Thanksgiving, Ritual Change, and Socioeconomic Precarity during Two Political Regimes in Nigeria

Kellogg Institute Graduate Research Grants
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Over the last eight years under the All Progressive Congress (APC), Nigeria has been beset by unprecedented economic decline. In this period, compared to the years between 1999–2015 under the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), more Nigerians seem to have been plunged into abject poverty. With prices of commodity scaling and food inflation rising to 24.32% in January 2023, every facet of the Nigerian society seems to be upset by this fiscal downturn and the precarity which it engenders. Using ethnography and semi-structured interviews, this research provides non-empirical evidence for assessing the impact of socioeconomic conditions on the everyday life of Nigerian Christians and their religious rituals. Focusing on the ritual of Thanksgiving, a material expression of gratitude to God during Christian worship, I examine how the performative dynamics and evolution of Thanksgiving reflect socioeconomic conditions of Nigerian Christians during the regimes of two political parties in Nigeria’s fourth republic.