Emancipation or Accommodation? Faith and Justice in a Globalized Africa
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Emancipation or Accommodation? Faith and Justice in a Globalized Africa


This article interrogates the meaning of ‘justice’ for religious actors in Africa, comparing the post-independence period to the contemporary one. The treatment and meaning of justice by these actors today differs in important ways from ideas about justice during previous generations’ struggles for freedom. This is because (a) the promise of independence entailed a proactive, emancipatory and pan-African overhaul of oppressive and inegalitarian practices; while justice talk today occurs in a neoliberal context of more reactive and sometimes accommodationist measures to redress problems of violence and poverty; and (b) African leaders and religious thinkers themselves defined the meaning and components of justice in the past, while today much of the discourse around justice emanates from issues identified by transnational nongovernmental organizations and agencies. A neo-Weberian approach helps distill significant characteristics of the complex faith-justiceglobalization relationship in these different periods, as well as their imbrication into religiously-plural and syncretic religious contexts.

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