Data for: From Pews to Politics: Religious Sermons and Political Participation in Africa

  • Gwyneth H. Mcclendon (Creator)
  • Rachel Beatty Riedl (Contributor)

Dataset

Description

Project Summary Does religion influence political participation? This book takes up this pressing debate using Christianity in sub-Saharan Africa as its empirical base to demonstrate that religious teachings communicated in sermons can influence both the degree and the form of citizens' political participation. McClendon and Riedl document some of the current diversity of sermon content in contemporary Christian houses of worship and then use a combination of laboratory experiments, observational survey data, focus groups, and case comparisons in Zambia, Uganda, and Kenya to interrogate the impact of sermon exposure on political participation and the longevity of that impact. From Pews to Politics leverages the pluralism of sermons in sub-Saharan Africa to gain insight into the content of cultural influences and their consequences for how ordinary citizens participate in politics. The sermon data were collected in order to describe and understand religious messages in our research sites, with the goal of then investigating the effects of exposure to such religious teachings on political behavior. We wanted to have a deep and broad understanding of what clergy-congregant communication across a range of contemporary churches actually looks like, without prejudgment. Therefore, we sampled churches of different denominations and conducted church-level surveys and participant observation in sub-Saharan African cities. In Nairobi, along with a team of research assistants, we collected texts of Sunday sermons, observed worship services and other church activities, and collected information on congregation characteristics. We compare churches’ social organizations, weekday programming, and social welfare activities. In order to approximate a random sample of churches, we generated two comprehensive lists of (1) Pentecostal churches and (2) Catholic and Mainline Protestant churches in Nairobi based on Google Maps and then, using a random number generator, created a sample of one hundred Pentecostal churches and fifty Mainline/Catholic churches, expecting that there might be more variation among Pentecostal churches (see also McClendon and Riedl 2016). Because some churches are new, poor, or not officially registered, we did not work from government registration lists, nor did we rely on capturing information only from church websites. This method allowed the highest degree of church variation and self-categorization. We collected sermons online, where available, and in person through attending a service and transcribing the message. In total we collected sermon content from sixty of the one hundred selected Pentecostal churches and from twenty four of the fifty selected Mainline and Catholic churches, with random replacement for churches that could not be located at all. Sermons span from 2008 – 2017; data collection took place from 2003 – 2017. In other contexts across sub-Saharan Africa (Accra, Lagos, and Kampala), we conducted a cursory examination of sermon content by searching for Pentecostal, Mainline Protestant, and Catholic churches that appeared in Google Maps. We then collected any online sermons, recording, or texts from the churches that had Websites, YouTube channels, or social media pages with sermon content. This method allowed us to examine the sermons of seven Pentecostal and seven Mainline/Catholic churches in Accra, eight Pentecostal and three Mainline/Catholic churches in Lagos, and three Pentecostal and two Mainline/Catholic churches in Kampala (for a total of thirty churches). Most churches had their most recent sermon, if any, available online, so the coverages of these searches is limited to 2017. We also conducted an exercise in Johannesburg that paralleled the one done in Nairobi but we don't include those sermons in this depository because they are owned also by Dr. Maria Frahm-Arp at University of Johannesburg and discussed only briefly in the book. Data Overview Nairobi sermons: This file folder contains the .txt files of the sermons collected, transcribed and recorded from Nairobi churches. Sermons have been de-identified by removing any specific references to the church name, location and pastoral teams. Each sermon file (.txt) is labeled with a unique identifier that contains a church identifier (rather than name) and date on which the sermon was delivered, where available. Sermons outside of Nairobi: This file folder contains the .txt files of the sermons collected, transcribed and recorded from churches in other cities (not Nairobi). Sermons have been de-identified by removing any specific references to the church name, location and pastoral teams. Each sermon file (.txt) is labeled with a unique identifier that contains the country name from which it was collected, a church identifier (rather than name) and date on which the sermon was delivered, where available. Meta data: McClendonRiedl_SermonData.xlsx contains information on churches that delivered the sermons. Not all churches were visited or all priests/pastors interviewed, so meta data are available only for a subset of churches. Codebook: McClendonRiedl_Codebook.xlsx contains explanations and values for each variable listed in McClendonRiedl_SermonData.xlsx
Date made available2019
PublisherQualitative Data Repository

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