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Title: Relating as children of God : ruptures and continuities in kinship among pentecostal Christians in the south-east of the Republic of Benin
Author: Quiroz, Sitna
Awarding Body: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Current Institution: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis constitutes an ethnographic exploration of the ways in which conversion to Pentecostalism contributes to redefining some of the principles of kinship in a patrilineal society. It looks beyond notions of individualism often emphasised in studies on Pentecostalism, in order to focus on people’s relationships. In doing so, it explores how relational ruptures brought about by conversion are accommodated along cultural continuities. This study takes place in Pobe and Ikpinle, two semi-rural towns, in a pluri-ethnic and pluri-religious setting with a majority Yoruba population, close to the Beninese border with Nigeria. Studies of Pentecostalism in Africa have emphasised kinship and family relations as one of the areas where, upon conversion, the Pentecostal command to “break with the past” and with “tradition” is most strongly expressed. Ruptures in these areas have been explained as the result of the influence of Pentecostalism in shaping individualist modern subjectivities. However, the ethnographic material presented here reveals that, although discursively these ruptures are often articulated as radical, in practice they do not always appear as such. Converts still depend on and cultivate their social relationships with their kin. Through a process of breaking and re-making, Pentecostalism opens a space for redefining forms of relating, through a selective reappropriation of certain cultural norms and values. The thesis also looks at some of the dilemmas that Christian notions of kinship bring about in this context, and the specific ways in which Pentecostals - compared to members of other Christian denominations - deal with them. This thesis draws on anthropological studies and debates on funerals, time, descent, marriage, gender, ethics and moral dilemmas, in order to explore how the Pentecostal project of “breaking with the past” shapes different aspects of people’s kinship. It aims to contribute to the literature on the anthropology of Christianity by exploring the complexities of this form of religion, as it appears in one of its denominational variants in a pluri-religious setting.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: GN Anthropology