‘Living as Londoners do’: born‐again Christians in convivial East London

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Abstract

Kenyan Pentecostals attempt to ‘live as Londoners do’ without compromising their devotion to God. Doing so necessitates co-existing with religious and non-religious others, including Muslims who they view simultaneously as a ‘threat’ to historically Christian Britain and an ‘example’ to emulate. While the anthropology of Christianity and of Islam have developed as separate sub-fields, pluralist settings like East London demand attention to inter-religious coexistence. To understand these born-again Christians’ subjectivities and lives, I draw on existential anthropology to explore how they navigate the circumstances in which they find themselves. I argue that Pentecostalism offers them the means to live as ‘good’ Christians and to seek material success and salvation in such a setting. More broadly, I suggest that an existential anthropological lens is well suited for studying pluralist contexts where relational encounters between diverse people and ideas are inevitable.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)402-417
Number of pages16
JournalSocial Anthropology / Anthropologie Sociale
Volume28
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 7 Aug 2020

Keywords

  • Pentecostalism, prosperity gospel, existential anthropology, London, Kenya, Pentecôtisme, évangile de prospérité, anthropologie existentielle, Londres