An Impossible Dichotomy: Public And Private Sphere's In Ghana

1411 words - 6 pages

When assessing and attempting to understand the movements that take place in countries, a look back at history is important because large changes always have a place of origin. The change that happens in countries is not isolated and are always influenced by something else. In studying history, one will notice that the past follows a series of causes and effects. The flourishing of the Pentecostal religion in Ghana during the 1990’s was not something that sprang from nowhere. In Brigit Meyer’s article “Praise the Lord”: Popular cinema and Pentecostalite Style in Ghana’s New Public Sphere, the author details the events that made the flourishing possible and had to happen in order for the ...view middle of the document...

” (Porter, 2). The thought was that “[r]eason and science...would make people more humane and happy” because it would give people agency and allow them to have more control over their lives (Porter, 7).
Although some people were interested in the possibility of the control over their lives which the Enlightenment promised to provide for them, a large collection of people still wanted to maintain their religious beliefs in all realms of their life. Religion provided answers that reason and science were unable to give to the people. The Enlightenment centered around a sort of sterilization. Everything in the world was now to be explained by clear thinking and a person could go into a deep thought on their own in order to understand the world. This proved to be problematic because there was an assumption about an clear distinction between right and wrong, true and false. Anything or anyone outside of these distinctions was then declared unreasonable (Porter, 8). Even though religion did provide a distinction for good and bad, there were ways for people to reconcile the bad and even the gray area between the two. Religion gave people, especially ones without any education, answers, a guide, and meaning to their lives which most people did not want to forfeit. Religion also gave people a sense of community. A person’s religion connected them not only to God, but to other members of their religion and the connection created a community. The failure of the Enlightenment is in the exclusivity and push for a separation between spheres of a person’s life.
The ways in which the Enlightenment failed aid in the understanding of the rise in Christian themes in the Ghanaian media following the 1992 constitution which moved the state “toward democracy” (Meyer, 92). The belief in a false dichotomy between public and private spheres of life play a large role in the inability of both movements, the Enlightenment and the democratization of Ghana, to move their societies to a desired future. The public sphere is a realm that includes social activities with other people, and in being social, people form opinions about what the group they are part of should do. Government is the entity that usually regulates the public sphere. The private sphere is the opposite of the public sphere and includes what is done at the home or away from the larger society.
In the early 1990’s Ghana adopted a new constitution, and liberalized the media which opened up “the public space to the concerns and views of ordinary people” (92). The new constitution moved away from religious themes in the public space which led to people feeling a loss of community. Religion is something that influences all aspects of person’s life and the removal of religion from the public sphere left a gap in people’s lives. Having this unity taken away that had connected the people to the state, caused many to search for that bond elsewhere. The Pentecostal religion was able to steadily gain new followers and...

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