AAA Annual Meeting Program

AAA Annual Meeting Program Details

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Paper Information:
Type: Paper
Author: RUTH MARSHALL (University of Toronto)   
Date/Time: Fri., 2:15 PM
Co-Author(s): RUTH MARSHALL (University of Toronto) 
Abstract: The experience of everyday life in Nigeria today has become for many an experience of the indeterminacy of all things, such that it becomes impossible to distinguish the real from the fake, the truth from the lie, the rule from its exception or suspension, an impossibility which applies as much to the realm of material objects as it does to the realm of social interaction, the state and the political sphere. Structures of hope and trust, with their horizons of expectation, give way to the violent uncertainty of the instant. In this context, what are the prospects of the promise, in its double structure as future present – at once ideal horizon and messianic event? Over the post-colonial period, democratization, with its structure as promise, has functioned at best as a violent regulative force, whereby the political realm has become dominated by temporalities of deferment that suspend present struggles for justice. Pentecostalism, a powerful force in the country today, claims to address the ‘failed promise’ of post-colonial politics, re-introducing the figure of the promise in its form as event by staging a quasi-democratic claim for justice and a messianic understanding of time. And yet, Pentecostalism’s individualism and its economy of miracles, in which each event is to be reinterpreted as a providential sign, fails to institute new forms of sovereignty or law in terms of which identities could stabilize, and rights and duties be elaborated. Caught between a theocratic impulse and quasi-democratic potential, Pentecostal practices of faith only exacerbate the radical uncertainty – and the radical freedom? – of the Nigerian postcolony.

Program Number: 3-0785
Session Sponsor: Co-Sponsored by Society for Cultural Anthropology and Society for Cultural Anthropology
Session Date/Time: Fri., 1:45 PM-5:30 PM
Organizer(s): BRIAN GOLDSTONE (Duke University) 
Chair(s): CHARLES PIOT (Duke University)  
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