Creating Mutual Encounters in the Space between Cultures: A Study of Latin@ and Euro-American Relations in the Church of the Southern United States
This study is situated in the context of South Carolina in the United States. This is a region that has seen rapid diversification over the past four decades. It is also situated in a political context where otherness, where difference, is vilified and feared. This study, then, aims to understand current relations between Latin@s and Euro-Americans in the churches of South Carolina and to then propose methods of creating mutual encounters between Latin@s and Euro-Americans that will enhance intergroup perception and cross-cultural commitment.
First, this project lays out a justification for intercultural mixing in theology and church. This includes a critique of both the homogeneous unit principle and the multicultural church, arguing instead for an understanding of the church as border. Second, this research aims to understand the ways in which different types of church borderlands express themselves in South Carolina and the kinds of people who attend such churches. Third, it asks how churchgoers perceive the “other” and then seeks to understand if there is any correlation between these three components. Finally, it recounts an attempt to test if it is possible for churches to create liminal, third-space encounters between Latin@s and Euro-Americans that can lead to greater cross-cultural commitment and a better intergroup perception.
Doctor of Intercultural Studies (DIS)
Intercultural communication, South Carolina, Multiculturalism, Christianity and culture, Ethnicity, Missions
Christian Denominations and Sects | Christianity | Missions and World Christianity