Accepted paper:

Religious Networks, Connectivity and Development in Luanda


Natalia Zawiejska (Jagiellonian University)

Paper short abstract:

The paper will dwell on the dimensions of connectivity of Pentecostal churches in Luanda in relation to development. The analysis will show how religious imaginations, discourses and practices inscribe in, go along or transcend secular development frames, establishing proper development models.

Paper long abstract:

In relation to religious framings of development the paper will consider the dynamics of the new socio-spatial changes occurring in Luanda as well as the new understanding of the city space, the new models of citizenship and belonging that are embedded in Luanda spatiality, the emergence of the middle class faith based development models that combine with the Angolan neoliberal urban governance model. The analysis will ruminate in particular on the churches' networks and connections, both within the national and the transnational frames. Here, the socio-spatial connections with such European capitals as Lisbon and London will be presented as well as links with the neighboring countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo. I will show how different religious imaginaries and discourses move along these connections establishing a conquering religion based development formats that are embedded in Luanda city space. Special focus will be given to the role of such connections in creating and/or changing social spaces, political altitudes, moral ethos and visions of the future. The analysis will focus on case studies, based on extensive fieldwork conducted principally in Luanda, Lisbon and London as well as in several cities in Cape Vert, of two different Pentecostal churches: the Assembly of God of Maculusso (AGM) and the Bom Deus Church (BD). Both have started as missionary churches in Luanda, coming from two different spatial, social and theological backgrounds. The AGM is an outcome of the activity of Portuguese missionaries and the BD is rooted in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

panel Rel08
Religious organizations as moral agents in urban Africa