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Mermaids and Spirit Spouses: Rituals as Technologies of Gender in Transnational African Pentecostal Spaces

Author:

Jeanne Rey

Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, CH
About Jeanne
PhD, Anthropology and Sociology of Development Department, Researcher
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Abstract

This article aims to approach the construction of gender in transnational spacesby focusing on the ritual practice of African Pentecostal migrants in Europeand in Africa. One dimension of African Pentecostalism is its insistence on thepractice of exorcism called ‘deliverance’ where malevolent spirits are expelledfrom one’s body. Within the Pentecostal demonology, several categories ofspirits carry implications for how gender is constructed. This article will analyseeffects of the appearance of these spirits on the construction of genderamong Ghanaian and Congolese Pentecostal churches in Geneva and in Accra.It will show that variations in the appearance of spirits within rituals can beinterpreted as a negotiation of gender roles in a migratory context. Shifts inPentecostal demonology can therefore be interpreted as a response to thereconfiguration of gender roles associated with the broader gender contextand work opportunities in Europe.
DOI: http://doi.org/10.18352/rg.8422
How to Cite: Rey, J., (2013). Mermaids and Spirit Spouses: Rituals as Technologies of Gender in Transnational African Pentecostal Spaces. Religion and Gender. 3(1), pp.60–75. DOI: http://doi.org/10.18352/rg.8422
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Published on 13 Apr 2013.
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