Pentecosmopolis: Lagos and its Pentecostalisms

As part of the Lunchtime Seminar Series, the African Centre for Migration & Society invites you to a seminar titled Pentecosmopolis: Lagos and its Pentecostalisms by Dr. Obvious Katsaura (Senior Lecturer, Department of Sociology, University of the Witwatersrand).

Based on an ethnography of Lagos – one of the most Pentecostal cities in the world – this presentation develops the conceptual metaphors of ‘Pentecosmopolis’ and ‘pentecosmopolitanism’ to capture the role of Pentecostalisms in the crafting of urban diversities and vibrancies. The presentation disbands the ideas of Pentecosmopolis and pentecosmopolitanism into three derivative and interconnected sub-concepts of ‘pentecosmopolitan spatialities’, ‘pentecosmopolitan lifeworlds’ and ‘pentecosmopolitan practices’. The sub-concept of pentecosmopolitan spatialities analyses the role of Pentecostalisms in the diversification and complexification of the spatial character
and life of the city. That of pentecosmopolitan lifeworlds explicates the place of Pentecostalisms in the making of urban imaginations relating to domains and ecologies of spirits, beliefs and symbolisms. The translation of pentecosmopolitan lifeworlds into economic, social and political practices is analysed through the sub-concept of pentecosmopolitan practices. This study, thus, contributes to the projects of ‘religionising urban theory’ and ‘urbanising theories of religion’.


Dr. Obvious Katsaura is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology at the University of the Witwatersrand. He previously worked as a Lecturer in the Department of Sociology at the University of Zimbabwe from 2008 to 2010. His current research interests lie more broadly in Urban and Regional Sociology with a specific focus on Religion and African Urbanisms, Violence and Urban Safety, Urban Politics and Governance, Minority Groups and City Life. He also has research interests in Political Sociology and Conflict Minerals in Africa. From 2010 – 2012, he worked within an international research group focusing on “Urban Violence in sub-Saharan Africa: Its Impacts, Coping Strategies and Peace Building”, which led to his doctoral degree. He is currently working on a 3- year research project entitled “Violence and Enchanted Urbanisms: Magico-Religion, Ritualism and Mediation of Violence in Johannesburg” with financial support from the Volkswagen Foundation.

Date: Tuesday 8 May 2018

Time: 12.30 -13.30

Venue: ACMS Seminar Room 2163, South East Wing, Second Floor, Solomon Mahlangu House, University of the Witwatersrand East Campus