DENDASCK, Carla. FERRARO, Danielle. The Glocal Influence In The Worship Movement. Revista Científica Multidisciplinar Núcleo do Conhecimento. Year 06, Ed. 01, Vol. 08, pp. 94-107. January 2021. ISSN: 2448-0959, Acess Link: https://www.nucleodoconhecimento.com.br/science-of-religion/worship-movement, DOI: 10.32749/nucleodoconhecimento.com.br/science-of-religion/worship-movement
This article aims to bring a reflection about the indissolubility of the glocal in all spheres of daily life, including the religious context. For this, we used the Worship movement, which is gaining more and more adherents in Brazil through the marketing use of experience consumption. The reflection was carried out through the construction of the glocal context and the neoliberal factors that influenced the formation and growth of gospel culture. Thus, this study predefined the influence of glocal in the construction of the contemporary Brazilian Neopentecostal Gospel market.
Keywords: Glocal, Worship, Gospel Market.
In one of the classes of the graduate program in Communication and Semiotics of the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo, Professor Eugênio Trivinho led us to a deep reflection through the invocation and discussion of the glocal and its invasive, deterministic, indivisible and indissoluble power. Now, more than ever, we are confronted with the results and reflections of the numerous global phenomena that invade daily the daily life of the place. There are no more barriers or characteristics between local aspects or phenomena that do not reach the global sphere, so little, global aspects that do not reach the local sphere.
It is not necessary to resort to literature or philosophy for such an affirmative, just imagine the scope of technological devices, number of televisions, smartphones, popularization of brands, e-commerce and social networks, which “reshape” cultures and ideologies. Or, the dissemination of cultures, musical styles, fashion, various consumer products, models and formats of consumption of experience, among others, which could be disseminated in this work through numerous examples.
The scenario to be analyzed in this study will be precisely how the glocal phenomenon also affects the religious context, especially the neopentecostal movement, having as object of analysis the Worship movement.
The term Worship, translated from English into Portuguese, means “worship”. The sense points to a practice that is less ritualistic and more engaged with the individual’s involvement with religion through the music manifested by this movement (AGUIAR, 2020), composed of the tones of notes, instruments, stage format, frequency of lights, very similar to the songs of pop-rock or rock bands of the 1990s, such as the British band Coldplay and the American Evanescence , among others, which use electronic beats inspired by neuroscience, in order to make music a product of experience, such as the black music style.
Worship is based on a tradition based on American evangelical music of the last quarter of the 20th century. It is also worth mentioning that in the North American context, the gospel category has always been linked to black Christian music through a musical genre that contemplated a multiplicity of evangelical musical styles (ROSAS, 2015). Another influence on this composition in the style of Worship is associated with the musical transformations aroused by the context after the Jesus Movement, which is an avivalist evangelical movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s in the United States. It consisted of a kind of conservative counterculture that influenced music in general (NEKOLA, 2013). This movement, then adhering to the neoliberal context became a market that moves billions of dollars, and highlights the glocal phenomenon also invading the gospel world, going beyond the musical movement, but becoming a new format of neopentecostal worship.
This study will then discuss the search to demonstrate which the characteristics of the Worship movement manifest the indissolubility of the glocal context. Through the paths outlined for this response it will be possible to pass through a reflection that proposes about the inability to disassociate the glocal culture even from the religious context. It will also be possible to observe that the glocal phenomenon is established and reverberated by the processes of glocation, “irreversible historical-technological movement, which needs to be apprehended, first of all, by its founding force, network communication, on the basis of its technologies and social modes of appropriation (TRIVINHO, 2015, p. 10). They are, still according to the author, who are responsible for the social-historical reproduction of the media civilization, influencing, even, a new conception of the Sacred.
BRIEF CONSIDERATIONS ABOUT GLOCAL
The term glocal, a combination of global and local, is a neologism that dates back to the Japanese industrial structure (especially the automotive industry) of the 1970s and was initially used to describe the principles of action of a multinational matrix in relation to its subsidiaries in other countries, on different continents, suppressing local cultural factors. According to TRIVINHO (2015), “it is the economic and financial subordination of the site to the global under the euphemic alibi of the cultural-corporate adaptability of the global to the local”.
This perspective has expanded and reproduced in numerous areas, such as geopolitics, education, religion and communication – in the latter, with the telegraph, the first machine capable of approaching real time, simultaneously articulating two diverse sites. And it was in the current technological phenomena, with their respective networks, that glocal found its perfect field of action, by relating to the processes of electronic communication in real time:
The concept of glocal, as configured in the area of Communication, refers to processes, phenomena, scenarios, events and/or trends observable only in this social-historical stifer, inaugurated and unfolded to the complexity in the wake of machines and communication networks, which the functioning of current life has contributed to make it absolutely banal” (TRIVINHO, 2020, p. 01).
For the glocal phenomenon to occur effectively, it is necessary that three elements are present: communication technology and network information (which mediates instantaneous time), subject (which can also be a machine or audience) and “real” time. Thus, according to Trivinho (2020) vehicles and printed products (newspapers, magazines, books), the movie projector, the video, the DVD are excluded from this configuration, because none of them are capable of real-time, instant time mediation, a fundamental feature of networked devices.
It is necessary to emphasize the relationship of the glocal with the notion of time: the real time of the glocal is not identical to the “real” time of nature. There is a subtle difference between time, on the one hand, “immediatistic technology; on the other, the autopoietic time of nature” (idem, 2020, p.03).
The phenomenon of glocal occurs in two scales: stricto sensu, a predominant category that depends on the direct presence of networktechnologies for interactions to take place, and lato sensu that abolishes the need of machines, but always resumes the glocal as global facts or items are inserted in the local context.
Another characteristic of glocal stricto senso is the hybridization between the immediate perception of the espeço in which the body is and acts and the global dimension of communication networks. The glocal, in its stricto sensu scale, forms the junction of the notion of real time-space, where the body is located, the conventional, and the notion of time and space of machines, connected to the comucative networks and their content flows. It is the “artificial shuffling of both coordinates, in favor of an impalpable unit composition that, at the end and at the end, sees as if it did not exist or, at the very least, lets itself be apprehended only by its reverberations” (idem, 2020, p. 04).
We live in a condition, in this way, in which the acceleration of daily life becomes trivialized, retracting the notion of time and space that surrounds us. Such subjectivity tends to “legitimize everything that technological speed has socially conditioned, namely: the recyclable excess of information, images and data, the extreme fragmentation of knowledge and culture, the unlikely fluctuation of factual veracity (idem, 2020, p. 12)”.
There is the illusion that by turning off the equipment, time and space of the glocal are undone. The glocal prevails, with greater or lesser force, but in an authoritarian way, in all territories and continent, and is a paradigm, even, of scientific production and knowledge, disrespecting the time, space and culture of those who are subordinate to the spheres of power. The glocal unifies the patterns of identity, by breaking the diverse, in favor of the construction of a mold that serves the dominant economic model, regardless of any political regime. Advertising legitimizes this authoritarianism, exercising in the individual “the desire to consumption, to acquire a machine capable of real time, so that it can exist in the epicenter of the lived, henceforth already from the body” (idem, 2020, p. 05).
There is currently no society outside the glocation process. There is no society, however closed and isolated, out of the reach of communication technologies and, therefore, glocal. Its ambiguity is because even though it is present in everything, it is invisible and immaterial. The glocal is the acceleration of time, the acceleration of production modes. It is the great commodity of advanced media civilization (idem, 2020, p. 04).
The GLOCAL INFLUENCE ON WORSHIP AND ITS APPROPRIATIONS
Brazil is traditionally a Catholic country. However, the number of evangelicals has been increasing exponentially. In 1970, they accounted for 5% of the population. Currently, there are already more than 30% and the projection is that, in the coming years, this number exceeds the percentage of Catholics.
There are several factors that point to this growth. According to Spyer (2020), one of the causes is the social role played by the evangelical church, which acted in spaces left by the government, especially in the process of urbanization and in the development of capitalism in the country. As Toledo and Cazavechia (2021) claim, neo-Pentecostalism “has in aesthetic primacy apparently stripped the constitution of its cultural values and strategies” of capitalism”.
As previously mentioned, glocal has a strong impact on the organization and modulation of everyday life, in compatibility with the neoliberal model or late capitalism. The process of glocation promotes all the domains of human action, tangled in all symbolic processes of culture and has no way of being abolished. All forms of experience, economy and purpose pass through the glocal. It encompasses, including financial movements and operations, glocal is in entertainment, education, security, militarization, politics, symbolic production, culture and consumption.
Religion is part of culture and therefore does not escape the transformations imposed by information technologies on today’s society, nor from the consequences of glocal. The transformations of religion, inserted in the glocal context, are shown in some ways, but as LAMBERT (2017) highlights,
“cults are broadcast online and the audience no longer has to go to the sacred temples to attend them. Pastoral counseling is one click away and no longer needs to be requested, the presence of priests on social networks transforms the timeline of those who follow them into a place of admonition, counseling, preaching and a search for the churches to influence.”
If our culture and our habits are permeated by the glocal, the relationship with religiosity also disparts and remakes itself through new perspectives brought by the networked media. Now, if all aspects of everyday life are abducted by technological devices, why not religion?
Lambert (2017) points out that the use of the media by religious institutions brought back to the faithful an enchantment that rationality and secularization of institutions tried to extinguish. Moreover, churches have used the media as a “fundamental element of religious contact, religious celebration, religious experience” (BARBERO apud LAMBERT, 2017).
It is characteristic of the cultural neopentecostal religions marked by songs, in which the reading of the Bible is mediated by emotional experiences, a clear influence of American preachers who used the resources of mass communication, in which “the aesthetic experience structure the neopentecostal religious market and the subjective, emotional religious experience is the locus of their discursive and interpretive practices” (TOLEDO and CAZAVECHIA , 2021).
Thus, among religions, neo-Pentecostals were the ones who most appropriated digital media, and used these tools to their advantage. Inspired by the observations is “the insertion of religious experience into the domains of the media, or, if we prefer, the insertion of the media in the domains of religious fundamentalism” (idem, 21).
Thus, social practices were also reconfigured and mediated by network technologies, becoming local practices. Around this new system of habits and practices, society is reorganized in order to perpetuate the sociotechnological structures of the glocal civilization, expanding existing social inequalities. After all, in a hyperconnected society, its degree of development is also supported by the dromoaptidy of its individuals, a fact totally tied to access to communication devices in real time. The glocal as a structure of social practices, as media habitus, acts in order to prolong pluricapitalist relations (TRIVINHO, 2020, p.14).
The glocal as a commodity appears even where there is no economic relationship, articulating commercial and industrial processes and moving other forms of merchandise (idem, 2020). We can say, for example, that the glocal is present when a religious cult puts aside its local traditions and its theological bases and turns into a media show, as a pure entertainment product, with clear marketing objectives.
For the purpose of understanding, the consumption of experience here will be defined as follows:
[…] a physical or virtual space, whose access necessarily presupposes some kind of “price”, and which is intentionally prepared for it to experience sensations, emotions and impressions within a delimited and punctual time; the consensual participation of the individual or group, a kind of tacit agreement between the participants regarding the suspension of disbelief and the playful, magical or imagined aspects that will be presented in that space as simulacrum (PEREIRA, SICILIANO E ROCHA, 2015, p.10)”
It is precisely in this context of consumption of experience that we will find the emancipation of proposals that involve the “new form of worship and worship”, identified from the churches that emerged by virtue of the Jesus Movement, called New Paradigm Churches. They differ from the churches of the local mainstream in different aspects, especially because they propose a new form of congregational worship (MILLER, 1997). Still in relation to the historical churches, which had as a predominant part the context and defense of the theological doctrinal aspects, these movements are predominantly based on the proposal of experience.
Due to this configuration, new popular rhythms began to predominate and, thus, music reached a higher level in the ritualistics of cults (OLIVEIRA, 2014). In the late 1970s, two expressive groups were born in the context of American Christian music and established ties with the music market (AGUIAR, 2020). Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) is one such movement. This was organized and was based on a proposal aimed at the consumption of an internal and external audience, and, for this, it relied on the musical production concentrated in Nashville, Tennessee, where the recording industry predominated.
Numerous religious record labels have also appeared. Among them, it is worth mentioning the Maranatha! Integrity and vineyard. The interest of both was the production of imteribly congregational songs, with emphasis on the internal circulation to the public who attended the churches (STADELMANN, 2012). The repertoire was commonly played in both meetings and interdenominational youth meetings. The promotion was made by the paraecclesiastical institutions concentrated, especially in Southern California (AGUIAR, 2020). The movement became known as Modern Worship Music (MWM). This category since its time is confused with worship that became popular in Brazil later. It grew between the 1990s and 2000s, and thus worship’s music production acquired a new form and expanded to places beyond the Congregational American churches (ROSAS, 2015).
In this context we can think: if the glocal is realized by the proliferation of devices, media and communication networks, responsible for the appropriation of subjectivity and relationship with the other in all spheres of the daily life of the media civilization, the consequence of this condition is that the glocal has a strong impact on the organization and modulation of everyday life and subjectivities, in compatibility with the model of multicapitalist existence.
A consequence of the glocal condition is the formation of a dromoapta subjectivity. This means that subjectivity is captured by the speed of communication and information technologies and articulated around productivity principles, seeking to achieve the goals in the shortest possible time (TRIVINHO, 2020). Thus, bringing this context and its influence, it is understood that the glocal context meets this new market logic.
This gospel market logic, therefore, approached the secular music market, receiving influences from the most distinguished places throughout the globe (NEKOLA, 2013). Among them, it is worth mentioning the United Kingdom (“British invasion”) and Australia (Hillsong Church and all its musical ministry) (KELMAN, 2018). As a part, the boundaries between CCM and MWM have become less distant. In view of this scenario, it is necessary to observe the relations between the secular market and Christian music. In the United States, this approach took place through three groups (HOWARD; STRECK, 1999). They have multiple readings and ways to boost culture, which, by evangelicals, is consolidated in a secular space. In the case of separatists, there is an irreversible distance between music in the religious context and secular culture, which always points to church/world duality; good/evil; essential to Christian life (AGUIAR, 2020).
It is then agreed with Trivinho (2020) regarding the allusion of as strength and economic model, glocal carries in itself an invisible authoritarianism, full-bodied by advertising strategies that demand the most up-to-date products of networktechnology. “The subsumida hybridization of glocal represents the authoritarian ancestry of technological and real-time spatiality in relation to conventional space and time” (TRIVINHO, 2020, p. 05).
Even with the discourse of the integralists, in what involves the differences between the sacred and the secular must be relativized, because culture would always point to an imperfect condition, but, living according to the principles of Christ, this situation could be mitigated (HOWARD; STRECK, 1999). Christ, here, would be the best in culture. Finally, for transformers, culture is a corrupted medium, but it is not essentially bad. However, its transformation becomes urgent through Christian influences that are consolidated in the diverse spaces and contexts (HOWARD; STRECK, 1999). Music, in this scenario, is an aesthetic and artistic product, and thus is not isolated from this movement that aims at the transformation of culture as a whole (KELMAN, 2018). They are limited generalizations, however, the three perspectives point to plural evangelical relations with the notion of “culture” (STADELMANN, 2012).
Such views do not circulate only in the American context, since they also enter the Brazilian area. For Aguiar (2020), none of the theses defended by the mentioned groups is capable of definitively breaking with the duality between the church and the world or even with the meaning of sacred and secular. According to Howard and Streck (1999), what occurred is the emphasis on another aspect: when the church is partof culture, both reintegration or transformation will keep this church displaced from the “world”. Rosas (2015), in turn, asserts that the connection between the category of transformers with the musical performance of the band Diante do Trono, which is considered one of the greatest references in the brazilian gospel music, associated with the Baptist Church, has several characteristics that bring the band closer to the discourse that defends the “transformation of culture”.
This transformation would take place through Christian action in the various spaces of society. Discussions about “culture” and its tensions in the evangelical sphere support gospel literature. In relation to Brazilian gospel music, it is necessary to draw attention to the fact that the explosion of the phenomenon known as “gospel explosion” would be associated with the consolidation of a “gospel culture” that supports and provides the basis for national evangelical music as a whole (CUNHA, 2007).
Worship then incorporates the strictu sensu and lato senso scale recommended by Trivinhos (2020), where this format of worship and worship associated with a series of characteristics that demarcatise social identity directly influence the Brazilian religious context (ROSAS, 2015). Therefore, it is not only a musical genre or even a synonym to refer to evangelical music. It is a central axis that guides the whole “evangelical culture” (AGUIAR, 2020).
This “culture” is based on the intense media spread of “gospel culture” (NEKOLA, 2013). This expansion would be due to the aesthetic modernization of this musical genre in the 1980s, because there was the introduction and adaptation of the religious message to the secular rhythms that, in another context, were considered “mundane” (KELMAN, 2018). Thus, the evangelical attribution of “world” and “culture” are spaces linked, expressively, to the secular (AGUIAR, 2020). There are also disputes related to the definitions of sacred and secular in the gospel context, since gospel music, a priori, should not be defined as sacred or profane, but as a process that, daily, has negotiations between multiple senses. This exercise is promoted by the agents themselves, as well as by the institutions that are committed to the reproduction of rhythms (BANDEIRA, 2014).
Moreover, the boundaries between the sacred and the secular are reflected in the very duality between the conventional church/society understood by the evangelical universe in a comprehensive way corroborates the creation of certain tensions (AGUIAR, 2020). It is not a tension that manifests itself only in Brazil, but in the whole world. Worship is understood, therefore, as a recurring trend in the religious practices of young people, as it is a way to deepen the facets of the gospel through better elaborate aesthetic and artistic elements (CUNHA, 2007). It is not a counterposition or reduction, but rather a movement that considers the heterogeneity of gospel music and not the generic designations of the genre. However, to understand the logic of Worship, one must understand how the process of creation of this “evangelical culture” takes place (STADELMANN, 2012), through a glocated context.
A challenge posed by practitioners is the difficulty in relating the ways of experiencing music in the evangelical field, including the insertion of the genre in the gospel universe itself, from churches and other environments outside them, associated with the religious and gospel context, to in public spaces, so that this culture can be consolidated (OLIVEIRA, 2014). The idea is that the notion of “culture” should even be explored in cultural policies aimed at religiosity (GIUMBELLI, 2014). In a way, it aims to consolidate the Brazilian gospel cultural industry, admitting worship. Recent changes in the evangelical context require an analysis beyond superficial definitions about the gospel universe (AGUIAR, 2020). Young people, from their ministries, play a summary role so that new evangelical musical configurations and perspectives are incorporated into this culture.
Therefore, multiple forms of music production, such as Worship, have imposed restrictions on the definitions of “gospel culture” that homogenize religious practices through music (GIUMBELLI, 2014). This articulation causes gospel music to manifest itself in equally multiple spaces, which has inscribed practices in a broader context of action. A definition of culture has been emphasized that defends the presence of a “gospel culture” throughout the country (STADELMANN, 2012). This movement should not only turn to the evangelical context, but to religious practices as a whole, since the very concept of gospel music does not have a consensual definition, and, with this, does not act in a watertight way, which implies constant disputes between subjects with their distinct interests and voices (AGUIAR, 2020).
Thus, even with the rhetoric of some authors about the differences between the sacred and profane, and in the expectation of separation from this context, it is possible to argue that through movements such as Worship the indissolubility and the rupture between such classifications, evidenced by their respective hybridizations and appropriations.
Understanding the aspects that involve Glocal is fundamental for any contemporary researcher. It is not possible in the current context to look at any object of study without taking into account the aspects of the glocality, because they are these bases responsible so that the most diverse analyses of the contemporary can be performed in an emancipatory and contributory way.
Looking then at the glocal influence in the religious context through Worship evidences how aspects of the glocated neoliberal world are reorganizing a culture that for many years has been recognized as conservative, and, which some innocently still deal with.
It is expected with these reflections that further studies can deepen in the analyses from the glocal perspective, contributing to the construction of a contemporary consciousness.
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 PhD student in the Communication and Semiotics Program at PUC-SP. Scholarship Foundation São Paulo. Theologian, PhD in Clinical Psychoanalysis. He has been working for 15 years with Scientific Methodology (Research Method) in the Scientific Production Guidance of Master’s and Doctoral Students. Specialist in Market Research and Research focused on the health area.
 Master’s student in the Communication and Semiotics Program at PUC-SP. CNPQ Fellow.
Posted: January 2021
Approved: January 2021