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Les Lieux de L'expansion Évangélique à Cotonou : Centralité des Espaces Cultuels et Dilution des Espaces du Prosélytisme

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Focusing on the ways in which evangelical movements appropriate space, this article analyses the current dynamics of Christian expansion in Cotonou (Benin). Religious actors use all the opportunities the city off ers in terms of space, as they invest more and more sites with evangelical symbols. A double process is at play: on the one hand, the dynamics of these highly volatile and scattered sites, which are overrun by religious manifestations and give the impression that the whole city is being proselytized and, on the other, the valorisation of sites of worship as symbols of permanency and settlement for religious entrepreneurs. e paper concentrates on three processes: the centrality of sites of worship as the main framework of religious activity; the fragmentation of sites of proselytism which results in the presence of Christian actors in places that have no worshiping dimension and that were initially dedicated to other types of social activities; finally, the dilution of spaces of proselytism leading to the occupation of collective sites as well as the private sphere (squares, streets, concessions). Cet article étudie les dynamiques de l'expansion chrétienne à Cotonou (Bénin) à partir des modes d'appropriation de l'espace par les expressions évangéliques contemporaines. Les acteurs religieux utilisent toutes les opportunités que leur off re la ville en termes d'espace : de plus en plus de lieux sont investis par des acteurs et des symboles évangéliques. Un double processus est à l'œuvre : d'un côté une dynamique d'éclatement et de volatilité des espaces investis par le religieux, comme si la ville entière constituait un terrain de prosélytisme, de l'autre une logique de valorisation des lieux de culte, symbole de permanence et d'enracinement pour les entrepreneurs religieux. Trois processus sont étudiés : la centralité des lieux de culte comme cadre principal de l'activité religieuse ; la fragmentation des lieux du prosélytisme qui se traduit par la présence d'acteurs chrétiens dans des espaces n'ayant aucune dimension cultuelle et dédiés initialement et principalement à d'autres activités sociales ; la dilution des espaces de prosélytisme, enfi n, correspondant à une occupation de lieux collectifs et d'espaces privés : places, rues, concessions.


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