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Title: "A road to prosperity?" : the values and value struggles of members of the Prosperity Movement on the Old Kent Road in the UK
Author: Zschomler, Danny
ISNI:       0000 0004 7655 7286
Awarding Body: Goldsmiths, University of London
Current Institution: Goldsmiths College (University of London)
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis explores the localised prosperity movement on the Old Kent Road in London, which is heavily concentrated among Black Majority Churches attended by West African immigrants. The research draws on Skeggs' person-value model (2011, 2014) to examine whether the prosperity gospel has monetized Christian faith such that all immaterial values are converted to material value, and asks what, if anything, is left behind. Using a combination of urban ethnography, ethnography of religion, semi-structured interviews, visual methods (semiotics) and textual analysis, I examine the lived experience of the members of these churches, focusing on one specific church as a case study. This study has shown that the members of this movement experience various adverse circumstances such as difficulties associated with the migrant experience and institutionalized racism. The prosperity gospel functions as a liberation theology to counteract their marginalized position, as they strive collectively to reimagine and reposition themselves in society through various reactive and proactive strategies combined with the Pentecostal work ethic and through investing in the second generation. The Bible is used as a manual for being successful and overcoming obstacles. Through the message and practices, negative affects are transformed into positive affects and members are reinvigorated for their daily struggles. As the members resist their positioning by the dominant symbolic, a collective consciousness is formed where values of love and care are prevalent. Due to the members' adverse circumstances, prosperity theology adds a dimension of material value. However, this is on the basis of traditional Christian values and other values can also be found. This study validates Skeggs' person-value framework and also extends its reach to include transnational and religious aspects and the intersectionality between class and race. It also has important implications for the role of religion in fostering the integration of new migrants into the broader society.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral