Between the Private and the Public Sphere
Pentecostals Dealing with Witchcraft in Ibadan, Nigeria
Keywords:Pentecostalism, Islam, witchcraft, Yoruba, African traditional religion, Christianity
Since the 1980s, Pentecostalism has grown immensely in Nigeria. At the same time, witchcraft fears have intensified and stories about flying women, ritual murders and secret cults have been spread through the Nigerian media. Books allegedly written by former initiates of witchcraft are read by Pentecostals and non-Pentecostals alike. Witchcraft beliefs are cultivated in Pentecostal churches, and researchers credit much of their appeal to the fact that they take such beliefs seriously and address them publicly. This paper gives an example from the field by comparing two Pentecostal churches in urban southwestern Nigeria to discuss how and under which circumstances Pentecostals deal with witchcraft in a public or private manner. It concludes that Pentecostals appropriate global discourses when dealing with witchcraft and oscillate between the private and the public sphere in doing so.
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