Figure of the Child in Contemporary Evangelicalism
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Publisher: Oxford University Press
Number of Pages: 256
Width: 15.6 cm
Height: 23.5 cm
What does it mean to grow up as an evangelical Christian today? What meanings does 'childhood' have for evangelical adults? How does this shape their engagements with children and with schools? And what does this mean for the everyday realities of children's lives? Based on in-depth ethnographic fieldwork carried out in three contrasting evangelical churches in the UK, Anna Strhan reveals how attending to the significance of children within evangelicalism deepens understanding of evangelicals' hopes, fears and concerns, not only for children, but for wider British society. Developing a new, relational approach to the study of children and religion, Strhan invites the reader to consider both the complexities of children's agency and how the figure of the child shapes the hopes, fears, and imaginations of adults, within and beyond evangelicalism. The Figure of the Child in Contemporary Evangelicalism explores the lived realities of how evangelical Christians engage with children across the spaces of church, school, home, and other informal educational spaces in a de-christianizing cultural context, how children experience these forms of engagement, and the meanings and significance of childhood. Providing insight into different churches' contemporary cultural and moral orientations, the book reveals how conservative evangelicals experience their understanding of childhood as increasingly countercultural, while charismatic and open evangelicals locate their work with children as a significant means of engaging with wider secular society. Setting out an approach that explores the relations between the figure of the child, children's experiences, and how adult religious subjectivities are formed in both imagined and practical relationships with children, this study situates childhood as an important area of study within the sociology of religion and examines how we should approach childhood within this field, both theoretically and methodologically.