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|Pentecostalism and the Arts of Insistence: Examples from Botswana
|Dijk, Rijk van
|Journal of Religion in Africa (ISSN 0022-4200)
|This contribution explores the significance of religious practices that put emphasis on encouraging people to hold their position when others question the ideological or dogmatic elements of their faith. Applying the term 'religious insistence', it investigates these practices with a view to the ways in which Pentecostals take a position vis-à-vis the challenges they confront in the sociopolitical domain. Contributing to the study of religious activism, we show that practices of insistence are neither fully resistant nor fully acquiescent with regard to the existing situation. We argue that these practices of holding one's ground, which we subsume under the term 'insistence', represent a specific modality of formulating one's identity in regard to others that is neither about provoking structural change, as a resistance perspective would emphasise, nor about condoning a structural situation as is and remaining fully acquiescent with it. While in Pentecostal contexts insistence does not take up-front political protest as its main focus, it can still be interpreted as a form of religious activism since it often entails some form of critical response toward a given sociopolitical order or process. By drawing attention to how religious insistence manifests itself in and through Pentecostalism, this contribution proposes to enrich the study of religious activism in Africa and opens up a perspective that addresses assertiveness as a register of expression that differs from resistance and acquiescence.