Fashioning belief: The case of the Baha'i Faith in Northern New Ireland

Were, Graeme (2007) Fashioning belief: The case of the Baha'i Faith in Northern New Ireland. Anthropological Forum, 17 3: 239-253. doi:10.1080/00664670701637701

Author Were, Graeme
Title Fashioning belief: The case of the Baha'i Faith in Northern New Ireland
Journal name Anthropological Forum   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0066-4677
Publication date 2007
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1080/00664670701637701
Volume 17
Issue 3
Start page 239
End page 253
Total pages 15
Place of publication Australia
Publisher Routledge
Language eng
Formatted abstract
This paper focuses on the emergence of the Baha'i faith in the Nalik‐speaking area of northern New Ireland in the 1950s. I show how conversion to the Baha'i faith instated a new political and religious mode of being in the community, which encouraged individuals to take responsibility for their own spiritual development, their economic welfare and the care of their souls. In declaring themselves followers of the Baha'i faith, they fashioned themselves as possessive individuals by presenting themselves to others in the image of those who possessed belief and culture. By encompassing both traditional Nalik and orthodox Baha'i religious ideas, Baha'is in effect considered themselves modern Naliks, entering a worldwide community that offered rewards and resources not available to their Christian counterparts. This paper demonstrates how the process of self‐fashioning took the form of transformations of personhood and property in line with the ideology of possessive individualism. Naliks imagined that their religious conversion showed that converts were proprietors of themselves, privileged to a new political life by virtue of their access to new sources of power via the Baha'i faith.
Keyword Baha'i faith
New Ireland, Papua New Guinea
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Communication and Arts Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 4 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 6 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Thu, 10 Feb 2011, 10:23:13 EST by Ms Stormy Wehi on behalf of School of Communication and Arts