Socialist cosmopolitanism meets global Pentecostalism: charismatic Christianity among Vietnamese Migrants after the fall of the Berlin Wall

by Gertrud Hüwelmeier

Working Papers WP 10-13
September 2010
ISSN 2192-2357 (MMG Working Papers Print)

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By focusing on Pentecostal charismatic Christianity, this article explores the encounter of Vietnamese boat people in former West Germany with their political counterparts, Vietnamese contract workers in former East Germany and Vietnamese contract workers from ex-COMECON countries, who became asylum seekers in reunified Germany. It argues that Vietnamese migrants, formerly divided by different political attitudes and experiences, create social relations by joining global Pentecostal networks. However, this new unity cannot be understood as a new form of diasporic ethno-nationalism, despite the fact that many believers live primarily within Vietnamese networks, some of which extend transnationally to Vietnam. Once former contract workers from Russia, Poland, the Czech Republic and other East European countries become mobile believers, most of their proselytizing activities are based on global Christian sociality. Reconstructing their previous global socialist networks, new believers are spreading the Gospel in ex-COMECON countries and in late socialist Vietnam.

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