From the understanding, built by recent opinion polls, that evangelical women would play a crucial role in the 2022 national elections, the Institute for Religious Studies (ISER) carried out, during the months of May to July 2022, the survey “ Evangelical women, politics and daily life”.
The investigation aimed to produce qualitative data that would bring new perspectives on evangelical women. It is important to highlight that it is black and poor women who make up almost 60% of this religious segment. Therefore, more than exclusively understanding their perception of elections and voting, the research explored perceptions of politics and citizenship articulated in everyday life.
Research “Evangelical Women, politics and daily life” is subject of NER Debates
Articles about the research and comments by researchers in the field have been published in NER Debates, a biannual periodical, created in 1997 on the initiative of the Nucleus for Religious Studies (NER), of the Graduate Program in Social Anthropology at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS). Check out the article summaries below and read the full research.
Article: Evangelical women beyond the vote: conceptions about politics and everyday life (Lívia Reis and Jacqueline Teixeira)
“In this article, we present an analysis of the results of a qualitative research carried out with evangelical women of different denominations, ages and regions of Brazil between April and September 2022. the imminence of the 2022 elections, the research sought to reveal elements that would help to understand the political and daily engagement processes of those who make up the majority of this religious segment. Based on the concept of margin (Das, 2011) and on the reflection on the articulation between gender, religion and other social markers of difference, we will discuss how the concept of gender performed by the category of woman allows the production of certain iterability regimes for political narratives and also for a specific understanding of the meanings of politics. At the same time, in addition to living in the church, everyday experiences were an important guide in defining these women's positions and worldviews. We argue, in the end, that scrutinizing the way this scenario has been experienced, perceived and apprehended by evangelical women has helped us to think of religion as an organizing element of social life and a social marker of difference that should not be disregarded.”
Comment: The marks of social media in the vote of evangelical women (Magali Cunha)
“The qualitative data from the survey of evangelical women, carried out before the first round of elections, did not include the content circulating in family groups on WhatsApp, but contain the record that most of those heard in the triads resort to them for information. Electoral propaganda was not cited as a means of information, only electoral debates broadcast on open TV, even so, as a source for older women.
However, Jacqueline Teixeira and Livia Reis (2022) record that they had access to qualitative monitoring of prayer groups and churches on WhastApp that bring together mostly women, in the southeast region, during the second round of the 2022 elections, which indicates another picture. These groups acted in the propagation of disinformation messages, favorable to the candidate Jair Bolsonaro as “redeemer of the nation”, while the opponent Lula was attributed the demonic character.
It is possible to infer that, given the high interaction with social media on the part of evangelical believers, not only on WhatsApp, but also on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube and TikTok, to mention the most popular ones, the 45 women participating in the triads had access to this type of message.”
Comment: “Notes on evangelicals, politics and gender from the 2022 Elections” (Nina Rosas)
“I bring in this text notes on religion and politics, based on two strategies. I take as a reference, on the one hand, the article Evangelical women beyond the vote: notes on processes of engagement, politics and daily life, by Jacqueline Teixeira and Lívia Reis. On the other hand, I compare it with a brief reflection on the Theology of Dominion and the approximation of some evangelicals with Bolsonarism, exemplified by Ana Paula and André Valadão. I propose, echoing the authors, that the current reading keys focus on the systematic scrutiny and review of categories, such as family and spiritual warfare, and on making analyzes based on the gender variable, which is inseparably linked to race and class, essential. ”
Comment: “About young evangelical women: moving portraits” (Regina Novaes)
“After the “confessional moratorium” that took place in the last elections, we already have news of rearrangements and conflicts of different orders. The process of value disputes in the political and religious fields is still ongoing. In these spaces, the delicate relationships between “family” and “family of faith” remain and change.
Finally, it remains to be stated that – due to its plasticity – the category “family” can be thought of as a symbol that never runs out of meanings. A symbol that remains alive precisely because it involves socially shareable doubts. From this perspective, on the one hand, it is understandable that the appropriation of the family as a symbol of the Women with Bolsonaro Campaign, carried out by Michelle and Damares, was electorally successful at that juncture. But, on the other hand, this does not mean that – in other situations – the same biblical words, images and comparisons will work in the same direction and sense.
With regard particularly to evangelical women, we can say that – even living in a time when accusations of machismo and the affirmation of women's rights proliferate – young evangelical women are not immunized against the conservative wave present in churches and society. However, socialized in a digital world, living in multi-religious families and living with different family models, young evangelical women are permeable to other interpretations of politics, the church and the Bible. Therefore, and without the slightest pretense of making anthropological prophecies, I dare to say that the biblical character of Queen Esther was not imprisoned in the 2022 interpretation.
Comment: “Saving from the religious: on purifying evangelical women” (Cleonardo Mauricio Junior)
“The words “beyond the vote”, even before “evangelical women” (subjects of the research in question), were the quickest to capture my attention in the title of the article by Jacqueline Teixeira and Livia Reis (“Evangelical women beyond the Voting: Notes on Engagement, Politics and Daily Life Processes”), which I will now comment on. Shining like a neon sign, these terms immediately referred me to the text by Regina Novaes (2017) about evangelicals being more than sheep, as well as to Roberta Campos (2005), about the charisma among Pentecostals meaning more than purely domination. Apparently, then, it is still necessary to remind Brazilian social scientists of the complexity of evangelicals in general, and Pentecostalism in particular, showing them beyond the commonplace we have access to through traditional media or polemics on social networks: they are more than the evangelical bench; more than the performances of its institutional leadership (without disregarding them); more than individuals deceived by manipulators in bad (or bad) faith; more than just conservatives (there are also progressive evangelicals); and finally, in the article under focus, more than voters, or rather, more than voters predisposed to accept the designs of the extreme right.”
Response to comments: “Youth, Media, Family and modes of subjectivation: possible dialogues about evangelical women, politics and everyday life” (Lívia Reis and Jacqueline Teixeira)
“It may seem like a mere formality, but it is not. The possibility of receiving and being able to respond to comments of such high quality on the article “Evangelical women beyond voting: notes on processes of engagement, politics and daily life” (Teixeira; Reis, 2022), written by us, is a privilege that is rarely granted. possible to experience in the accelerated dynamics of academic life. Therefore, we record our invaluable thanks to Regina Novaes, Magali Cunha, Nina Rosas and Cleonardo Maurício Junior, not only for the careful way in which they read the text, but also for accepting the challenge that was imposed on them in such a short time. We extend our thanks, especially to ISER (Instituto de Estudos da Religião), which financed the research that supported the article, and to the team at Revista Debates do NER, which makes this space for exchange so important for the Social Sciences of Religion possible. ”