Posts Tagged ‘religious change’

Ketola et al., “New communities of worship”

May 15, 2014

Ketola, Kimmo, Tuomas Martikainen, Hanna Salomäki.  2014. New communities of worship: Continuities and mutations among religious organizations in Finland.  Social Compass 61(2): 153-171.

Abstract: The authors provide a summary of three key developments that have brought change to the field of religious organizations in Finland: the emergence of new Lutheran communities (the St Thomas Mass, the so-called Nokia Revival and the fundamentalist Luther Foundation Finland); Ashtanga yoga as a form of spirituality; and the spread of migrant religious communities. The article sets these developments in the context of late modern communal belonging and discusses how religious communities have been transforming over the last two to three decades in Finland.

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Hartch, “The Rebirth of Latin American Christianity”

January 27, 2014

Hartch, Todd.  2014.  The Rebirth of Latin American Christianity.  Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Publisher’s Description: Predominantly Catholic for centuries, Latin America is still largely Catholic today, but the religious continuity in the region masks great changes that have taken place in the past five decades. In fact, it would be fair to say that Latin American Christianity has been transformed definitively in the years since the Second Vatican Council. Religious change has not been obvious because its transformation has not been the sudden and massive growth of a new religion, as in Africa and Asia. It has been rather a simultaneous revitalization and fragmentation that threatened, awakened, and ultimately brought to a greater maturity a dormant and parochial Christianity. New challenges from modernity, especially in the form of Protestantism and Marxism, ultimately brought forth new life. In The Rebirth of Latin American Christianity, Todd Hartch examines the changes that have swept across Latin America in the last fifty years, and situates them in the context of the growth of Christianity in the global South.

Andersen, et al. “A Spiritual Revolution in Denmark?”

October 2, 2013

Andersen, Peter B., Peter Gundelach, and Peter Luchau.  2013.  A Spiritual Revolution in Denmark?  Journal of Contemporary Religion 28(3): 385-400.

Abstract: Based on data from the Danish part of the European Values Study 1981–2008, this article explores the validity of the claim for a spiritual revolution as proposed by Paul Heelas and Linda Woodhead. The article suggests an operationalisation of spirituality. The results of the analyses are that religious values—Christian faith as well as spirituality—tend to be stable over an individual’s life course. This suggests that, if there is a spiritual revolution, it must be the product of cohort replacement. If a spiritual revolution is taking place, Christian faith would be expected to decline in younger cohorts while spirituality would increase, but an analysis of cohort support for Christian faith and spirituality from 1981 to 2008 shows that both were constant across cohorts. Thus Danish data contain no indication that a spiritual revolution is taking place or will take place. Finally, we show that, contrary to theoretical expectations, spirituality and Christian faith are strongly correlated. A closer analysis reveals an indirect and more complicated support for parts of the theory since the two variables are explained by different factors and it shows that Christian faith, but not spirituality, is correlated with morality.

Adogame, “The African Christian Diaspora”

February 14, 2013

Adogame, Afe.  2013. The African Christian Diaspora: New Currents and Emerging Trends in World Christianity.  London: Bloomsbury Academic.

Publisher’s Description: The last three decades have witnessed a rapid proliferation of African Christian communities, particularly in Europe and North American diaspora, thus resulting in the remapping of old religious landscapes. This migratory trend and development bring to the fore the crucial role, functions and import of religious symbolic systems in new geo-cultural contexts. The trans-national linkages between African-led churches in the countries of origin (Africa) and the “host” societies are assuming increasing importance for African immigrants. The links and networks that are established and maintained between these contexts are of immense religious, cultural, economic, political and social importance. This suggests how African Christianities can be understood within processes of religious transnationalism and African modernity.

Based on extensive religious ethnography undertaken by the author among African Christian communities in Europe, the USA and Africa in the last 17 years, this book maps and describes the incipience and consolidation of new brands of African Christianities in diaspora. The book demonstrates how African Christianities are negotiating and assimilating notions of the global while maintaining their local identities.

Bielo, “The New Evangelicals: Does Fragmentation Equal Change”

January 25, 2013

Bielo, James S. 2013. Does fragmentation equal change? The Immanent Frame. http://blogs.ssrc.org/tif/2013/01/25/does-fragmentation-equal-change/ (accessed January 25, 2013).

Excerpt:  ‘Marcia Pally’s post tracks the important fact that contemporary American evangelical social and political engagement is fragmenting. She rightly observes that such fragmenting is not historically novel, and is a self-consciously critical response to the power of the Religious Right.

To read of “robust polyphony” among evangelicals was especially welcome to me, as I addressed this phenomenon in a recent ethnography, Emerging Evangelicals (NYU Press, 2011). As a cultural anthropologist, I explored the identities fashioned, practices performed, histories claimed, institutions created, and critiques waged among evangelicals influenced by the Emerging Church movement. Pally’s astute analysis returned me to a question I stopped short of fully developing: does fragmentation equal change?

While it is clear that evangelicalism is diversifying, it is unclear what this amounts to. We see voting blocs split, financial donations broaden, volunteer labor disperse, and moral-political agendas expand. But, do these fragmentations signal tectonic, hard-wired, all-bets-are-off cultural change? Or, is it more superficial (which is not to say unimportant or not deeply felt) social change? Do electoral politics and other shifting forms of activism amount to fundamental change, or merely changing patterns of action?’

Kollman, “Analyzing Emerging Christianities: Recent Insights from the Social Sciences”

October 23, 2012

Kollman, Paul (2012)  “Analyzing Emerging Christianities: Recent Insights from the Social Sciences.” Journal of Holistic Mission Studies 29(4): 304-314

Abstract: The social sciences contribute in important ways to our understanding of current Christian realities, especially ‘newer’ or ‘emerging’ Christianities. Recent research by social scientists on contemporary Christian groups – in historical anthropology and more recently in the anthropology of Christianity – has yielded important insights into modes of Christian agency and identity. Those interested in the spread of Christianity today – including missiologists – should familiarize themselves with such anthropological and sociological research. For their part, those engaged in social-scientific research on newer Christianities should attend more closely to Christianity in its historical and communal dimensions by developing an historical sociology.

Kollman, “Generations of Catholics in Eastern Africa: A Practice-Centered Analysis of Religious Change”

September 11, 2012

Kollman, Paul (2012) “Generations of Catholics in Eastern Africa: A Practice-Centered Analysis of Religious Change” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 51(3):412–428

Abstract: This article considers how well Martin Riesebrodt’s practice-centered theory of religion addresses religious change among Catholics in eastern Africa. Two arguments are advanced using a generational change scheme. First, Riesebrodt’s focus on religious practices assists in understanding many changes that African Catholics and their communities have experienced over time. It acknowledges believers’ perspectives and the impact of missionaries, and it generates comparative insights across different cases. However, Riesebrodt’s approach has limitations when developing a comparative perspective on historical transformation in these communities. Therefore, his focus on the objective meaning of interventionist religious practices needs supplementing: (1) capturing religious change within a given religion requires attention both to practices and their subjective appropriation by believers, and (2) in the forging of collective identities, theological reflection by elites helped connect Catholic practices to preexisting worldviews and Catholic practices marked generational change by distinguishing Catholics from other African Christians.

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