (a change of worldview and identity), and confession: a core member identity. The emphasis is on why people become affiliated to and disaffiliated from a Catholic or a Pentecostal group. The conversion career is defined as the member?s passage through various levels of religious activity, within her/his social and cultural context.
Research question: How are affiliation and disaffiliation among members of a Catholic and a Pentecostal group in a poor neighborhood of Managua connected to the culture politics and recruitment strategies of their churches?
Sub-questions: 1. How do the newly affiliated members experience their transition to a Pentecostal or Catholic praxis and their socialization in it? 2. What causes some members to drop out again? 3. How is the gender situation connected with the conversion careers and culture politics in the Catholic and Pentecostal group that will be studied in depth?
Two local religious groups competing for members will be studied in-depth in a low-income neighborhood of Managua. The methodological emphasis will be on qualitative methods (in-depth interviews, life histories, participant observation), though not excluding the use of surveys. Nicaragua is selected because it is poor, religion and politics are polarized, and (independent) Pentecostalism has hardly been studied here. Religious competition is particularly strong between Pentecostals and the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, which also stresses the importance of the Holy Spirit and of leading a disciplined life.
The project will develop new methods to investigate disaffiliated members, which have hardly been studied. The combination of a religious market approach, culture politics, a five-level typology of religious activity, and the general literature on conversion also makes the research innovative."


Wetenschappelijk artikel

  • C.E. Sediles(2007): Pentecostalisms in Nicaragua: General aspects of their Foundations, Growth, and Social ParticipationExchange: Jurnal of Missiological and Ecumenical Research pp. 386-396ISSN: 0166-2740.
  • H.P.P Gooren(2010): Ortega for President. The Religious Rebirth of Sandinismo in NicaraguaEuropean Review of Latin American nd Caribbean Studies pp. 11-27ISSN: 0924-608.
  • C.E. Sediles(2010): Conversion Careers and Culture Politics in Pentecostallsm. Time, space and mobility in four continentsPenteco Studies pp. 229-250ISSN: 1871-7691.



WB 52-1111


Prof. dr. M.T. Frederiks

Verbonden aan

Universiteit Utrecht, Faculteit Geesteswetenschappen, Instituut voor Theologisch en Godsdienstwetenschappelijk Onderzoek


Dhr. C.E. Sediles MA


01/01/2007 tot 15/06/2011


€ 51.870