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Catalog Archive / Spring 2023

Spirit Wives and Church Mothers
Women's Religious Participation in Central Mozambique

Women in Africa and the Diaspora
Stanlie M. James and Aili Mari Tripp, Founding Editors

“This ethnography is alive, giving the reader a wonderful window into life as lived in Central Mozambique. Bringing together spirit mediumship and Pentecostalism, Christy Schuetze shows how women living under patriarchy gain access to material security and social well-being by calling on both religious communities and the spirit world.”
—Sónia Silva, Skidmore College

Examining the simultaneous expansion of two emergent, rival healing networks

Since the beginning of the twenty-first century, Pentecostal churches have proliferated around the world. Expanding at astonishing rates in Africa, Latin America, and Asia, Pentecostalism has shifted Christianity’s global center of gravity from the West to the global South. In Spirit Wives and Church Mothers, Christy Schuetze explores how the growth of Pentecostal churches in central Mozambique occurred alongside a striking increase in so—called traditional religious practices such as spirit mediumship and spiritual healing. She follows women—who comprise the majority both of participants in Pentecostal churches and of initiates to new forms of mediumship—through two emergent, rival healing networks.

Drawing on years of field research, Schuetze offers a richly drawn ethnographic analysis of these important religious transformations in the lives of female participants. Illustrating how economic and social context shapes the possibilities for—and forms of—women’s empowerment, Spirit Wives and Church Mothers intervenes in scholarly debates about the nature of agency and challenges universalist Western feminist assumptions about the form of women’s liberation.

 

Christy Schuetze, associate professor of anthropology at Swarthmore College, has conducted extensive fieldwork in Mozambique for more than twenty years. She is the author of numerous articles on religious experience, witchcraft, and conservation.

 

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Table of Contents

Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction

1. The World is Upside Down: Reordering Society in a World Out of Balance

PART I: Spirits and Suffering in Historical and Contemporary Contexts
2. The Production and Integration of Suffering: Social Healing Across Generations
3. Economic Exclusion: The Search for Cash on the Margins
4. A Precarious World: The Hospital as Complementary Medicine

Part II: Searching for Stability
5. Misfortune and Women’s Vulnerability in Marriage
6. Becoming a Spirit Wife: Managing Spirits and the Dangers of Marriage
7. Bargaining with Patriarchy: Pentecostal Church Women and Social Renewal

Conclusion

Notes
Bibliography
Index

 


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August 2023
280 pp. 6 x 9

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Cloth $79.95 S
ISBN 9780299343804
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