ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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On Power, Love and Care

Ethnography of the Slum World of Pentecostalism

To Be Cared For: The Power of Conversion and Foreignness of Belonging in an Indian Slum by Nathaniel Roberts, New Delhi: Navayana Press, 2016; pp 306, 495.

Nathaniel Roberts writes a sensitive ethnographic account of a Christian moral world made and sustained in Anbu Nagar, a slum in Chennai. He crafts a place—a moral, aesthetic and communal space—woven through the lens of Christian associational life. In so doing, Roberts wonderfully makes a departure in urban ethnography. His story is not about Chennai. Chennai, its urban identity as the capital of Tamil Nadu and stage of the Tamil politics, is at the margins of this street. Instead, we experience the streets of Chennai through stories of pastors who had been auto-drivers, or women who complained about their husbands’ disinterest in finding work, or remaining at work. There is a certain definitive interiority to the slum world, a spatial and a psychosocial completeness or boundedness. Reading Roberts’ account made me think perhaps there is something to that old, much-maligned anthropological notion of communities being bounded entities.

Interpreting God

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Updated On : 30th Apr, 2018
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