The Ethics of Wealth and Religious Pluralism in Burkina Faso: How Prosperity Gospel is Influencing the Current Religious Field in Africa
← 182 | 183 → Katrin Langewiesche
Abstract This chapter analyses the ethics of wealth and concepts of consumption within the pluralistic religious landscape of Burkina Faso. It demonstrates how Prosperity Gospel regulates religious differences or supports similarities across religious lines. After a brief look at the religious composition of contemporary Burkina Faso, particular attention is given to a comparative approach to three exemplary representations of Burkinabé Catholicism, Islam, and the Pentecostal movement. The empirical examples refer to Catholic convents, the Ahmadiyya movement and offshoots of the Assemblies of God in Burkina Faso. All three religious bodies have minority status, but they have an explicitly transnational character. The chapter outlines different dimensions of the ethics of wealth involved. Specific mention is made of the tension between asceticism and ostentation, the source and use of wealth, and its links to the use of mass media. The argument presented here is that the analysis of economic practices related to Prosperity Gospel provides an explanation for the recent Pentecostal dynamics. Yet, this perspective also promises a new theoretical approach regarding the link between religious pluralism, transnational religious movements and economic action in contemporary African societies.
The current Pentecostal wave, which is also gaining increasing ground in Francophone Africa, raises the question as to whether and how the Pentecostal habitus influences other religions. Studies on the construction of ethnicity have shown that an identity is always formed in relation to others.1 This also applies to religious identities: they form and change in conjunction...
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