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Senior Research Seminar: Dr Anna-Riikka Kauppinen

When Oct 12, 2018
from 04:15 PM to 06:00 PM
Where Edmund Leach Room Department of Social Anthropology Free School Lane, Cambridge
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Dr Anna-Riikka Kauppinen (Max Planck-Cambridge Research Centre)

Prayer Theory of Value: ritual labour in Ghana’s new private sector

Christian ritual practice has become an integral aspect of organisational life in Ghana’s post-1990s private sector. Annual Thanksgiving services, daily collective fellowship, spontaneous prayer sessions and fasting rotas rhythm the workflow alongside meetings, quarterly audits and performance reviews. Situated in the capital Accra where Charismatic Pentecostalism has gained popularity since the past 30 years of economic liberalisation, this paper zooms into media and recruitment companies run by middle-class entrepreneurs who conceptualise the economy as governed by God’s will and purpose. In dialogue with anthropological debates on ritual economies and the convergence of spirituality and corporate management, I discuss prayer and fasting as labour that generates diverse type of value: economic, ethical and spiritual. Far from an escapist retreat to miraculous belief, ritual life in Ghana’s private sector is animated by historically specific middle-class ethical visions of respectable nationhood while being shaped by regenerative logics of circulation between kin and non-kin, and human and non-human worlds.  

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