In the last half of century, a great number of Roma in Eastern Europe have converted to Pentecostalism. This new and fervorous religious engagement is seen by scholars as a transformative one, as a modern ethnogenesis, or as a rediscovery of ethnic identity, a process that can either engender trans-ethnic discourses or ethnic exclusiveness ones, depending on local particularities. In this paper, I explore this process by looking at the interplay between ethnic and religious frontiers. Otherwise stated, I inquire into how the ethnic dimension of certain identity frontiers is being utilized, appropriated and reinterpreted in the religious discourse and everyday practice. Through an ethnographic example of repented Romanian Roma migrants living in Belgium, I discuss how notions of tradition, custom and origins are being reinterpreted and gain religious signification. Furthermore, by questioning the idea of being born again, I show that, although conversion brings important changes in the lives of my interlocutors, it is also a process that instills tensions between the old and the new ways of doing things, between the old self and the new one.
■ Roma ■ Pentecostalism ■ Repentance ■ Conversion ■ Identity ■ Ethnicity
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