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.
Schröder, Ingo W. (2012). “Catholic Majority Societies and Religious Hegemony: Concepts and Comparisons” in Milda Alisauskiene and Ingo W. Schroeder (eds) Religious Diversity in Post-Soviet Society: Ethnographies of Catholic Hegemony and the New Pluralism in Lituania (Burlington, VT: Ashgate).
This chapter sets out to sketch a theoretical framework for the study of the religious environment of a society like Lithuania that is dominated by a single church. The emergent anthropology of Christianity has paid comparatively little attention to the political dimension of religious affiliation in general and Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant majority churches in particular. An earlier interest in majority-minority relations and politics of religious authority has been obliterated by a focus on meaning and culture. Only recently has the study of dominant churches and the specific societal ramifications of this dominance experienced a minor revival in the context of the resurgence of such institutions in Eastern Europe after the demise of socialism. This chapter hopes to make a contribution to this literature.
Abstract: The anthropology of Christianity is claimed to be a recent innovation in the discipline of social anthropology and focuses on the study of Christian forms of life. The purpose of this paper is threefold: first, to identify the nature of the anthropology of Christianity; second, to focus on converging themes in the anthropology of Christianity and missiology as academic disciplines; and third, to offer an interpretation of what such convergence might imply for the future of missiology.