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Social Security in Religious Networks: Anthropological Perspectives on New Risks and Ambivalences

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Social Security in Religious Networks

Anthropological Perspectives on New Risks and Ambivalences

Edited by Carolin Leutloff-Grandits, Anja Peleikis and Tatjana Thelen

248 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-84545-576-7 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (June 2009)

eISBN 978-1-84545-925-3 eBook

Hb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook from these vendors Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


The editors of this book give exceptional added value to its eleven essays.  ·  JRAI

This volume offers a wide range of topics and methodological approaches…[and] gives an excellent insight into the manifold interconnectedness of religious networks in the (trans)national context.  ·  Social Anthropology/Anthropologie sociale

"[A] coherent set of theoretically interesting discussions based on sound empirical work … [to] contribute to some of the major issues of social anthropology."  ·  Keebet von Benda-Beckmann, Max-Planck-Institute, Halle

"... a good range of ethnographic material and theoretical debate. The Introduction does a good job of binding the chapters together."  ·  Frances Pine, Goldsmiths College


During the last decades, the world has been facing tremendous political transformations and new risks: epidemics such as HIV/Aids have had destabilizing effect on the caretaking role of kin; in post-socialist countries political reforms have made unemployment a new source of insecurity. Furthermore, the state’s withdrawal from providing social security is taking place throughout the world. One response to these developments has been increased migration, which poses further challenges to kinship-based social support systems. This innovative volume focuses on the ambiguous role of religious networks in social security and traces the interrelatedness of religious networks and state and family support systems. Particularly timely, it describes these challenges as well as social security arrangements in the context of globalization and migration. The wide range of case studies from various parts of the world that examine various religious groups offers an important comparative contribution to the understanding of religious networks as providers of social security.

Carolin Leutloff-Grandits is currently a research associate at the Center for Southeastern European History at the University of Graz and a lecturer at the Institute of Cultural and Social Anthropology at the University of Vienna. She has conducted research in Croatia and Serbia and has published on forced migration, social security, confl ict and reconciliation.

Anja Peleikis is a researcher at the Institute of Social Anthropology, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany where she co-leads the project “After the Survivors. Performing the Holocaust and the Jewish Past in the New Yad Vashem Museum and in the Jewish Museum, Berlin.” She has conducted research in Lebanon, Lithuania and Berlin/Jerusalem and has published on transnational migration, roots tourism, collective memory and social security.

Tatjana Thelen is currently a senior lecturer in the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Zurich (Switzerland) and directs the research project “Local state and social security in rural Hungary, Romania and Serbia” funded by the Volkswagen foundation in Halle/Saale (Germany). She has conducted research in Hungary, Romania and Germany and has published on social security, social networks and inequality.

Subject: Anthropology of Religion Refugee and Migration Studies



Chapter 1. Social Security in religious networks: An introduction
Tatjana Thelen, Carolin Leutloff-Grandits and Anja Peleikis

Chapter 2. When AIDS becomes part of the (Christian) family: Dynamics between kinship and religious networks in Uganda
Catrine Christiansen

Chapter 3. ‘Fight against hunger’: Ambiguities of a charity campaign in post-war Croatia
Carolin Leutloff-Grandits

Chapter 4. Social Security, life courses and religious norms: Ambivalent layers of support in an eastern German Protestant network
Tatjana Thelen

Chapter 5. Longing for security: Qigong and Christian groups in the People’s Republic of China
Kristin Kupfer

Chapter 6. Questioning Social Security in the study of religion in Africa: The ambiguous meaning of the gift in African Pentecostalism and Islam
Mirjam de Bruijn and Rijk van Dijk

Chapter 7. Nuns, fundraising and volunteering: The gifting of care in Czech services for the elderly and infirm
Rosie Read

Chapter 8. ‘Church shopping’ in Malawi: Acquiring multiple resources in urban Christian networks
Barbara Rohregger

Chapter 9. The (re-)making of translocal networks through Social Security practices: The case of German and Lithuanian Lutherans in the Curonian Spit
Anja Peleikis

Chapter 10. Women’s congregations as transnational Social Security networks
Gertrud Hüwelmeier

Chapter 11. Negotiating needs and obligations in Haitian transnational religious and family networks
Heike Drotbohm

Notes on contributors

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