Abstract and Keywords
The late twentieth century saw the rise of new forms of religiosity and a growing consensus about the utility of the concept of ‘religion’ to describe a wide range of beliefs and practices. The idea that Africa was perpetually in need of modernization and socio-economic ‘development’ influenced the theological and practical evolution of Christianity, Islam, and various ‘indigenous’ spiritual traditions. Pentecostalism and reformist Islam shared a turn towards the personalization of spiritual quests and a sense of rupture with the recent past. New movements attacked existing institutions, paths to religious knowledge and authority, and the perceived routinization of spiritual guidance. New patterns of connection between Africa and the rest of the world produced complex mixings and inventions separate from the movement of peoples or the territorial expansion of empires. Further research is needed into the links between the political and financial institutions shaping recent forms of globalization and the intellectual and social content of new religious movements.
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