Accepted Paper:

The second Adam's generation: on doing and undoing boundaries in an African based Christian Fellowship in Germany  


Susanne Kröhnert-Othman (University of Bielefeld)

Paper short abstract:

The paper analyses the simultaneity of anti-hegemonic religious discourse and glocalised practices of networking employed in an African based Charismatic Church in Germany in the context of immigrant incorporation.

Paper long abstract:

The proposed paper tries to deepen the perception of the role of a Charismatic Fellowship in the process of boundary blurring for African immigrants to Germany. It suggests that it is only the specific conjunction of non-worldly rhetoric with this-worldly glocalised networking practices that works towards successful boundary blurring in the context of immigrant incorporation. Anti-hegemonic religious discourse paves the way for distancing from the society of origin as well as from the host society. The struggle for recognition as such is indeed circumvented if recognition is not sought after in the host society but is only granted by divine authority. In this context belonging to Jesus as the true spiritual man - the second Adam - as compared to the first mere physical Adam found in contemporary societies was offered as a role model to the Church audience by the Head Pastor of the Charismatic Fellowship. The project of belonging to the Second Adam's Generation transformed the position of (African) Christians in a divine history of mankind and altered symbolic hierarchies of societal advancement. However only the glocalised organisational and personal networking that is set up at the Church builds the opportunity structure that members need to eventually gain social mobility. But there are risks as well, of: bounded individualism, a monopolised distribution of opportunities as gifts, an ambivalent attitude towards inequality grounded in difference and a limited interest in acting on civil society issues outside the Christian realm.

Panel W029
African Christianities in Europe: the politics of religious recognition