Remme, “The Problem with Presence”

Remme, Jon Henrik Ziegle. (2019) “The Problem with Presence: The Ambiguity of Mediating Forms in Ifugao Pentecostal Rituals.” Ethnos. DOI: 10.1080/00141844.2019.16 50791.

Abstract: For members of the Pentecostal congregation Christ is the Answer Church in the highland province of Ifugao, the Philippines, Sunday services are important rituals with which they address societal and environmental problems. Through mediating forms such as testimony, singing praise and worship songs and praying, they attempt to make God present and thus bring about societal transformations. However, as I show in this article, these mediating forms contain also the possibility for the presence of Satan, and in many cases, the actual outcome of these mediating forms remains uncertain. While many have debated the ‘problem of presence’, this article draws on the ambiguity of mediating forms and demonstrates the problems that presence potentially creates. I use this case further for developing an approach to rituals that goes beyond the instrumental view on rituals that has often dominated anthropology and which emphasises their hazardous character.

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