Dr Gregory Deacon

Dr Gregory Deacon
British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellow

I have been working in the School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies since September 2011 as British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellow. I am also a Junior Research Fellow of St. Antony’s College. Currently, the explosion of new Protestant churches is arguably the most significant social phenomenon in Africa, and religious groups were already the most frequent form of associational life within difficult and contested democratic and civil society spaces on the continent. My PhD on The Socioeconomic Role of Pentecostalism in Kibera Informal Settlement, Nairobi has led to my current research project titled ‘The Complex Role of Varied Categories of Pentecostalism: Testing Accepted Wisdom Through the Lens of Civil Society and Elections in Kenya’. Ostensibly a democracy since 1992, Kenya’s presidential and parliamentary elections in 2007 were highly controversial and followed by extreme violence. The churches, including Pentecostal churches, have apologised for not doing more to encourage a peaceful, participative process. My research looks at what the churches did before, during and after that election and whether their current actions and teachings have encouraged government accountability and are fostering a vibrant civil society of informed individuals. In particular my work explores the role of Pentecostal churches and Pentecostalism in Kenya’s most recent general election, which took place on the 4th of March 2013. Building on my existing empirical work on socioeconomic outcomes and political expression of Pentecostalism and contemporary African Christianity in Kenya I am currently exploring the construction of the Kenyan state around a Christian elite – and a wide unpacking of the ramifications of this for nation, economy, society, conflict and exclusion for Christians and non-Christians alike. These insights are also linked to more global issues and expression of feelings of marginalization and exclusion in religious discourse.


·        ‘Faith-Based Organizations and International Development: A Brief History,’ in Emma Tomlin (ed.) Routledge Handbook of Religions and Global Development, Oxford: Routledge, forthcoming (2014).

·        ‘Pentecostalism and development in Kibera informal settlement, Nairobi,’ in Carole Rakodi (ed.), Religion, Religious Organisations and Development: Scrutinising religious perceptions and organisations, London: Routledge, 2013.

·        ‘Allowing Satan in? Toward a Political Economy of Pentecostalism in Kenya,’ Journal of Religion in Africa (43) 2, 108-130, 2013.

·        ‘Satan’s snake and political violence in Kenya,’ in Heidi Moksnes and Mia Melin (eds.) Faith in Civil Society: Religious Actors as Drivers of Change, Uppsala: Uppsala University, 2013.

·        Book Review, Pentecostalism and Development: Churches, NGOs and Social Change in Africa, for London School of Economics Blog: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/africaatlse/2013/02/08/book-review-pentecostalism-and-development-churches-ngos-and-social-change-in-africa/

·        Review of Christianity and Public Culture in Africa edited by H. Englund Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, The Journal of Modern African Studies (50) 03, 2012.

·        ‘Pentecostalism and development in Kibera informal settlement, Nairobi’, Development in Practice, 22:5-6, 663-674, 2012.

·        Deacon, Keita and Ritchie, Burnley and the BNP and the Case for Electoral Reform, London: Electoral Reform Society, 2004.