Where Is the Money? The Intersectionality of the Spirit World and the Acquisition of Wealth

Religions 10 (146):1-20 (2019)
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This article is a theoretical treatment of the ways in which local worldviews on wealth acquisition give rise to contemporary manifestations of spirituality in cyberspace. It unpacks spiritual (occult) economies and wealth generation through a historical perspective. The article ‘devil advocates’ the ‘sainthood’ of claimed law-abiding citizens, by highlighting that the line dividing them and the Nigerian cybercriminals (Yahoo-Boys) is blurred with regards to the use of magical means for material ends. By doing so, the article also illustrates that the intersectionality of the spirit world and the acquisition of wealth (crime or otherwise) is connected with local epistemologies and worldviews, and its contemporaneity has social security benefits. Therefore, the view that the contemporary manifestations of spirituality in cyberspace signify a ‘new-danger’ and an ever-increasing outrage in the Nigerian society is misplaced. I conclude that if people believe all aspects of life are reflective of the spiritual world and determined by it, the spiritual realm, by implication, is the base of society, upon which sits the superstructure comprised of all aspects of life, especially wealth. Inferentially, this conceptual position that the spirit world is the base of society is an inversion of Orthodox Marxist’s theory of economic determinism.

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Suleman Lazarus
London School of Economics


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