DR. JAMES T. PFEIFFER, of Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, was awarded a grant in June 2001 to aid research on 'African Independent Churches, Reproductive Health, and Social Inequality in Central Mozambique.' This research hypothesized that growing social inequality over a ten-year period in central Mozambique has been a central factor driving rapid African Independent Church (AIC) growth in the region. Data are still being processed and analyzed, but preliminary findings tend to support the hypothesis that growing inequality caused by new economic policies has generated greater conflict in the community manifested by increased spirit threats to health that church prophets treat more effectively than local traditional healers. A random sample of 616 men and women was surveyed to determine level of participation in churches, gather demographic information, and measure perceptions of change in inequality, social cohesion, and spiritual threats to health. Over 25 percent of the sample participates in AICs and another 25 percent are members of similar Pentecostal churches. Respondents widely agree that economic disparities have increased greatly and that crime has also escalated. Perceptions of change in social cohesion were mixed. Practice of sorcery to harm others was widely believed to have increased. Qualitative illness narrative interviews were also conducted with recent church recruits and revealed that many no longer trust traditional healers in the new environment because they cost too much and often foment conflict. Church prophet-healers are sought instead to handle spiritual threats often derived from sorcery practices. Participant-observation in church services and healing ceremonies revealed significant exchange between different churches and a set of standard practices and doctrines that link the wide variety of approaches to healing in the various faiths.
Pfeiffer, James. 2004. Condom Social Marketing, Pentecostalism, and Structural Adjustment in Mozambique: A Clash of AIDS Prevention Messages. Medical Anthropology Quarterly 18(1):77-103.
Pfeiffer, James. 2004. Civil Society, NGOs, and the Holy Spirit in Mozambique. Human Organization 63(3):359-372.
Pfeiffer, James, Kenneth Gimbel-Sherr, and Orvalho Joaquim Augusto. 2007. The Holy Spirit in the Household: Pentecostalism, Gender, and Neoliberalism in Mozambique. American Anthropologist 109(4):688-700.