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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Religion, Class and Social Pluralism in Zaire
Author:MacGaffey, WyattISNI
Year:1990
Periodical:Canadian Journal of African Studies
Volume:24
Issue:2
Pages:249-264
Language:English
Geographic term:Congo (Democratic Republic of)
Subjects:Church
society
modernization
class formation
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Religion and Witchcraft
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/485260
Abstract:Zaire, like most African States, is in the throes of conversion from a postcolonial condition of social pluralism to one of institutional homogeneity structured by class. Most of the population, with widely varying chances of success, participate in the struggle to join the haves rather than the have-nots of the emergent society. This article considers the role of religion in this process. The major organized religious bodies are the Catholic, Protestant, and Kimbanguist churches. In the emergent class structure, Christianity in its Catholic, Protestant, and Kimbanguist forms has assumed some of the functions of an ideology in the service of the dominant class. Class formation itself, however, is impeded by the persistence of institutional pluralism, which affects individual lives at every social level. Ideological articulation between plural sectors takes the form of an obscure struggle in which, at one extreme, the refinements of theological talk about the enculturation of Christianity remain confined within the framework of 'modern' institutions; at the other, the practices of divination and magic proper to 'traditional' institutions are privately accepted by most of those who also represent the values of 'modernity'. These contradictions undermine the ideological dominance of the modern sector. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in French.
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