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Full Access Conversion as Statelessness: A Study of Contemporary Algerian Conversions to Evangelical Christianity

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Conversion as Statelessness: A Study of Contemporary Algerian Conversions to Evangelical Christianity

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This article analyzes current practices of conversion to Evangelical Christianity from the perspective of a contentious relation between state and society in Algeria. Based on a pragmatist approach to religion as a contextual and practical accomplishment, this study shows how Evangelical Christianity has provided converts with a new understanding of freedom that is based on the cultivation of a pure faith. It examines how this renewed piety contributes to the formation of an alternative ideal of the Algerian nation, one that contradicts the Arabo-Islamist FLN imposed narrative. Drawing upon observations gathered during several research trips in Kabylia, Algiers and Oran, this paper does not seek to develop a general theory of Muslim conversions in the Muslim world. Rather, it presents the ways in which conversion is practiced and explained by Algerian converts within the specific political and cultural context in which they live. It shows how converts’ discourse and practice connect global Evangelical themes to claims and contentions that emerge specifically from Algerian political and religious history. In doing so, it seeks to contribute to the ongoing scholarly discussions of the complex ways in which global Pentecostalism blends into local cultures.

Affiliations: 1: European University Institute, Florence, Italy Nadia.marzouki@gmail.com

10.1163/187633712X626053
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This article analyzes current practices of conversion to Evangelical Christianity from the perspective of a contentious relation between state and society in Algeria. Based on a pragmatist approach to religion as a contextual and practical accomplishment, this study shows how Evangelical Christianity has provided converts with a new understanding of freedom that is based on the cultivation of a pure faith. It examines how this renewed piety contributes to the formation of an alternative ideal of the Algerian nation, one that contradicts the Arabo-Islamist FLN imposed narrative. Drawing upon observations gathered during several research trips in Kabylia, Algiers and Oran, this paper does not seek to develop a general theory of Muslim conversions in the Muslim world. Rather, it presents the ways in which conversion is practiced and explained by Algerian converts within the specific political and cultural context in which they live. It shows how converts’ discourse and practice connect global Evangelical themes to claims and contentions that emerge specifically from Algerian political and religious history. In doing so, it seeks to contribute to the ongoing scholarly discussions of the complex ways in which global Pentecostalism blends into local cultures.

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/content/journals/10.1163/187633712x626053
2012-01-01
2016-12-11

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