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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Trading on faith: religious movements and informal economic governance in Nigeria
Author:Meagher, KateISNI
Year:2009
Periodical:Journal of Modern African Studies
Volume:47
Issue:3
Pages:397-423
Language:English
Geographic term:Nigeria
Subjects:religious movements
informal sector
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/40538318
Abstract:The pressures of economic crisis and reform that have gripped African societies have been accompanied by a proliferation of new religious movements. Amid concerns about the political impact of religious revivalism, little attention has been devoted to their economic implications. Focusing on the remarkable coincidence between the withdrawal of the State, the rise of religious movements, and the dramatic expansion of the informal economy, this paper examines the role of religious revivalism in processes of informal economic governance and class formation in contemporary Africa. Against the background of the historical role of religion in the development of market institutions across the continent, it traces the dynamics of religious revivalism and informal economic regulation in two regions of Nigeria: an informal textile cluster in the Muslim Yoruba city of Ilorin, and informal shoe and garment manufacturing clusters in the Christian Igbo city of Aba. Rather than representing a return to occultist or patrimonial impulses, new religious movements reveal distinctly Weberian tendencies. However, modernizing tendencies fostered within the informal economy by popular religious revivalism are being stunted by the relentless pressures of liberalization, globalization and pseudo-democratization. Progressive religious tendencies among the poor are being instrumentalized by religious entrepreneurs and political elites, undermining fragile processes of entrepreneurial class formation taking place within the informal economy. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]
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