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Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review

Volume 2, Issue 2, 2011

Joaquín Algranti, Damián Setton, Luciana Verona, Kendall Busse
Pages 185-214

Leadership, Proselytism and Identity in the Jewish and Pentecostal Fields in Argentina. Comparative Analysis in Habad Lubavitch and Rey de Reyes

In the social space of religion, minority groups frequently offer the possibility to study subjective conducts and institutional strategies that become more visible due to the subordinate position of those who execute them. This is the case for the proselytizing expansion carried out by some sectors of Judaism and of the Evangelical world in the predominantly Catholic cultural environment of Argentina. This paper analyzes the similarities and differences between the organization of Chabad Lubavitch and the Neo-Pentecostal mega church Rey de Reyes (King of Kings). It argues that the different modes of constructing authority in both institutions, which revolve around “personal” and “official” charisma, enable different ways of managing proselytizing activity. Thus, the religious message is spread differently according to the degree of institutionalization of each organization. This article provides a comparative analysis and contributes to the field of Sociology of Religion with research grounded in qualitative techniques. The methodology used in this paper is an ethnographic case study of both communities, including in-depth interviews of lay and specialist members, fieldwork at worship services and proselytizing activities, and analysis of documents from these two religious institutions.

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