Thursday, January 03, 2008

On Fashioning Belief: The Case of the Baha'i Faith in Papua New Guinea

This academic article presents evidence of the transformative power of the Baha'i Faith in Papua New Guinea. -gw

Fashioning Belief: The Case of the Baha'i Faith in Northern New Ireland

Author: Graeme Were
DOI: 10.1080/00664670701637701
Publication Frequency: 3 issues per year
Published in:

Anthropological Forum, Volume 17, Issue 3 November 2007 , pages 239 - 253
Australasia; Social & Cultural Anthropology
This paper focuses on the emergence of the Baha'i faith in the Nalik-speaking area of northern New Ireland in the 1950s. I show how conversion to the Baha'i faith instated a new political and religious mode of being in the community, which encouraged individuals to take responsibility for their own spiritual development, their economic welfare and the care of their souls. In declaring themselves followers of the Baha'i faith, they fashioned themselves as possessive individuals by presenting themselves to others in the image of those who possessed belief and culture. By encompassing both traditional Nalik and orthodox Baha'i religious ideas, Baha'is in effect considered themselves modern Naliks, entering a worldwide community that offered rewards and resources not available to their Christian counterparts. This paper demonstrates how the process of self-fashioning took the form of transformations of personhood and property in line with the ideology of possessive individualism. Naliks imagined that their religious conversion showed that converts were proprietors of themselves, privileged to a new political life by virtue of their access to new sources of power via the Baha'i faith. +

1 comment:

David said...

Added to Bahaikinews :)