Catholic Pentecostalism and the Paradoxes of Africanization

Processes of Localization in a Catholic Charismatic Movement in Cameroon


The anthropological literature on religious innovation and resistance in African Christianity tended to focus almost exclusively on what have come to be known as African Independent Churches. Very few anthropological studies have looked at similar processes within mission churches. Through an ethnographic study of localizing processes in a Charismatic movement in Cameroon and Paris, the book critically explores the dialectics between ‘Pentecostalization’ and ‘Africanization’ within contemporary African Catholicism. It appears that both processes pursue, although for different purposes, the missionary policy of dismantling local cultures and religions: practices and discourses of Africanization dissect them in search of ‘authentic’ African values; Charismatic ritual on the other hand features the dramatization of the defeat of local deities and spirits by Christianity.

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Biographical Note

Ludovic Lado, D. Phil. in Social Anthropology, University of Oxford, teaches in the Faculty of Social Sciences and Management of the Catholic University of Central Africa in Yaoundé (Cameroon).

Review Quotes

"Lado’s study brilliantly illuminates how this ongoing tension is negotiated in the context of the global Catholic charismatic renewal."
Amos Yong, Regent University School of Divinity, Religious Studies Review, Vol. 36, No. 2

"This is a book that cuts across many disciplines. Students of Religionswissenschaft, sociology, anthropology, political science, and history, as well as policy makers and leaders of various kinds of religious bodies or institutions will be engaged with it. It is informative and enlightening."
John W. Forje, University of Yaoundé and University of Buea, Cameroon, Pneuma 32

"This is an important book for those seeking to understand the nuanced evolution of Christianity in Africa as a non-Western religion."
J. Kwabena Asamoah-Gyadu, Trinity Theological Seminary, Ghana, International Bulletin, Vol. 34, No. 1

"This book takes on a fascinating and hitherto unstudied part of Catholic Christianity in Cameroon, the Charismatic healing movement of Meinrad Hebga."
Jörg Haustein, SOAS, University of London, Journal of Religion in Africa 44

"At the center of the discussion in the book as a whole is the concept of inculturation as it has been promoted within the Catholic Church, most particularly in Africa."
Patrick Claffey, Milltown Institute of Theology and Philosophy, Ireland, African Studies Review


The book will be of relevance to anthropologists of religion, medical anthropologists, missiologists and theologians working on African Christianity and particularly interested in postcolonial religious discourses and practices in Africa.

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