Pentecostalism and Alternative Paths for Self-Accomplishment in Kenya

Interview with Yvan Droz, Senior Lecturer in Anthropology and Sociology at the Graduate Institute, and Yonatan N. Gez, PhD alumnus of the Institute and a member of the Martin Buber Society of Fellows in the Humanities and Social Sciences at HUJI Jerusalem.

Author : Daryona.
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Introduction

Yvan Droz, Senior Lecturer in Anthropology and Sociology at the Graduate Institute, and Yonatan N. Gez, PhD alumnus of the Institute and a member of the Martin Buber Society of Fellows in the Humanities and Social Sciences at HUJI Jerusalem, are among the authors of a chapter on Pentecostalism and self-accomplishment in Kenya, published in Religion and Human Security in Africa (Routledge). As they explain below, they find that while neo-Pentecostalism and, to a lesser extent, vigilantism are two new social institutions offering the frustrated youth alternative paths to adulthood, both are underpinned by a backwards-looking, neotraditionalist ethos of self-accomplishment.

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Project SALMEA

Project SALMEA examines how men and women in contemporary East Africa seek—whether successfully or not—to access and transmit wealth, power, respectability, and authority. These goals may pose a formidable challenge as fast-changing social realities informed by structural change are fundamentally affecting local practices and representations of a well-led life and the practical paths for its achievement.

The project explores the dialectic relations between forms of self- accomplishment and repertoires of morality by focusing on four central themes: wealth, violence, religion, and kinship. They are examined from their economic, political, social, and symbolic dimensions by our interdisciplinary research team and partners.Our approach uses ethnographic field data, historical records and the relevant academic literature on questions of authority, ownership, inheritance, and kinship in East Africa.