Broken symbols and religious innovation in Africa: An evaluation of theories of religious change.
The following essay represents a search for heuristically useful theory to understand the forces of religious innovation in an African context. The search progresses by employing a model derived from studies in symbolic anthropology. That model is extended by integrating it with an intellectual model of paradigm change that has been suggested to account for religious conversion in Africa. The search is then furthered with greater contextual analysis of socio-economic changes in Africa that occurred in the process of articulation of modes of production, seeking to understand how these changes relate to alterations in ideologies and religious beliefs and practices. The conclusion will then explore the role of the former symbolic model as it relates to the latter historical-materialist understanding in an attempt to account for the variability of expression that occurs in African religious innovation.