Accepted paper:

"The clothes don't make the man": religiosity and freedom in Ghana


Girish Daswani (University of Toronto Scarborough)

Paper short abstract:

This paper looks at Pentecostalism and Traditional Religion in Ghana as two models of religiosity that are involved in public debates around "freedom" but that work toward different kinds of self-discovery and accountability.

Paper long abstract:

My paper compares Pentecostalism and Traditional Religion in Ghana with a focus on the public debates around "freedom" that they are involved in. "Freedom" is a concept that circulates within and well-beyond Christian circles in Ghana. In more recent years, certain traditional priests have publicly challenged Pentecostal Christian leaders and their ability to determine the ethical boundaries of "freedom". They have successfully done this through their use of the media technology through their arguments around virtuous conduct and public accountability ("truth-telling"). If Pentecostal Christianity requires a set of rules through which "freedom" is produced, and made accountable to others, Christian pastors and prophets (as well as traditional priests) have to also demonstrate appropriate forms of virtuous behaviour that are valued in Ghanaian society. The increasing inability of Pentecostal leaders to demonstrate "character" has led to criticism from within Christian and non-Christian circles and to a shared engagement on the boundaries of virtuous behaviour and the concomitant limits of Pentecostalism in contemporary Ghana.

panel P36
What is (religious) Enlightenment? Kant, freedom and obedience in religion today