Rel07
Religion, citizenship and everyday practices in Africa

Convenors:
Henni Alava (University of Jyväskylä)
Alessandro Gusman (University of Turin)
Stream:
Religion
Location:
Chrystal McMillan, Seminar Room 4
Wednesday 12 June, 14:15-15:45

Short abstract:

This panel extends understanding of the nexus between religion and citizenship in contemporary Africa by exploring how "religious citizenship" is formed through everyday practices and outside of explicitly political or religious arenas.

Long abstract:

This panel extends understanding of the nexus between religion and citizenship in contemporary Africa by exploring how "religious citizenship" is formed through everyday practices and outside of explicitly political or religious arenas. A focus on citizenship highlights the double role of religion as both an engine of social change, and a carrier of continuity. While schools and political parties affiliated with religious groups have historically nurtured ideas and practices of citizenship that continue to structure public debate, religion has also been a central source of disruption. In the 21st Century, new movements in Christianity and Islam have introduced radical lexicons of 'moral citizenship' (Bompani and Valois 2017), and contributed to transforming the ways in which networks of kinship, business, and politics are organised. But where does religion wield its influence on ideas of citizenship, and how? We suggest looking not only to formal arenas of civic education (churches, mosques, schools or political rallies), but to 'less obvious' spaces and processes: the ways in which ideas and practices of the morally good citizen are constructed in the everyday (Lambek 2010), to disruptions that alter habituated citizenship practices (Dewey 1916), or to how religion contributes to the tactics people employ to engage with the powers that structure their lives (de Certeau 2011). Such views open possibilities for analysis emerging from diverse empirical settings. While most of the published research on these themes has focused on Islam and Christianity, we encourage researchers working on any religious tradition to share their empirically-grounded insights.