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THE MAKING OF THE PENTECOSTAL MELODRAMA

Religion, Media and Gender in Kinshasa

Katrien Pype

348 pages, 28 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-0-85745-494-2 $95.00/£60.00 Hb Published (June 2012)

eISBN 978-0-85745-495-9 eBook $95.00/£60.00 Published


Hb eBook
 

"Pype's evocative study makes a most valuable contribution to the scholarship of African new religious movements and media. She connects the study of African Pentecostalism, media and the contemporary urban world of the 'Afropolis' of Kinshasa in a superb ethnography. The book is analytically nuanced, theoretically grounded and beautifully written."  ·  Anthropology Southern Africa

Pype's study is particularly ethnographically rich while raising some very cutting-edge questions about popular culture, mediation, gender and age, and the relation between modernity and 'tradition.'…[It] is a valuable examination of Christianity, media, and modernity in one contemporary society, with great application across religions and societies…[and] an important addition to the understanding of vernacular religion and the construction of modern selves, especially in circumstances of rapid social change and the disorientations caused by it.  ·  Anthropology Review Database

Readers learn of the dynamic processes through which people cope with vicissitudes, often dramatized by mesmerizing music and embodied through dance…[Pype’s] compelling study joins important work by scholars of contemporary African media… while introducing one of the continent's less well-known yet greatest cities. Highly recommended.”  ·  Choice

“Theoretically literate, based on superb ethnography, this book provides one of the best studies of television we have yet in African studies…[that] promises to open up a new field of analysis and define the standards for how this research is to be conducted…a landmark that will make a significant contribution to some of the main fields in African studies and anthropology.”  ·  Brian Larkin, Columbia University

“[A] tour de force. This very elegantly and evocatively written ethnography of Congolese television drama is a path-breaking example of what it means to conduct and construct a thick description of a culture of media production.”  ·  Debra Spitulnik Vidali, Emory University

“This book is beautifully written, theoretically sophisticated, nuanced in its analysis and empirically rich. Given that so much has already been written on African Pentecostalism, coming up with something original and new to say on the topic is quite a challenge, but Pype pulls it off and deserves a lot of credit for that.”  ·  Martin Lindhardt, University of Copenhagen

“The author deserves great praise for the original way in which she moves her analysis beyond a mere observation of African Pentecostalism. This ethnographically grounded book not only captures the heterogeneity that marks Kinshasa in a beautiful way, but it also innovatively combines three currently burgeoning fields within anthropology: the anthropology of urban settings, the anthropology of youth, and the anthropology of media.”  ·  Filip De Boeck, University of Leuven

How religion, gender, and urban sociality are expressed in and mediated via television drama in Kinshasa is the focus of this ethnographic study. Influenced by Nigerian films and intimately related to the emergence of a charismatic Christian scene, these teleserials integrate melodrama, conversion narratives, Christian songs, sermons, testimonies, and deliverance rituals to produce commentaries on what it means to be an inhabitant of Kinshasa.

Katrien Pype currently holds a Marie Curie postdoctoral fellowship. She is working at MIT and Katholieke Universiteit Leuven on social media and old age in Kinshasa.

Series: Volume 6, Anthropology of Media


LC: GN654.P97 2012

BL: YC.2013.a.4776

BISAC: SOC052000 SOCIAL SCIENCE/Media Studies; SOC039000 SOCIAL SCIENCE/Sociology of Religion; SOC002010 SOCIAL SCIENCE/Anthropology/Cultural

BIC: JHMC Social & cultural anthropology, ethnography; JFSR Religious groups: social & cultural aspects


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Contents

Illustrations
Acknowledgements
On Language

Chapter 1. The First Episode

  • Religion, Media and Kinshasa’s Public Sphere
  • Working with Cultural Producers
  • Mediation and Remediation
  • Research Methodologies
  • Structure of the Text

Chapter 2. Cursing the City. The Ethnographic Field and the Pentecostalist Imagination

  • The Heat of Kinshasa
  • Competing Christianities
  • Signs of the Apocalypse
  • Witchcraft, or the Extraction of Life
  • A Christian Key Scenario
  • To Conclude: (Re-)Presenting the Apocalypse

Chapter 3. Of Fathers and Names. Social Dynamics in an Evangelising Drama Group

  • Bienvenu Toukebana: Setting up and Managing a Drama Group
  • Fiston ‘Chapy’ Muzama: From Rapper to Pastor
  • The Pastor and Maman Pasteur
  • Clovis Ikala: Setting up a New Theatre Company
  • Cinarc versus the Group of Muyombe Gauche: Rivalries among Troupes
  • Mamy Moke and her Lover
  • Ance Luzolo: Boasting with a Contact
  • Conclusion

Chapter 4. Variations on Divine Afflatus. Artistic Inspiration, Special Effects, and Sermons

  • The Christian Artist
  • The Pastor
  • Special Effects as Visual Evidence
  • Conclusion: Special Effects, Dreams and Melodrama

Chapter 5. Mimesis in Motion. Embodied Experiences of Performers and Spectators

  • Going into Seclusion
  • Mimesis and Possession
  • Spectators and the Sacred
  • Visuality and the Senses
  • Framing to Protect
  • Closing Notes: Mediating Performances

Chapter 6. The Right Road. Moral Movements, Confessions and the Christian Subject

  • ‘I am a Sinner’
  • The Moral Movement
  • A Modern Purification?
  • To Conclude I: Mediation by the Holy Spirit: Transformation from Evil to Purity
  • To Conclude II: Melodrama and Rituals

Chapter 7. Opening up the Country. Christian Popular Culture, the Generation Trouble and Time

  • The Difference between Existing and Living
  • The Generation Trouble
  • The Healing Power of Narrative
  • Past, Present and Future
  • To Conclude: Youth, Christianity and Development

Chapter 8. Marriage comes from God. Negotiating Matrimony and Sexuality (Part I)

  • Against Ethnic Endogamous Marriages: Mayimona
  • Incest Reconsidered: The Devouring Fire
  • Negotiating Adultery: The Open Tomb
  • Concluding Notes: Playing the Games

Chapter 9. The Danger of Sex. Negotiating Matrimony and Urban Sexuality (Part II)

  • Kindumba: Deviations from Accepted Sexual Practices
  • God’s Men Making Meaning of Sex
  • Opposing Messages
  • Women and Social Power: The Moziki Women and Vedettes

Conclusion I: Negotiations about Matrimony and Sexuality
Conclusion II: The Melodrama and the Feminine

Chapter 10. Closure, Subplots and Cliffhanger

  • The Melodrama on and beyond the Screen
  • Cultural Producers in an Apocalyptic Society
  • The Recovery of the Salon
  • The Next Episode

Bibliography
Index

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