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«Pastures of Plenty»: Tracing Religio-Scapes of Prosperity Gospel in Africa and Beyond


Andreas Heuser

Prosperity Gospel, a controversial strand in global Christianity, relates material wealth to divine blessing. Originating in American Pentecostal milieus, it is most successful in Africa. Authors from four continents present interdisciplinary, multi-sited and comparative analyses of Prosperity Gospel in Africa and beyond. Prosperity theologies adapt to varied political contexts and travel outside Pentecostalism into the wider religious arena. Its components trigger discourses within ecumenical Christianity and are transformed in transnational Christian networks of migrants; they turn up in African shrine religion and African Islam. Pastures of Plenty maps the evolving religio-scapes of Prosperity Gospel.
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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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