The role of culture and beliefs in healing: An ethnography within an inner-city Pentecostal Church

Amoateng, Geoffrey B. (2019) The role of culture and beliefs in healing: An ethnography within an inner-city Pentecostal Church. Doctoral thesis, Anglia Ruskin University.

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This ethnographic study investigated why people who originated from Sub-Saharan Africa, sought help for their health concerns from a Pentecostal Church in London. Through extended fieldwork and themed interviews with Church leaders and members of the congregation, the study identified that a central tenet of the belief system was that illness was attributed to the devil and healing ascribed to God. The study examined the belief systems, symbolic acts and types of interventions conducted during healing services in the Church and identified how the body was constructed as a ‘locus of struggle’ between these spiritual forces. The Pastor was identified as a charismatic leader who played a very significant role in the healing but the congregation were also identified as being viscerally engaged in the healing process. The study also identified that the need for healing was not merely a response to physical or mental illnesses - but it also sought to address other social forms of distress caused by personal, local and global factors. Moreover, the Church played an important role in enhancing well-being, by building a strong sense of community that helped to address some of the wider social determinants of health. The study concluded that some people hold an aetiological model that accounts for illness and misfortune as existing in the spiritual world and that this may have implications for health practitioners supporting people from different cultures. Furthermore, the study identified that this London Pentecostal Church was considered to exist simultaneously in the local and global domains, as the church supports its Sub-Saharan African congregation and is part of a wider, global network of Pentecostal and charismatic churches.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Keywords: Pentecostalism, Culture, Embodied Healing, Locus of Control, Help Seeking, God, Devil, Ethnography
Faculty: Theses from Anglia Ruskin University
Depositing User: Lisa Blanshard
Date Deposited: 02 Apr 2019 15:49
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 18:55

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