Vortrag von Alessandro Gusman: Between Self-Emancipation and the “Spirit of Community”: Congolese Refugees and Spiritual Kinship in Kampala
24.01.2023, 18.30 Uhr
Iwalewahaus und Zoom
Early studies on the upsurge of Pentecostalism emphasized individualist identities conveyed by conversion, and intergenerational tensions caused by the antagonism between kinship solidarity and the idea of the “break with the past”. This latter has been interpreted as a way of setting free from familial obligations (Van Dijk 1992; Maxwell 2002). Subsequent studies nuanced the view of the break of social bonds, recognizing that adherence to the new religion doesn’t inevitably imply abandoning the moral obligations towards the kin group (Lindhardt 2010; Haynes 2012).
Based on ethnographic research with Congolese Pentecostals in Kampala, this paper analyses the ways in which spiritual relatedness is (re)established in contexts of refuge, with a focus on the role shared religious belonging has on kin work, or “kinning” (Howell 2006), and on the formation of kinship-like relationships with other Congolese in Kampala. To do so, I rely on some cases of adoption, in which Pentecostal families welcomed newly arrived refugees into their kin group. The paper reformulates the question of what conversion to Pentecostalism does to kin relationships, focusing on “what kinship does” (Carsten 2013) to the way Congolese born-again in Kampala conceive forms of relatedness in the context of refuge.
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