Ambivalent belonging: Born-again Christians between Africa and Europe

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Historically entangled with nation, race, and religion, questions of belonging are pressing and affective ones in Africa and Europe. Against the backdrop of anti-migrant hostility, globalization, and autochthonous claims, I consider how born-again Christians in London negotiate belonging between Kenya, their country of origin, and the United Kingdom, their country of residence. As ‘migrants’ and ‘diasporans’, they are seen as not belonging in either national context. Adopting a scalar approach, I argue that their identification as born-again Christians and claim to membership in a global Christian community allows them to ‘scale-jump’ and offers a morally and emotionally meaningful sense of belonging. At the same time, their encounters with various racial and religious Others locally, nationally, and transnationally mediate where they feel at ‘home’. In the face of contradictions and ambivalence, Pentecostalism helps them to navigate competing symbolic, material, and affective concerns as they seek belonging across multiple sociospatial scales.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Religion in Africa
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 17 Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Not yet published as of 10/05/2022.


  • Belonging
  • Pentecostalism
  • Born-again Christianity
  • Kenya
  • United Kingdom
  • Scale


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