Understanding Lived Experiences
Edited by Emma Bell, Sorin Gog, Anca Simionca and Scott Taylor
Chapter 7: Citizens for Ghana and the kingdom: Christian personal development in Accra
Ghana’s capital Accra has seen a boom in markets of personal development. The industry has been characterised by Charismatic Christian discourses of the competitive citizen-subject, proposing that deeper Christian faith results in national economic development. Adopting a long-term perspective to personal development in Ghana where ‘character building’ dovetails with post-colonial nation-building, I explore the industry through the lens of young Charismatic Pentecostal media practitioners who produce spiritual personal development programmes. Situated in a context where Charismatic Pentecostalism attracts a large following, they frame productive citizenship in Christian terms. Somewhat at odds with scholarship on personal development as an example of neoliberal governmentality solely concerned with individual progress, the young entrepreneurs view Christian faith as a force that advances Ghana’s economic position. In conclusion, I draw attention to a multiplicity of historical macro-regimes that make personal development a distinctive global scene at the interface of ‘the world’ and God’s kingdom.
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