Social Security In Religious Networks

Social Security In Religious Networks: Anthropological Perspectives on New Risks and Ambivalences

Carolin Leutloff-Grandits
Anja Peleikis
Tatjana Thelen
Copyright Date: 2009
Edition: NED - New edition, 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 248
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  • Book Info
    Social Security In Religious Networks
    Book Description:

    During the last decades, the world has been facing tremendous political transformations and new risks: epidemics such as HIV/Aids have had destabilizing effect on the caretaking role of kin; in post-socialist countries political reforms have made unemployment a new source of insecurity. Furthermore, the state's withdrawal from providing social security is taking place throughout the world. One response to these developments has been increased migration, which poses further challenges to kinship-based social support systems. This innovative volume focuses on the ambiguous role of religious networks in social security and traces the interrelatedness of religious networks and state and family support systems. Particularly timely, it describes these challenges as well as social security arrangements in the context of globalization and migration. The wide range of case studies from various parts of the world that examine various religious groups offers an important comparative contribution to the understanding of religious networks as providers of social security.

    eISBN: 978-1-84545-925-3
    Subjects: Anthropology, Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Chapter 1 Social Security in Religious Networks: An Introduction
    (pp. 1-20)
    Tatjana Thelen, Carolin Leutloff-Grandits and Anja Peleikis

    Human being always have to deal with insecurity and risk.¹ Rather then jumping into the emptiness as Yves Klein on our cover photograph they usually seek security in different kinds of safety nets such as kinship or friendship networks or formal insurances. In recent decades intensified globalisation, new epidemics such as HIV/AIDS, natural disasters and radical political change have posed new challenges for such social security arrangements worldwide. Simultaneously, the role of religion in society, once thought to have diminished in the process of modernisation, has regained public and scholarly attention. This volume sets out to explore the roles and...

  5. Part I: Responding to New Risks and Crisis

    • Chapter 2 When AIDS Becomes Part of the (Christian) Family: Dynamics between Kinship and Religious Networks in Uganda
      (pp. 23-42)
      Catrine Christiansen

      The AIDS pandemic has posed profound challenges to the Christian churches in sub-Saharan Africa. Despite the diversity of these churches, it seems fair to state that church responses have changed noticeably since the first diagnosis in the 1980s (Clifford 2004; Tiendrebego and Buykx 2004; Christensen and Janeway 2005). The attitude marked by silence and a denial that the disease could affect church leaders and members of the congregation has evolved into a common recognition that even the faithful can be infected with the AIDS virus. Early fear and resentment towards people living with HIV/AIDS has likewise turned into active caretaking...

    • Chapter 3 ‘Fight against Hunger’: Ambiguities of a Charity Campaign in Postwar Croatia
      (pp. 43-61)
      Carolin Leutloff-Grandits

      In 2001, six years after the ethnic war between Croats and Serbs in Croatia that succeeded the collapse of socialist Yugoslavia in 1990, ethnic conflict was still prevalent in former Croatian war regions. At the same time, Croatia was still struggling with the consequences of postsocialist economic transition and its specific dimensions in these areas. Here, Croatian and Serbian returnees as well as new Croatian settlers from Bosnia lived a marginalised existence fraught with poverty and competed for scant economic resources. It was in this situation that the local branch of the Catholic Caritas organisation began a charity campaign for...

    • Chapter 4 Social Security, Life Courses and Religious Norms: Ambivalent Layers of Support in an Eastern German Protestant Network
      (pp. 62-80)
      Tatjana Thelen

      Social security is deeply embedded in the life course of the individual.¹ Expectations of future risks, the social constructions of need and the norms of caring obligations differ from one society to another, as well as among cohorts that have had crucial experiences at similar moments in their lives (Hareven 1995; see also K. von Benda-Beckmann 1994). This chapter sets out to explore the interrelation of these experiences with different layers of support in a Protestant network in eastern Germany. The mostly elderly women involved share not only a socialist past and the dramatic social changes that followed unification but...

    • Chapter 5 Longing for Security: Qigong and Christian Groups in the People’s Republic of China
      (pp. 81-102)
      Kristin Kupfer

      In the late evening of 24 April 1999, followers of Falungong, a religious network combining aspects of Qigong,¹ Buddhism and Daoism, assembled at various spots around the Chinese central government district of Zhongnanhai in Beijing to protest against the imminent criminalising of the network. By noon on 25 April, 10,000 participants sat calmly and silently all over Zhongnanhai. After thirteen hours of silent protest and a pledge by the Chinese authorities to negotiate with representatives of Falungong, the protesters dispersed in the same orderly fashion as they had appeared. However, negotiations never took place. Confronted with a highly organised opponent,...

  6. Part II: Ambivalences of Religious Gifting

    • Chapter 6 Questioning Social Security in the Study of Religion in Africa: The Ambiguous Meaning of the Gift in African Pentecostalism and Islam
      (pp. 105-127)
      Mirjam de Bruijn and Rijk van Dijk

      The two Abrahamic traditions of Islam and Christianity, which are becoming more widespread in Africa, are marked by extensive ideological notions and practices surrounding the giving of gifts in cash and/or in kind. The followers of these traditions give gifts to religious bodies and leaders, but also give to others in the form of charity in and outside of the communities. This giving can be substantial and involve gifts of great value, representing a typical form of religious accumulation. The aim of the present contribution is to explore the relationship between religion and the provisioning of social security by looking...

    • Chapter 7 Nuns, Fundraising and Volunteering: The Gifting of Care in Czech Services for the Elderly and Infirm
      (pp. 128-145)
      Rosie Read

      This chapter is concerned with the ways in which formal and institutionalised forms of social security are made meaningful in daily life, and in particular with the processes by which they are related to or seen as separate from ‘the state’. I refer to ‘the state’ in quotation marks here since, as much work in anthropology and related disciplines attests, it cannot be seen as a singular entity, but instead as comprising a shifting conglomeration of agencies, bureaucracies, laws and policies, whose combined effects are frequently contradictory (Herzfeld 1997; Gal and Kligman 2000; Mitchell 1991; Scott 1998). At the same...

    • Chapter 8 ‘Church Shopping’ in Malawi: Acquiring Multiple Resources in Urban Christian Networks
      (pp. 146-164)
      Barbara Rohregger

      Multiple religious affiliations are a widespread reality in Malawi.¹ People can belong simultaneously to the charismatic Pentecostal churches, the Roman Catholic Church or the Church of Central African Presbyterian, the largest established churches in Malawi. Others are loosely affiliated to some of the numerous religious groups. This is all the more true in the urban context, where people from different regions and denominations live and pray side by side, and where innumerable churches and religious groupings co-exist.

      Taking this reality as a starting point, the present chapter will explore how urban migrants in Lilongwe City, Malawi, mobilise multiple religious a...

  7. Part III: Transnational Networking

    • Chapter 9 The (Re-)Making of Translocal Networks through Social Security Practices: The Case of German and Lithuanian Lutherans in the Curonian Spit
      (pp. 167-186)
      Anja Peleikis

      On my way I see loads of people walking towards the church. When I get to there it’s already packed. There is no room left in the gallery either. Even the extra chairs were not enough for the waiting crowds. People were pressed close together at the entrance and in the forecourt of the church, waiting. A loud buzz of ‘Hello, are you here too, how are you?’ fills the church. Suddenly there’s a hush and the pastors enter. . . .

      The holiday service ends with a short prayer. The organ begins to play and the congregation sings the...

    • Chapter 10 Women’s Congregations as Transnational Social Security Networks
      (pp. 187-205)
      Gertrud Hüwelmeier

      Women’s congregations provide both members and non-members with different forms of social security. However, the charity extended to non-members and the social security arrangements for Catholic sisters are always closely interlinked with and embedded in changing political and historical circumstances. Many women’s congregations were founded in the nineteenth century in Europe. Due to political conflicts, a number of Catholic sisters left their home countries and settled in the US and elsewhere, maintaining social and religious ties with their respective motherhouses in Europe. Although they had been engaging in crossborder activities since the end of the nineteenth century, the sisters only...

    • Chapter 11 Negotiating Needs and Obligations in Haitian Transnational Religious and Family Networks
      (pp. 206-225)
      Heike Drotbohm

      In the course of my fieldwork in the Canadian city of Montréal, Florence, a vodou priestess¹ from Haiti, became my most important referee.² She had already been living in the city for some years, cultivating and broadening her knowledge of vodou, and was active at the centre of a vodou society, a socalledsosjeté. When I asked Florence about her role in this religious network, she explained: ‘You see, these people here feel tremendously lost, they don’t know what to do. Here in Canada there are no answers to these kinds of problems. Some people in Montréal, Boston or New...

  8. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 226-229)
  9. Index
    (pp. 230-238)