chapter  4
17 Pages

Democratic backsliding, religious institutions and the constitution of citizenship in sub-Saharan Africa

WithElizabeth Sheridan Sperber

The chapter examines the relationship between democratisation and the growth of African Charismatic and Pentecostal Christianity in sub-Saharan Africa. Drawing on the ‘Christian state’ of Zambia, the analysis explores diverging visions of ‘Christian citizenship’ across mainline, more broadly defined Charismatic and Pentecostal communities. Identifying the social, economic and political influence of faith-based institutions, the study demonstrates the significance of Christianity in contemporary Zambian politics as well as teasing out differences between denominations. In conclusion, the chapter argues that while mainline denominations remain attached to older conceptions of Christian citizenship that separate secular policy objectives from religious ones, new emergent Charismatic and Pentecostal actors present an alternative vision that brings together church and state, and sacred and profane, in the running of public affairs which poses new challenges to the African state.