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Impossible Representations: Pentecostalism, Vision and Video Technology in Ghana

Summary of Article by Brigit Meyer, 2003

This paper investigates religious change and the place and role of religion in the society, pertaining to the possibilities and limitations of new media technologies. The author addresses the question of changing practices of religious mediation through an investigation of the appearance of Pentecostalism in Ghana which has become increasingly present in the public sphere since the liberalization of the hitherto state controlled media. Meyer analyses the interplay between Pentecostalism, popular culture and new visual technologies. The author avers that there has been an increasing representation of divinity, and by implication the demonic, in Ghanaian films, which have become popular in the last decades, most often than not, mediating discourses that are deliberately tied to Christian views. The author focuses on the position of Pentecostalism in the public sphere, analysing how the liberalization of media policy has facilitated the articulation of Pentecostalism and concurrently turned it into a lucrative resource for popular entertainment by exploiting this niche in the video industry.