Maggio, “Kingdom Tok”

Maggio, Rodolfo. 2015. Kingdom Tok: Legends and Prophecies in Honiara, Solomon Islands. Oceania. Early Online Publication.

Abstract: Kingdom tok is an expression that is increasingly used in Honiara. It describes a set of ideas and practices related to what Solomon Islanders see as a recent ‘season’ in their history. Such a season is characterised by the reappropriation of particular meanings of their faith that they perceive as influenced by recent historical processes such as the colonial era, the introduction of Christianity, and the first few decades from independence. In terms of ‘Kingdom’, they envision the possibility to challenge political hierarchies, social stratification, and issues of governance, as well as to re-define their identities in relation to a general state of empowerment. In Honiara, Pentecostal churches and groups with a strong identification with Judaism make use of Kingdom tok discourses. I claim that they experience the actualisation of Kingdom tok as concrete projects of social action and service provision, which they see as concrete alternatives to historical churches, the state, and the ‘way of the waitman’.

Hunt (ed.), “Handbook of Global Contemporary Christianity”

Hunt, Stephen (ed).  2015. Handbook of Global Contemporary Christianity: Themes and Developments in Culture, Politics, and Society.  Leiden: Brill.

Publisher’s Description: The Handbook of Global Contemporary Christianity: Themes and Developments in Culture, Politics, and Society maps the transformations, as well as the continuities, of the largest of the major religions – engaging with the critical global issues which relate to the faith in a fast changing world. International experts in the area offer contributions focusing on global movements; regional trends and developments; Christianity, the state, politics and polity; and Christianity and social diversity. Collectively the contributors provide a comprehensive treatment of health of the religion as Christianity enters its third millennium in existence and details the challenges and dilemmas facing its various expressions, both old and new. The volume is a companion to the Handbook of Contemporary Global Christianity: Movements, Institutions, and Allegiance.

Siisiäinen, “Foucault, pastoral power, and optics”

Siisiäinen, Lauri.  2015.  Foucault, pastoral power, and optics.  Critical Research on Religion.  Early online publication.

Abstract: The article shows that in Foucault’s late 1970s and early 1980s analyses of pastoral, conductive power—most essentially in early and medieval Christianity—the issue of sight and visual perception recurs and occupies a crucial status. In Foucault’s discussion, these Christian relations of power, knowledge, and truth are attached with a surveying gaze that is both totalizing as well as individualizing, one that is mobilized by the thrust towards perfect visibility, transparency, and illumination of the subject turned into an object. The intention is also to develop Foucault’s analysis further, by demonstrating how Christian, providential government can be and actually has been detached from the totalizing modality of optics, and instead become articulated with a very different sort of sight and seeing, one that is non-totalizing and affirms its own limits. The article maintains that from this angle, Foucault’s conception of modern, economic-liberal governmentality has essential convergences with the Christian form of providential government, even though Foucault himself leaves these convergences partly inarticulate.

N’Guessan, “Côte d’Ivoire: Pentecostalism, Politics, and Performances”

N’Guessan Konstanze.  2015. Côte d’Ivoire: Pentecostalism, Politics, and Performances of the Past.  Nova Religio 18(3): 80-100.

Abstract: In August 2010, Côte d’Ivoire commemorated fifty years of independence. Local Pentecostal churches likewise celebrated the jubilee, marking the liberation of slaves after seven times seven years of servitude as promised in Leviticus 25: 8–10. This reading of independence was closely linked to the incumbent president’s political project of refondation based on a premillennial understanding of the interrelatedness of past, present and future. In this article, I explore Pentecostal political rhetoric and performances of the past during the jubilee celebrations, and the post-electoral crisis of 2010–2011. Drawing on empirical research into memory at work in Côte d’Ivoire, I question the instrumentalist paradigm used in analysis of religious ways of thinking about the world. By emphasizing performances of the past and collective memory, I explain how being born-again is enacted as politics and how politics are perceived in terms of faith.

Heuser, “Disjunction-Conjunction-Disillusionment”

Heuser, Andreas. Disjunction–Conjunction–Disillusionment: African Pentecostalism and Politics.  Nova Religio 18(3): 7-17.

Abstract: In Pentecostal political theology in Africa, there has been a movement from Pentecostal disjunction from state and society towards conjunction on governance levels. This eventually led to disillusionment with Pentecostal policymaking, both within African Pentecostal milieus and public discourses. The entrance of Pentecostal actors onto the political stage in African countries dates back to the transformative years from 1989 to 1993, in which democratic movements all over the continent were challenging autocratic presidential regimes. This era has been termed in political science the “second democratization” after the immediate postcolonial era of nation building in the 1960s. Almost invisible before, Pentecostal political impact was growing enormously and transformed into varied efforts to ‘pentecostalize’ governance since the turn of the millennium. In view of selected West African political cultures and Kenya discussed in this special issue of Nova Religio, a dialectics in Pentecostal visions of politics becomes obvious: The diversity of political strategies testifies to African Pentecostal potency in public discourses, but once entangled in actual policymaking, Pentecostal praxis discredits self-images of superiority in politics.

Bialecki, “Diagramming the Will”

Bialecki, Jon. 2014. Diagramming the Will: Ethics and Prayer, Text, and Politics. Ethnos 1-23 (DOI: 10.1080/00141844.2014.986151)

Abstract: Framing prayer as an ethical exercise that operates on a recalcitrant will, this essay examines both this practice in the Vineyard, an American Neocharismatic church, and texts written by Vineyard pastors for the purposes of instructing believers in how to engage in prayer. It argues that the same abstract play of forces can be identified in both these areas. But that does not mean the two areas are identical. While prayer as a practice is marked by a certain indetermination about how and in what ways prayer is effective, instructional material about prayer are shown to be much more exacting. However, different choices among pastors in how they situate prayer is shown to have specific political effects; it also suggests some of the benefits for an anthropology of ethics in being careful to disarticulate ethical practice from texts describing means to properly engage in ethical practice.

Burchardt, “Belonging and Success”

Burchardt, Marian. 2013. Belonging and Success: Religious Vitality and the Politics of Urban Space in Cape Town. In Topographies of Faith: Religion in Urban Spaces, Edited by Irene Becci, Marian Burchardt, and José Casanova, 167-188. Leiden: Brill.