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Title:The safe and suffering body in transnational Ghanaian Pentecostalism: towards an anthropology of vulnerable agency
Author:Dijk, Rijk vanISNI
Book title:Strength beyond structure: social and historical trajectories of agency in Africa
Geographic term:Botswana
Abstract:In Ghanaian society, funerals and the elaborate festivities they usually entail require enormous investments on the part of relatives who need elaborate structures of support and reciprocity to cope with these events. In the Ghanaian migrant community in Botswana, Ghanaian Pentecostal churches often take a prominent position in negotiating the terms of support for funerals. This chapter uses the death of a Ghanaian hairdresser without close relatives in Botswana to investigate the dimensions of agency of these churches and the migrant community in the context of the precarious position of foreigners in Botswana. The death of the hairdresser brought into sharp relief the vulnerabilities to which Ghanaian immigrants are exposed, ranging from poverty, illness and death, to notions of the tarneshing of their public image if events such as death are not dealt with properly. The chapter explores the religious meaning of vulnerability among the members of Pentecostal churches, moving away from perspectives based on livelihood and trauma to investigate how a less negative appreciation of vulnerability can be developed. Bibliogr., sum. [Book abstract, edited]