Modernity's limits: Pentecostalism and the moral rejection of alcohol in Malawi

TitleModernity's limits: Pentecostalism and the moral rejection of alcohol in Malawi
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2002
AuthorsR.A. van Dijk
EditorD.F. Bryceson
Secondary TitleAlcohol in Africa : mixing business, pleasure, and politics
Pagination249 - 264
Date Published2002///
Place PublishedPortsmouth
Publication Languageeng
KeywordsAfrica, alcoholic beverages, Baptist Church, drinking customs, generation conflicts, Malawi, Pentecostalism

In the mid-1970s, teenagers and secondary school and university students suddenly took to the streets of Malawi's main urban areas to proclaim a moral reordering of society based on Christian fundamentalist notions. A whole array of Pentecostal groups emerged. The striking feature of this born-again charismatic Pentecostalism is its rigid insistence on a strict moral ideology and a denunciation of alcohol. The author investigates the rejection of alcohol in Malawi's Pentecostal moral order from two perspectives: first, against the backdrop of developments in Malawi's Independent Christianity movement, and, second, in relation to the modernist debate that this type of Pentecostalism represents. The author concludes that the rejection of the use of alcohol by the born-again preachers coincides with a deeper generational conflict. This has had ramifications since it emerged in the context of the Banda regime that relied on gerontocratic power structures. Against this background one can argue that the debate about alcohol was, and still is, a modernist one, a discourse that allows for the moral rejection of things and structures emerging from the impure and threatening 'past'. Bibliogr. [ASC Leiden abstract]

IR handle/ Full text URL
Citation Key1022