Accepted Paper:

"Power of self" against the uncertainty of the civil servants: followers of a Japanese religious movement in Ivory Coast (Sukyo Mahikari)  


Frédérique Louveau (Gaston Berger University, Saint-Louis)

Paper Short Abstract:

This paper shows that the Ivorian followers of a japanese religious movement (Sukyo Mahikari) based in Ivory Coast have a high social status and obtain a « power of self » thanks to the spiritual rituals in order to reduce their incertainty caused by their fear of witchcraft.

Paper long abstract:

The adherence of Ivorian followers to a japanese "New Religious Movement" (Sukyo Mahikari) based in the big cities in Ivory Coast, expressed the individual incertainty and disquiet of people belonging to middle class, especially civil servants. Even if they are fare away from the symbol of « left-behind », yet they feel themself in insecurity. Indeed, despite their high social status, they are involved in major economic problems because of the crisis of the State and of the national economic system. The people think that the civil servants are rich and they are waiting for something from them. Unable to redistribute wealth, they develope fears of witchcraft attacks. Indeed, the social relations have changed in face of the rapid social change, the crisis of the State, globalization, etc. This paper aims to show why civil servants become followers of this japanese religious movement and how they intend to find solutions to turn the corner. This religious movement offer spiritual practices based on teachings from Shinto and on the purification of the body by the Light of Su God (okiyome) which allows them to find a protection against witchcraft. We will see that civil servants choose it precisely because it is more elitist than the many evangelical churches and because they express a desire to escape with an ethics of elegance. They obtain a « power of self » thanks to the purification that allows them to fight against incertainty and disquiet for a better life.

Panel IW006
Anxiety at the top (EN)