I.J.G.C. (Inge) Ligtvoet
- PhD student
|Telephone number:||+31 (0)71 527 8930|
|Faculty / Department:||Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen, Institute for History, Talen en culturen van Afrika|
2311 BD Leiden
Room number 2.23b
Formation of religious (Pentecostal) networks in Africa
Missions and (social) media
Inge is working as a PhD student in the research programme Connecting in Times of Duress, on a sub-project entitled ‘The Divine Connection: Pentecostal Navigation through Nigeria and Cameroon under duress, 1960-2015’. In this research she compares the (historical) formation of institutional and non-institutional born again networks in Bamenda (Cameroon) and Abakaliki (Nigeria) against a background of civil war, ongoing political oppression and socioeconomic uncertainty. She explores the formation of these networks from the angle of evangelism and public and individual adoption of Pentecostal discourse. Evangelism here is seen as the effort of Pentecostal institutions and/or individual born again Christians to create new networks, in which the Holy Spirit, God or ‘the divine’ is the connector. Why did/do people key into these networks? What is being connected by these networks and for what purpose? The research approaches evangelism not only from the traditional form of (institutional) missions, but also from the angle of entertainment media (television, gospel music and film) and social media like Facebook. The latter seems to open up opportunities for the creation of global born again networks outside the walls of the churches, hence also ‘undisturbed’ by institutional hierarchies or political legislations. Online everyone can be a Pentecostal pastor, preaching about the reality of heaven and hell as well as about the difficulties in society and (political) atrocities. By researching these different aspects of network formation and the mediatization (‘evangelism’) of Pentecostal ideology, this study tries to address the question whether these born again networks serve as new agents of resistance in these countries suffering from prolonged sociopolitical unrest.
Inge Ligtvoet studied Languages and Cultures of Africa (BA) at Leiden University and holds an MA (research) in African Studies from the same university. Her MA thesis Fear and Faith: Uncertainty, misfortune and spiritual insecurity in Calabar, Nigeria addresses the phenomenon of witchcraft in the context of a society that is confronted with sociopolitical uncertainties and fear. One of the main areas of study in this thesis was the Pentecostal church that arguably uses witchcraft discourse to manage and perpetuate societal (spiritual) unrest.