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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'The Arrow of God': Pentecostalism, Inequality, and the Supernatural in South-Eastern Nigeria
Author:Smith, Daniel J.ISNI
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute
Geographic term:Nigeria
Subjects:Baptist Church
income distribution
Religion and Witchcraft
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/1161581
Abstract:In September 1996 the city of Owerri in southeastern Nigeria erupted in riots over popular suspicion that the town's 'nouveaux riches' were responsible for a spate of ritual murders allegedly committed in the pursuit of 'fast wealth'. In addition to destroying the properties of the purported perpetrators, the rioters burned several pentecostal churches. This article examines the place of religion in the Owerri crisis, particularly the central position of pentecostal Christianity in popular interpretations of the riots. While pentecostalism itself fuelled local interpretations that 'fast wealth' and inequality were the product of satanic rituals, popular rumours simultaneously accused some pentecostal churches of participating in the very occult practices that created instant prosperity and tremendous inequality. The analysis looks at the problematic relationship of pentecostalism to structures of inequality rooted in patron-clientism and focuses on the ways in which disparities in wealth and power in Nigeria are interpreted and negotiated through idioms of the supernatural. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French.