The Social Media Influencer and The Freezing of Pentecostal Power in Nigeria

Nigerian Pentecostalism is currently witnessing the surveilling and disciplinary gaze of the netizen. This has not always been the case in a country that has been rightly described as a Pentecostal Republic by the Nigerian sociologist, Ebenezer Obadare. The wide-reaching colonization of everyday life in the country by the forces of Pentecostalism is so pervasive that the ruling class in the country both jostle for the attention of the clerical elite and has itself at various times been constituted by pastors and politicians who publicly affirm a born-again identity. As Obadare makes clear, a Pentecostal understanding of society, culture, politics and historical dynamics in Nigeria, as well as the values and normative commitments that result from that understanding constitute a Pentecostal imaginary that accounts for much of Christian attitudes and explanations of the Nigerian condition. To put it simply, the Nigerian mind has to grapple with a Pentecostal culture that significantly structures and constrains its agency.

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James Yeku is an Assistant Professor of African Digital Humanities at the University of Kansas. He writes on digital cultures and African popular media.

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