Can There Be Conversion Without Cultural Change?
MetadataShow full item record
Robbins, J. (2017). Can There Be Conversion Without Cultural Change?. Mission Studies, 34 (1), 29-52. https://doi.org/10.1163/15733831-12341482
This article takes a sociocultural anthropological approach to conversion. It asks not about the causes of conversion, but about the kinds of cultural changes conversion produces and the mechanisms by which it brings about such changes. Drawing on the author's research among a recently converted group in Papua New Guinea and on other work produced by scholars working in the anthropology of Christianity, the article argues that Christianity is a culture of secondarity, designed to come after another culture that previously guided its converts. Moreover, Christian converts tend to engage their prior cultures not by completely rejecting them, but by evaluating their components critically in relation to new Christian values. This produces a duplex cultural formation that regularly fosters critical reflection and ongoing cultural change. This model of change is briefly distinguished from more common models of syncretism, suggesting a new understanding of the relationship between conversion and cultural change.
conversion, culture, cultural change, anthropology of Christianity, values, Christianity and culture, secondarity
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/15733831-12341482
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/261879