Religion and politics (IAI)

Birgit Meyer (Utrecht University)
Adam Jones
Anthropology, religion and conflict
Start time:
13 September, 2006 at 11:00
Session slots:

Short abstract:


Long abstract:

Scholars working on Africa have long realized that religion and politics are entangled in a far more complicated way than their straightforward distinction and the academic division of labor associated with it (religious studies and political science) would suggest. In recent years a host of studies appeared which highlight the political role of Islamic Reform Movements, Pentecostal-Charismatic churches, as well as neo-traditional and witchcraft eradication movements. Conversely, recent work on post-colonial politics stresses the importance of access to supernatural resources for achieving power, and the recurrence to religiously grounded notions (such as faith, confession, or conviction) in articulating new notions of citizenship and belonging. Against this background, it clear that the modernist master narrative of secularization, which postulates that the public importance of religion declines with increasing modernization, has become dysfunctional and unproductive. Inviting to explore the interface of religion and politics on an empirical and theoretical level, this panel seeks to push us towards a more adequate understanding of this interface in present-day Africa.