BETWEEN JESUS AND THE MARKET: The Emotions that Matter in Right-Wing America by Liada Kintz

BETWEEN JESUS AND THE MARKET: The Emotions that Matter in Right-Wing America

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A confused and overtheorized look at gender and the Christian Right. Kintz (English/Univ. of Oregon) can't seem to decide if she is writing a history of the rise of the Christian Right, a literary-critical evaluation of the movement's seminal texts, or an ethnographic encounter with female fundamentalists. This book tries to be all of those things, and a feminist manifesto besides. But it is so overladen with the postmodern theoretical jargon of semiotics, utilitarianism, and subjectivity that the meaning gets lost. Also, Kintz's use of Christian ""texts"" is disappointingly impressionistic; she never explains why she chose a particular work out of the vast array of options in any Christian bookstore. That said, there are some intriguing points made here, and in her postmodern way Kintz is not afraid to insert herself into her work and acknowledge her own biases. The first few chapters examine the Christian Right's reconstructions of motherhood as a sacred calling and of sexual differences as essential and divinely ordained. But the best writing here explores the ironies of today's Christian right: specifically, that the movement depends on women activists who preach their own subordination while lecturing around the country and hosting power lunches. She also understands the crucial importance of emotions to the movement. The Christian men's movement owes its current success, she points out, to its willingness to allow men to have feelings, even if they are restricted to ""tender warrior"" feelings. Though there are some valuable arguments here, the reader has to wade through far too much theoretical babble to find them.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1997
Page count: 302pp
Publisher: Duke Univ.