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Deus in MachinaReligion, Technology, and the Things in Between$
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Jeremy Stolow

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780823249800

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823249800.001.0001

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The Electric Touch Machine Miracle Scam

The Electric Touch Machine Miracle Scam

Body, Technology, and the (Dis)authentication of the Pentecostal Supernatural

Chapter:
(p.61) The Electric Touch Machine Miracle Scam
Source:
Deus in Machina
Author(s):

Marleen de Witte

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823249800.003.0004

Starting with the case of a Ghanaian pastor in Uganda who was accused of using an “electric touch machine,” this chapter explores the nexus of the corporeal, the technological, and the spiritual in present-day African Pentecostalism. It addresses a key tension inherent in the Pentecostal use of media technology: the problem of authenticity. Through its bodily and technological mediations, Pentecostalism seeks to produce in people an experience of divine touch, while at the same time needing to authenticate such experiences as immediate and ‘real.’ The author examines some key techniques and technologies used by African Pentecostals to establish circuits of spirit flow, as well as analyzing popular concerns over ‘fakeness’ that accompany the use of such techniques and technologies. The chapter demonstrates that these Pentecostal technologically-bodily mediated ‘spiritual circuits’ are eternally unstable and subject to ongoing contestation.

Keywords:   (African) Pentecostalism, Media technology, Religion and the body, Electricity – religious uses, Authenticity, Ghana

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