Affordances of Rupture and their Enactment
A Framework for Understanding Christian Change
This paper moves forward the debate about continuity and rupture in Christian change by approaching it as an empirical rather than theoretical question and interrogating it using a broad comparative method. It argues firstly that different forms of Christianity – Orthodox, Catholic, mainline Protestant and Pentecostal – have cultural logics which offer different affordances of rupture; and secondly that in those cases where Christianity affords rupture, people will perceive this affordance through their own cultural categories and will choose whether and how to enact rupture in a way that is shaped by their existing material circumstances. The approach thus goes beyond currently popular culturalist theorising and seeks to integrate both idealist and materialist perspectives. In so doing it develops an overarching theoretical framework that explains cases of both continuity and rupture and helps to systematically organise the plethora of case studies on Christian change.
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