McCain, Danny. 2013. The Metamorphosis of Nigerian Pentecostalism: From Signs and Wonders to Service and Influence in Society. In Spirit and Power: The Growth and Global Impact of Pentecostalism, Donald E. Miller, Kimon H. Sargeant, and Richard Flory, eds. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Excerpt: “While an analytic focus on the semiotic techniques whereby media produce immediacy is crucial to analyzing the social processes by which those media are themselves made invisible in experience, such an analysis only goes so far in elucidating the “creativity and control of human subjects” that Eisenlohr argues is erased in such processes. Therefore, in this article, I emphasize the discipline and disciplining work as well as the ethical practices that make such cultural and social processes possible. I do so through an analytic emphasis on what I call the labor of immediacy, that is, the practices whereby human subjects discipline themselves and rehearse the necessary actions that allow the mediated nature of immediate religious experiences to disappear. I argue that the perceived spontaneity of musical performance as well as the practical techniques through which religious sound artifacts are performed in new contexts in order to produce connections and circulate values, all rest on this labor of immediacy.
More specifically, in this article, I examine the labor of immediacy that underlies the use of sound recording and playback technology in facilitating and enhancing religious experiences and worship practices for members of the Cherubim and Seraphim Ayọ ni o Church in Lagos, Nigeria. The Ayọ ni o Church is a branch of the Cherubim and Seraphim Church Movement—a form of Yoruba independent Christianity. This movement began in colonial Nigeria, when early Yoruba Christians broke away from mission churches to establish congregations of their own. The Cherubim and Seraphim emphasized healing through prayer, Holy Spirit baptism, and charismatic forms of worship that featured the extensive use of music and dance. The Ayọ ni o Church is located in a large compound at the edge of Surulere, a predominantly Yoruba, middle-class suburb of Lagos. Each Sunday more than three thousand people attend worship services at the Ayọ ni o Church, many of them attracted by the church’s reputation for including spiritually powerful and emotional musical performances in their worship. This musical reputation was enhanced by the Ayọ ni o choir’s commercially produced and distributed recordings, along with the music videos and other promotional materials that support their recordings.
More than thirty albums have been recorded by the Ayọ ni o Choir since 1978. These recordings reproduce and circulate aesthetic values central to producing religious belonging and ethical forms of personhood. As I discuss in more detail below, the recordings thus play an important role in the everyday religious practices of church members. However, the recordings did not replace live musical performance during worship services. While worship without instruments—no guitars, keyboard, or even drums—was acceptable, worship without singing was inconceivable. The idea that there were living people in the same space as oneself, participating in a shared musical ritual, was important for ensuring the success of worship both in terms of its ability to provoke appropriate emotional responses from the congregation as well as in terms of attracting the Holy Spirit to enter the worship space. Therefore, while the songs on the recordings played an important role in church worship, they were always represented in the form of live performance.
In order to analytically detail the labor of immediacy that underlies and produces religious musical experiences for church members, I explore here how the recordings are used by choir musicians in their everyday lives, in individual musical practice, and in rehearsals. I describe how through the musical labor of training, practice, and rehearsal the choir members engage with the recordings in order to regulate affective and emotional responses and expressions during church worship. Their recontextualization of previously recorded songs does important spiritual work for church members by creating links between aesthetic and religious values and allowing those values to be recirculated through the community. While such performances may seem spontaneous in the context of church worship, in order for the recontextualization of a previously recorded song to be successful in achieving the spiritual goals of the congregation, a great deal of planning and work takes place.
In this article, I explore how the work of choir musicians during practice and rehearsals makes possible the recontextualization of recorded sounds during Yoruba Christian worship. Through disciplinary practices of listening and music-making that make use of the recordings, church musicians attune themselves to particular modes of behavior and produce appropriate forms of emotionality. These emotional responses can then be summoned contextually by church members in relation to a given situation. As I suggest in the conclusion of this article, these disciplined forms of emotion and embodiment are seen as necessary to survive and thrive in the midst of the uncertainty provoked by the political and economic transitions taking place in contemporary Nigeria.”
Pearce, Tola Olu. 2012.”Reconstructing Sexuality in the Shadow of Neoliberal Globalization: Investigating the Approach of Charismatic Churches in Southwestern Nigeria.” Journal of Religion in Africa 42(4):345-368.
Abstract: This study examines how Charismatic churches in southwestern Nigeria are attempting to construct new social identities through their doctrines on marriage and sexual practices specifically constructed to set them apart from other social groups. I argue that these perspectives on sexuality revolve around narratives of the body, sexual desire, and conjugal sexual pleasure within monogamous marriages. The strong rejection of polygyny and other sexual discourses are linked to the global exchange of ideas. I make the case that an important device for developing these identities is emotion training and a vision for both public and private behavior. This study is a textual analysis of written and audio material that lays bare their theories and practices. The data reveal a focus on shaping sexual desire and building conjugal love, trust, and respect, but the training also molds other emotions such as fear, guilt, and shame.
Knibbe, Kim (2011) ” ‘How to Deal with the Dutch’: The Local and the Global in the Habitus of Saved Souls.” In Dedele and Blanes, eds, Encounters of Body and Soul in Contemporary Religious Practices. Oxford, Berghahn Books.
Excerpt: “How do we shout Halleluiah?” Enthusiastically, her audience responded with a shout of “HALLELUIAH!” accompanied by exuberant arm movements. “And how do the Dutch shout Halleluiah?” Her audience laughed, and tried to imitate the lack of enthusiasm they perceived among the Dutch in different ways: a shortly mumbled hallelujah, huddled and hesitant arm movements that barely raised the hands above the head and kept elbows firmly clipped to the sides. Approvingly, she continued with her next question, encapsulating the problem in one distinct contrast: “And how do they shout when they are watching a football match?” To this, her audience responded like the crowd in a bar when the Dutch football team scores during a soccer match: loud shouting, flinging arms upwards and jumping up and down.
Abstract: This article discusses the question how to construct a vantage point from which to study the phenomenon of Nigerian missionaries in Europe. When theoretical frameworks extrapolating from the history of religion in western Europe are used to understand a religious network that originated in Nigeria, Nigerian missionaries and missionaries from the Global South inevitably appear as a case of history repeating itself and even as ‘premodern.’ In contrast, Africanist literature provides an understanding of the ways in which oppositions between tradition and modernity are constructed and used in Nigerian Pentecostalism that is very different. This literature however, does not provide ways to engage with the European contexts in which Nigerian missionaries operate. Therefore the article suggests that the encounter between Nigerian missionaries and European contexts might be most fruitfully conceptualized as a ‘meeting of modernities’ (inspired by Eisenstadt’s notion of ‘multiple modernities’), each implying a ‘denial of coevalness.’