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New ethnography of Pentecostal TV drama in Kinshasa

August 21, 2012

via Berghahn Books

THE MAKING OF THE PENTECOSTAL MELODRAMA
Religion, Media and Gender in Kinshasa
Katrien Pype

348 pages, 28 ills, bibliog., index
ISBN 978-0-85745-494-2 Hb $95.00/£60.00 Published (June 2012)
eISBN 978-0-85745-495-9
Hb $95.00

How religion, gender, and urban sociality are expressed in and mediated via television drama in Kinshasa is the focus of this ethnographic study. Influenced by Nigerian films and intimately related to the emergence of a charismatic Christian scene, these teleserials integrate melodrama, conversion narratives, Christian songs, sermons, testimonies, and deliverance rituals to produce commentaries on what it means to be an inhabitant of Kinshasa.

“Theoretically literate, based on superb ethnography, this book provides one of the best studies of television we have yet in African studies…[that] promises to open up a new field of analysis and define the standards for how this research is to be conducted…a landmark that will make a significant contribution to some of the main fields in African studies and anthropology.” · Brian Larkin, Columbia University

“[A] tour de force. This very elegantly and evocatively written ethnography of Congolese television drama is a path-breaking example of what it means to conduct and construct a thick description of a culture of media production.” · Debra Spitulnik Vidali, Emory University

“This book is beautifully written, theoretically sophisticated, nuanced in its analysis and empirically rich. Given that so much has already been written on African Pentecostalism, coming up with something original and new to say on the topic is quite a challenge, but Pype pulls it off and deserves a lot of credit for that.” · Martin Lindhardt, University of Copenhagen

“The author deserves great praise for the original way in which she moves her analysis beyond a mere observation of African Pentecostalism. This ethnographically grounded book not only captures the heterogeneity that marks Kinshasa in a beautiful way, but it also innovatively combines three currently burgeoning fields within anthropology: the anthropology of urban settings, the anthropology of youth, and the anthropology of media.” · Filip De Boeck, University of Leuven

Katrien Pype currently holds a Marie Curie postdoctoral fellowship. She is working at MIT and Katholieke Universiteit Leuven on social media and old age in Kinshasa.

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