Hybridity and Practical Theology: In Praise of Blurred Encounters

Baker, Christopher. 2006. Hybridity and Practical Theology: In Praise of Blurred Encounters. Contact, 149(1), pp. 5-11. ISSN 1352-0806 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

The article explores the growing significance of hybridity as a concept for describing the pastoral mission and practical identity of the church in the 21st century. The idea of hybridity emerges from the post-colonial and globalized urban societies in which we now live. The article synthesizes the literary theory of the leading exponent of this idea, Homi Bhabha, and his concept of the Third Space, with a post-liberal theology of the blurred encounter. The article ends with a reflection on the significance of a hybrid Christology in the construction of local and performative theologies.

Hybridity is a concept which has ‘come of age’. It is a major theory that increasingly shapes the way we understand our cultural and political world and our sense of identity. Hybridity is emerging from the disciplines of cultural studies and anthropology and is beginning to cross over into theological discourses. It is by nature a complex and ambiguous concept, but one which practical theology ignores at its peril if it wants to connect with the major problematic emerging in the 21st century: our relationship with the Other in our midst and how we engage with diversity and plurality.

In this article I shall explore some of the ‘prejudices’ against hybridity that a practical theology will have to overcome. I then outline its emergence as an indispensable category for interpreting post-modern and post-colonial society. I look briefly at some case studies of churches working with hybrid identities and methodologies within their local communities. I then reflect on how hybridity could become a major tool in the working out of practical theology.

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Social, Therapeutic & Community Engagement (STaCS)



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10 Oct 2017 09:53

Last Modified:

10 Oct 2017 09:53

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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