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Title:'If you are saved you cannot forget your parents': agency, power, and social repositioning in Tanzanian born-again Christianity
Author:Lindhardt, MartinISNI
Periodical:Journal of Religion in Africa (ISSN 0022-4200)
Geographic term:Tanzania
generation conflicts
religious conversion
External link:https://doi.org/10.1163/157006610X530330
Abstract:In much of the literature on African Pentecostalism, conversion has been associated with a striving for modernist individualist identities and a strategy for legitimizing social, generational rupture. This article contributes to the existing scholarly field by shedding light on the ways in which urban Tanzanian born-again Christians address generational antagonisms and position themselves in relation to elder generations. Drawing on anthropological discussions of the concept of agency and focusing particular attention on the ways in which a specific kind of agency is cultivated through participation in ritual, the author argues against a narrow association of born-again Christianity with modernist individualism. While an assertion of individual autonomy is implied in conversion, Tanzanian born-again Christians do not cease to be social beings, deeply embedded in family relationships. The author demonstrates how born-again religious practice enables urban Tanzanians to actively rephrase and sometimes even improve their relationships with unconverted family elders. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]