Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Urban Sociology

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | Department of Social Sciences | Urban Sociology | Think&Drink Colloquium | Dateien_english | WiSe19_20_en | Urban Infrastructure and Pentecostalism: Reflections from Lagos and Kinshasa

Urban Infrastructure and Pentecostalism: Reflections from Lagos and Kinshasa

  • When Jan 06, 2020 from 06:00 to 08:00
  • Where Universitätsstraße 3b; 10117 Berlin; R002
  • Attendees Dr. Gareth Millington, University of York (Chair) Prof. Talja Blokland, Humboldt University Berlin
  • iCal

Title: Urban Infrastructures and Pentecostalism: Reflections from Lagos and Kinshasa


Speaker: Dr. Gareth Millington, University of York


(Abstract below)


The Think and Drink Series is presented by the Georg-Simmel-Center for Metropolitan Studies @ HU Berlin

-> on Mondays 6pm ct Room 002 (Ground Floor)

-> Universitätsstraße 3b / 10117 Berlin

-> Free & open to anyone interested in Urban Sociology, no prior registration needed

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Following recent research in Lagos and Kinshasa, this paper critically analyses examples of urban infrastructure financed and provided by Pentecostal organisations. These include electricity and water supply, bridges, as well as new homes, schools, universities and hospitals. The questions posed by this paper are: what is distinctive about this mode of urbanisation? How should we understand the ontology of religious urban infrastructure? And, what distinct kinds of urban social relations do these ‘infrastructural experiments’ result in? On a fundamental level, infrastructural projects delivered by religious actors challenge the assumption in urban studies that urbanisation has become a secular process, driven solely by relations between market and state. As such we consider the degree to which urban theory adequately makes sense of infrastructure that is understood by its providers and users to exist by ‘faith of God’. Evocations of ‘lively’ infrastructures, the ‘poetics’ of infrastructure and ‘enchanted’ materialities go some way towards understanding these developments, but critical questions concerning responsibility for planning and infrastructural delivery, inclusivity and the imaginaries tied to these new infrastructures remain. This paper address these issues and more broadly, the novel ‘relation between things’ associated with a Pentecostal ‘alter-city’ that exists within but also as an extension of/ in opposition to the mega-city.