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Open Access 'We did not come here as tenants, but as landlords': Nigerian Pentecostals and the Power of Maps

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'We did not come here as tenants, but as landlords': Nigerian Pentecostals and the Power of Maps

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image of African Diaspora

This article is an attempt to show how the spaces in which African Christians in Amsterdam can move are produced by the mapping of various actors and the geographies that are created based on these maps. It first situates and describes a Nigerian-initiated Pentecostal church within global cultural flows, in relation to Nigeria and in relation to the Netherlands. In the view of many African Pentecostals, Europe, and by extension the Netherlands and Amsterdam, are territories which should be won back for Jesus. Subsequently, I show how 'producing the local' is crucially important to the goals of this church and how this relates to mapping and the production of religious geographies. The last part of this paper analyses how one particular location of this church, namely the South East of Amsterdam, shows up on a very different map that pinpoints this neighbourhood as a centre of Nigerian crime. In both cases, maps turn out to be a powerful means to mobilise money and people to produce long-lasting results. Cet article tente de montrer comment les espaces dans lesquels les Africains chrétiens d'Amsterdam peuvent se mouvoir sont produits par la stratégie d'acteurs variés et que les géographies créées sont basées sur ces plans. Il situe et décrit d'abord l'église pentecôtiste nigériane dans les flux culturels globaux entre le Nigeria et les Pays-Bas. L'Europe, et par extension les Pays-Bas et Amsterdam, est un territoire que Jésus devrait récupérer. Par la suite, je montre que « produire une localité » est extrêmement important pour cette église et comment cela se rapporte à la stratégie et à la production de géographies religieuses. La dernière partie de cet article montre qu'une localisation particulière de cette église, à savoir le sud-est d'Amsterdam, révèle une carte très diff érente qui indique les alentours comme un centre du crime nigérian. Dans les deux cas, les cartes se révèlent un moyen puissant pour mobiliser des gens et des ressources afin de produire des résultats durables.


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