This paper engages with anthropological conversations about the digital experiences of cultural and religious minorities during the COVID-19 pandemic by investigating how some Pentecostal Gitanos seized the online world to spread the Gospel in Spain. The paper features two ethnographic studies of my Pentecostal Gitano interlocutors. Modalities of digital religious engagement analysed include testimonies, Christian messages, praise songs and praying. The paper’s main argument is that the pandemic created a social media-enabled window of opportunity for some Gitano believers to reach out to new potential converts and claim online spaces for God. Extensive involvement in social media activities by Pentecostal Gitanos may also be understood as a tool to challenge and question an increasingly secular Spanish society which, during the pandemic, was perceived as dismissive of the spiritual aspects shaping the development of the global health crisis.
Antonio Montañés Jiménez is a Margarita Salas postdoctoral fellow affiliated with the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography at the University of Oxford and a member of St. Antony’s College, Oxford. Previously, he held an Economic and Social Research Council postdoctoral fellowship at the University of St. Andrews.
Dr Antonio Montañés Jiménez
postdoctoral fellow , School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography, University of Oxford
Antonio is a Margarita Salas postdoctoral fellow affiliated with the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography at the University of Oxford and a member of St. Antony’s College, Oxford.