Religious Identity and Social Change offers a macro and micro analysis of the dynamics of rapid social and religious change occurring within the Muslim world. Drawing on rich ethnographic and quantitative research in Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia, David Radford provides theoretical insight into the nature of religious and social change and ethnic identity transformation exploring significant questions concerning why people convert and what happens when they do so. A crisis of identity occurs when religious conversion takes place, especially from one major religious tradition (Islam) to another (Christianity); and where religious identity is intimately connected to ethnic and national identity. Radford argues for the importance of recognising the socially constructed nature of identity involving the dynamic interplay between human agency, culture and social networks. Kyrgyz Christians have been active agents in bringing religious and identity transformation building upon the contextual parameters in which they are situated.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction 2. Making Sense of the Context 3. Methodology and Description of Kyrgyz Christians 4. Approaches to the Study of Religious Conversion 5. Religious Capital and Kyrgyz Conversion 6. The Social and Cultural Capital and Kyrgyz Conversion 7. Life Situations, Solutions and Explanations 8. Living out a Minority Kyrgyz Christian Identity in a Majority Muslim Kyrgyz World 9. Religious Conversion and the Re-construction of Ethnic Identity Epilogue Appendices
David Radford is Senior Research Fellow at the Hawke Research Institute, where he is Lecturer in the Division of Education, Arts and Social Sciences at the University of South Australia.