‘Living as Londoners do’

Born‐again Christians in convivial East London

in Social Anthropology/Anthropologie sociale
Leslie Fesenmyer University of Birmingham l.fesenmyer@bham.ac.uk

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Kenyan Pentecostals attempt to ‘live as Londoners do’ without compromising their devotion to God. Doing so necessitates coexisting with religious and non‐religious others, including Muslims who they view simultaneously as a ‘threat’ to historically Christian Britain and an ‘example’ to emulate. While the anthropologies of Christianity and Islam have developed as separate sub‐fields, pluralist settings like East London demand attention to inter‐religious coexistence. To understand these born‐again Christians’ subjectivities and lives, I draw on existential anthropology to explore how they navigate the circumstances in which they find themselves. I argue that Pentecostalism offers them the means to live as ‘good’ Christians, allowing them to seek material success and salvation in such a setting. More broadly, I suggest that an existential anthropological lens is well suited for studying pluralist contexts where relational encounters between diverse people and ideas are inevitable.

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