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Can the Study of Mission Become Postcolonial? : On Mission Studies in Today's World

Vähäkangas, Mika LU (2016) In Ortodoksia 56. p.39-64
Abstract
The roots of mission studies are in the western missionary movement which had its heyday at the same time with the colonialist era. Academic mission studies which began a hundred years ago were confessional and served the interests of the western missions. With decolonisation and indigenisation of the majority world churches also mission studies underwent great changes. The study of world Christianity became important, and non-western agency was recognised. At the same time, majority world scholars began taking an increasingly central role. There are manifest complexities about mission studies today. One of them is the contested relation to mission history of the colonial era. Western scholars from secularised backgrounds tend to be more... (More)
The roots of mission studies are in the western missionary movement which had its heyday at the same time with the colonialist era. Academic mission studies which began a hundred years ago were confessional and served the interests of the western missions. With decolonisation and indigenisation of the majority world churches also mission studies underwent great changes. The study of world Christianity became important, and non-western agency was recognised. At the same time, majority world scholars began taking an increasingly central role. There are manifest complexities about mission studies today. One of them is the contested relation to mission history of the colonial era. Western scholars from secularised backgrounds tend to be more mission critical than many majority world Christian researchers who, when studying mission history, study their own history. Thus, postcolonialism appears different from different positions. Additionally, the old liberal-conservative disputes about theology of religions and social justice continue to divide opinions. Also the name and nature of the discipline are contested with some wanting to have the term “mission” and others definitely rejecting it, and others having a confessional theological approach while others preferring a secular agenda. Among those subscribing to the term mission, there is no consensus about the content of the term. Mission studies and its descendants are in a state of disarray or creative chaos, depending on how one interprets the situation. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Mission studies, postcolonial studies, colonial legacies, theology of mission
in
Ortodoksia
volume
56
pages
26 pages
publisher
Ortodoksisten pappien liitto
ISSN
0355-5690
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
2c15b8bb-e7f3-40b5-882e-20bb04b3a193
date added to LUP
2016-11-02 10:49:24
date last changed
2016-11-02 10:54:03
@article{2c15b8bb-e7f3-40b5-882e-20bb04b3a193,
  abstract     = {The roots of mission studies are in the western missionary movement which had its heyday at the same time with the colonialist era. Academic mission studies which began a hundred years ago were confessional and served the interests of the western missions. With decolonisation and indigenisation of the majority world churches also mission studies underwent great changes. The study of world Christianity became important, and non-western agency was recognised. At the same time, majority world scholars began taking an increasingly central role. There are manifest complexities about mission studies today. One of them is the contested relation to mission history of the colonial era. Western scholars from secularised backgrounds tend to be more mission critical than many majority world Christian researchers who, when studying mission history, study their own history. Thus, postcolonialism appears different from different positions. Additionally, the old liberal-conservative disputes about theology of religions and social justice continue to divide opinions. Also the name and nature of the discipline are contested with some wanting to have the term “mission” and others definitely rejecting it, and others having a confessional theological approach while others preferring a secular agenda. Among those subscribing to the term mission, there is no consensus about the content of the term. Mission studies and its descendants are in a state of disarray or creative chaos, depending on how one interprets the situation.},
  author       = {Vähäkangas, Mika},
  issn         = {0355-5690},
  keyword      = {Mission studies,postcolonial studies,colonial legacies,theology of mission},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {39--64},
  publisher    = {Ortodoksisten pappien liitto},
  series       = {Ortodoksia},
  title        = {Can the Study of Mission Become Postcolonial? : On Mission Studies in Today's World},
  volume       = {56},
  year         = {2016},
}