Worlds of Power

Religious Thought and Political Practice in Africa
  • Publication Date: 2004
  • Dimensions and Pages: 230 x 150mm, 272pp
  • EAN: 9781868144051
  • Recommended Price (ZAR): 

‘Power in the material world, most Africans continue to believe, cannot be separated from its source in the spiritual. It is the singular genius of authors Stephen Ellis and Gerrie ter Haar that they understand the encompassing nature and centrality of this belief. […] The clarity and accuracy of this analytical lens makes World of Power one of the most important books on African religion — and, indeed, on African politics – to appear in many years.’ — Professor R. Scott Appleby, University of Notre Dame.

Far from falling off the map of the world, Africa is today a leading centre of  Christianity and growing field of Islamic activism. African traditional religions are gaining converts in the West.

Religious belief has a huge impact on politics in Africa, from top of society to the bottom. Religious ideas show what people actually think about the world  and how to deal with it. Stories about witches, miracles and people returning from the dead incite political action.

Ellis and Ter Haar maintain that the specific content of religious thought has bee grasped of we are to appreciate the political significance of religion in Africa today, and this is what their book sets out to do. It also advances understanding of the relation between religion and political action in general.

Stephen Ellis is Director of the Africa Programme at the International Crisis Group (ICG) in Brussels, and a senior researcher at the African Studies Center, Leiden.

Gerrie ter Haar is Professor of Religion, Human Rights and Social Change at the institute of  Social Studies in The Hague.

With Christopher Hurst (UK)

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