The perils of yo-yo thinking: Positioning culture in Pentecostal healing

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Like other Pentecostals, the Lelet of central New Ireland, Papua New Guinea, are urged to reject significant aspects of their cultural tradition in order to become born-again Christians. Most Lelet Pentecostals say that all use of magic must be abandoned. I use the example of healing to show how commitments to break with the past are influenced by life's exigencies, such as illness. Pragmatic responses to illness may see people move between forms of therapy that are considered mutually exclusive � that is, between Christian healing and magic. Some judge this wavering derisively as �yo-yo� thinking. I suggest that a more subtle and open-minded appreciation of the Pentecostal stress on breaking with the past is to see this as situational - that is, as necessarily influenced by contingencies. Despite the rhetoric of absolute rupture being widely proclaimed, putting this into practice while negotiating the exigencies of life is a decidedly more complex and fluid matter. Lelet pragmatism sometimes stands in the way of the radical idealism of Pentecostalism.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)139-151
    JournalAustralian Journal of Anthropology, The
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2020


    Dive into the research topics of 'The perils of yo-yo thinking: Positioning culture in Pentecostal healing'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this