How are spiritual power and self-transformation cultivated in street ministries? In Addicted to Christ, 2000 IDRF Fellow Helena Hansen provides an in-depth analysis of Pentecostal ministries in Puerto Rico that were founded and run by self-identified “ex-addicts,” ministries that are also widespread in poor Black and Latino neighborhoods in the U.S. mainland. Richly ethnographic, the book harmoniously melds Hansen’s dual expertise in cultural anthropology and psychiatry. Through the stories of ministry converts, she examines key elements of Pentecostalism: mysticism, ascetic practice, and the idea of other-worldliness. She then reconstructs the ministries’ strategies of spiritual victory over addiction: transformation techniques to build spiritual strength and authority through pain and discipline; cultivation of alternative masculinities based on male converts’ reclamation of domestic space; and radical rupture from a post-industrial “culture of disposability.” By contrasting the ministries’ logic of addiction with that of biomedicine, Hansen rethinks roads to recovery, discovering unexpected convergences with biomedicine while revealing the allure of street corner ministries. Buy it on Amazon.

Publication Details

Addicted to Christ: Remaking Men in Puerto Rican Pentecostal Ministries
Hansen, Helena
University of California / University of California Press
Publish Date
Hansen, Helena, Addicted to Christ: Remaking Men in Puerto Rican Pentecostal Ministries (University of California / University of California Press, 2018).