Religious Spaces of Care in the Postsecular City
Nigerian Pentecostals and Civic Engagement in London
Keywords:Nigerian Pentecostalism, transnationalism, diaspora churches, civic engagement, postsecular, neoliberalism, social policy
This article examines the civic engagement of two Nigerian Pentecostal churches in London: the London Lighthouse and Freedom’s Ark. Firstly, it sets the context by reviewing the literature on immigrant religion and civic engagement, and examining the relationship between faith and social policy during the ‘decade of austerity’ and subsequent COVID-19 pandemic. It then describes the case study churches and outlines their civic activities. Finally, the article considers the characteristics of Nigerian Pentecostal churches that shape their civic activities. The increasing prominence of churches and faith-based organizations in social welfare provision in Britain has led to claims that faith groups are being co-opted into the wider processes of neoliberal governance. Drawing on research conducted in London, I show that in some contexts Nigerian Pentecostal civic activities represent ethical forms of resistance to neoliberal politics, especially those that address issues related to social and economic justice.
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