Macquarie University
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Australian neo-Pentecostal churches: incorporating late-modernity in a new religious form

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posted on 2022-03-29, 03:26 authored by Mairead Shanahan
Sociologists of religion have found significant and sustained global growth amongst Pentecostal and Charismatic forms of Christianity. From this research, neo-Pentecostalism has emerged as a fruitful site for scholars to examine developments in Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianities. Despite acknowledgement of the successful global expansion of Hillsong Church, and denominational studies of COC/inc and Australian Christian Churches (formerly Australian Assemblies of God), sociologists of religion have not examined incarnations of other internationally-recognised Australian-based neo-Pentecostal churches. The present study contributes to both international and Australian Pentecostal studies through an analysis of the theology and operations of five such churches: Hillsong Church, C3 Church, Citipointe Church, Planetshakers and Influencers Church. The thesis seeks to answer the question: what are the features of theology and organisational practice that assist these churches in growing on both a local and international scale? Using a critical religious studies framework to examine materials produced by the five churches, the thesis situates the continued expansion of Australian-based expressions of neo-Pentecostalism in historical, economic, social, and cultural context. The thesis argues that Australian neo-Pentecostal churches have expanded into organisations with international reputations by responding to the conditions of late-modernity. The thesis assesses the impact of several characteristics of late-modernity—neoliberal governance, marketisation and branding, mass-communication strategies, globalisation, celebration of entrepreneurial abilities, and individualised patterns of consumerism—as significant dynamics for facilitating the global expansion of Australian-based expressions of neo-Pentecostalism. The research finds that Australian neo-Pentecostal churches actively incorporate aspects of late-modernity—specifically, consumer capitalism, globalisation, and individualism as a curated self that realises modern understandings of personal freedom—in justifying and supporting their theological underpinnings and church-branded activities. The thesis advances Australian religious studies by developing an analysis of the emergence of neo-Pentecostalism in Australia and contributes to an international body of literature that seeks to position neo-Pentecostalism within conditions of late-modernity.


Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Introduction -- Chapter 2. The advent of neo-Pentecostalism in Australia -- Chapter 3. Situating neo-Pentecostalism in Australian late-modernity -- Chapter 4. Australian neo-Pentecostalism and consumer capitalism -- Chapter 5. Globalisation and Australian neo-Pentecostal churches : ensuring international success -- Chapter 6. Individualism as the key identity marker of the idealised Australian neo-Pentecostal self -- Chapter 7. Conclusion -- References.


Theoretical thesis. Bibliography: pages 223-254

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Department of Modern History, Politics and International Relations

Department, Centre or School

Department of Modern History, Politics and International Relations

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Marion Maddox


Copyright Mairead Shanahan 2018. Copyright disclaimer:






1 online resource (254 pages)

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