Library Header Image
LSE Theses Online London School of Economics web site

Relating as children of God: ruptures and continuities in kinship among pentecostal Christians in the south-east of the Republic of Benin

Quiroz, Sitna (2013) Relating as children of God: ruptures and continuities in kinship among pentecostal Christians in the south-east of the Republic of Benin. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

PDF - Submitted Version
Download (94MB) | Preview


This thesis constitutes an ethnographic exploration of the ways in which conversion to Pentecostalism contributes to redefining some of the principles of kinship in a patrilineal society. It looks beyond notions of individualism often emphasised in studies on Pentecostalism, in order to focus on people’s relationships. In doing so, it explores how relational ruptures brought about by conversion are accommodated along cultural continuities. This study takes place in Pobe and Ikpinle, two semi-rural towns, in a pluri-ethnic and pluri-religious setting with a majority Yoruba population, close to the Beninese border with Nigeria. Studies of Pentecostalism in Africa have emphasised kinship and family relations as one of the areas where, upon conversion, the Pentecostal command to “break with the past” and with “tradition” is most strongly expressed. Ruptures in these areas have been explained as the result of the influence of Pentecostalism in shaping individualist modern subjectivities. However, the ethnographic material presented here reveals that, although discursively these ruptures are often articulated as radical, in practice they do not always appear as such. Converts still depend on and cultivate their social relationships with their kin. Through a process of breaking and re-making, Pentecostalism opens a space for redefining forms of relating, through a selective reappropriation of certain cultural norms and values. The thesis also looks at some of the dilemmas that Christian notions of kinship bring about in this context, and the specific ways in which Pentecostals - compared to members of other Christian denominations - deal with them. This thesis draws on anthropological studies and debates on funerals, time, descent, marriage, gender, ethics and moral dilemmas, in order to explore how the Pentecostal project of “breaking with the past” shapes different aspects of people’s kinship. It aims to contribute to the literature on the anthropology of Christianity by exploring the complexities of this form of religion, as it appears in one of its denominational variants in a pluri-religious setting.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2013 Sitna Quiroz
Library of Congress subject classification: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Sets: Departments > Anthropology
Supervisor: James, Deborah and Engelke, Matthew

Actions (login required)

Record administration - authorised staff only Record administration - authorised staff only


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics