NEGOTIATING MARRIAGE: QUESTIONS OF MORALITY AND LEGITIMACY IN THE GHANAIAN PENTECOSTAL DIASPORA RIJK VAN DIJK (African Studies Centre, Leiden) ABSTRACT Among the many immigrant groups that have settled in the Netherlands, the recently arrived migrants from Ghana have been perceived by the Dutch state as especially problematic. Explicit measures have been taken to investigate marriages of Ghanaians, as these appeared to be an avenue by which many acquired access to the Dutch welfare state. While the Dutch government tightened its immigra- tion policies, many Ghanaian Pentecostal churches were emerging in the Ghanaian immigrant communities. An important function of these churches is to o ﬃ ciate over marriages; marriages that are perceived as lawful and righteous in the eyes of the migrant community but nonetheless do not have any legal basis as far as the Dutch state is concerned. This contribution explores why the Ghanaian com- munity attributes great moral signi ﬁ cance to these marriages that are taking place within their Pentecostal churches. It investigates the changing meaning of the func- tions of Pentecostal churches in Ghana and in the Netherlands by distinguishing civil morality from civic responsibility. It seeks to explore how, in both contexts, legitimacy
Journal of Religion in Africa – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2004
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