PROFESSOR TIMO KALLINEN, UNIVERSITY OF EASTERN FINLAND/UNIVERSITY OF HELSINKI

GENRE CONNECTIONS IN AFRICA: POLITICAL EXPOSÉ AND RELIGIOUS REVELATION IN GHANAIAN AUDIOVISUAL MEDIA CULTURE

Tue 22.10. 10:00

After the liberalization of the media in Ghana in the 1990s, political exposé became a common journalistic genre appropriated by the private press in order to counter the ‘official truths’ disseminated by government publications. Not coincidentally, during that same time, the notion of ‘transparency’ gained ground and proliferated in global politics. Soon enough, this genre also found its way to audiovisual media, where reports prepared by investigative journalists have achieved considerable popularity. In my presentation, I will analyze an emerging hybrid media genre, which often deploys the style and techniques of political exposé, but also relies heavily on Christian notions of revelation. A typical format in it is a ‘documentary’ or a ‘news report’ that exposes the alleged secret immoral activities of a rival religious group to the viewing public. In my discussion, I will draw on recent anthropological theorization on how different religious traditions relate to electronic mass media.

Timo Kallinen is Professor of Comparative Religion at the University of Eastern Finland and Docent of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Helsinki. His research interests include religion, ritual and secularism, but he has also published on topics related to environmental, economic and legal anthropology. His recent book, Divine Rulers in a Secular State (2016), was the culmination of a project looking at the transformation of sacred chiefship/kingship in Ghana and seeking to understand better processes of secularization in Africa and elsewhere in the Global South.