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Blackberry Girls and Jesus’s Brides

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Pentecostal-Charismatic Christianity and the (Im-)Moralization of Urban Femininities in Contemporary Kinshasa

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Especially since the mid-2000s when cellular communication became more widespread in Kinshasa, Pentecostal leaders and followers increasingly reflect about the proper usage of the handset and insert it into reflections about ‘approved’ (ya malamu) and ‘disapproved’ (ya mabe) types of femininity. Via an examination of the critical role of electronic communication technologies in the construction of ‘Christian femininities’, I bring novel insights on the already much-debated question about Pentecostalism’s contribution to women’s lifeworlds. Amid applause for the liberating workings of Pentecostal-Charismatic rituals and associations, the ways that Pentecostalism installs new boundaries, promotes new preferences and lifestyles, and sanctions those who cannot comply with the new directives are often ignored. This article highlights the ambiguity of Pentecostal-Charismatic Christianity by comparing the discourse about two types of femininity that dominate in the churches: ‘bad girls’, of which Blackberry Girls are a subtype, and ‘brides of Jesus’.

Affiliations: 1: Institute of Anthropological Research in Africa – University of Leuven; Department of African Studies and Anthropology – University of BirminghamUK;


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