Touched by the Spirit. Converting the senses in a Ghanaian charismatic church

M. de Witte

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Abstract

This article discusses the bodily mass reproduction of divine touch in Ghanaian charismatic Pentecostalism and argues for an understanding of conversion as an ongoing bodily process that 'tunes' the senses to specific sensory experiences. Presenting a case study of the International Central Gospel Church in Accra, it asks how the church's explicit appeal to the body relates to its strong suspicion of bodily mediation and its ideology of conversion as an inner transformation of the spirit and only secondarily of the body. It shows that the learning of the church doctrine that grounds born-again subjectivity in spontaneous and immediate experiences of being touched by the Holy Spirit goes together with repeated performance and gradual embodiment of sensory and bodily 'formats' that evoke such experiences, but also raise concerns about their authenticity. © 2011 Copyright Routledge Journals, Taylor and Francis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)489-509
JournalEthnos
Volume76
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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