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The Masquerade and the Mobile Phone: How Do Local Religious Traditions Survive and Adapt in an Era of Globalised Technology?

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It is one of the truisms of social change theory that minority religious traditions tend to wither and die under pressure from globalised technology. The uncertainties these technologies (mobile phones etc.) create push communities towards global religions or secularism. While this can be shown to have occurred in many places, the paper presents two regional case studies, Central Nigeria and Arunachal Pradesh (NE India), where minority religions seem to have taken on board the advent of supposedly magical technologies without undue disruption. Indeed there is an argument to say that recording technologies are acting to reinforce and evolve ‘traditional’ practice. From consideration of the case studies, the presentation discusses what type of mental models might underlie these relationships with the supernatural world.


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