Mission possible? Optimization of ‘Others’ in the Context of Missionary Strategies of Persuasion
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Mission possible? Optimization of ‘Others’ in the Context of Missionary Strategies of Persuasion

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In a series of publication projects I focus on the question of how optimization and standardization of ‘others’ and foreigners takes place (or is supposed to take place) in the context of missionary strategies of religious persuasion. Missionary goals are inseparably connected to the Christian imagination of ‘the renewed man’. This concept of man can be characterized best by a range of elements – like e.g. improvisation by cultural adjustment, self-abandonment, willingness to make sacrifices under the banner of selfless service to the neighbor, directive or non-directive persuasive communication, self-alteration of the ‘others’ by assertion of one’s own ‘self’ – that are required to accomplish one’s own aspirations to change and optimize the others.The described strategies of persuasion and change are findings of an empirical study about the intercultural practice of Protestant missionaries. Missionary action represents a mode of purpose and goal-oriented, intentional and strategic action aiming at the ‘improvement’ and ‘perfection’ of others. Finally, the findings and reflections should lead to a ‘prototypical’ abstraction, so that a special type of action can be conceived which aims at optimization and standardization of the humane.
Publications:

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“From love to hate”: A story of Germania and Sam about German-American relations
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“From love to hate”: A story of Germania and Sam about German-American relations

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A so-called essay – co-authored with Przemysław Łukasik, Jagiellonian University Kraków – was presented at the workshop ‘Identity, Migration and International Relations: Diagnoses, Symptoms and Future Prospects in Europe and the U.S.’ (February 10th, 2011) in Essen at the Institut for Advanced Study in the Humanities (KWI).

Abstract: This essay is a modern narrative history, which obtains its content from fictional characters of the most famous English poet William Shakespeare. The aim of this story-based analysis is to reconsider configurations, general trends and collective aspirations in the international and transatlantic relations between two nations of Western culture, Germany and the United States. On the basis of seven picturesque characters and episodes, each representing an imagination of love and hate in transatlantic relations, were selected from his dramas and poems and interpreted against the background of cultural historical and socio-cultural developments in German-American relations: (1) The Birth of Macduff, (2) The Passionate Pilgrim, (3) The Two Noble Kinsmen, (4) Shylock and Aaron the Moor, (5) Macbeths Dream of Power, (6) The Phoenix and the Turtle and (7) Hamlets Reflections and the Self-assurance of Fortinbras. This interpretative, comparative analysis involves for each image three different levels of interpretation: On the basis of Shakespeare’s texts a description and paraphrase of some important facts in the plot and the main characters will be produced. Thereafter, in a hypothesis will be summarize what we have seen as the main point in the story (level of the meaning of the image). And finally, we will transfer these meanings, ways of Shakespeare’s reception and language games (‘Sprachspiele’; sensu Wittgenstein) to historical and socio-cultural substantiation.

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Religious Self and Identity of German Protestant Missionaries
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Religious Self and Identity of German Protestant Missionaries

It seems obvious that the Christian religion is intrinsically intertwined with the missionary assignment and that the gradual and strategic alterations of the others initiated by missionaries are based on…

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Mission in intercultural Practice
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Mission in intercultural Practice

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Although the Christian religion has at all times been and is still connected with a predefined missionary assignment, the experiences of cultural difference, alienation, and otherness made by Protestant missionaries in intercultural practice, the interwoven transformations of their personal identity as well as relevant learning processes which enlarge their potential have barely been systematically analysed so far.This article aims at eliminating and compensating these deficits. By doing so, it will contribute to one of the most fascinating research projects in contemporary globalised societies, i.e. to the empirical studies of intercultural communication, cooperation, and competence of missionaries. Mission as a religious practice is a part of a long historical tradition in different “world religions”. Besides, it has a great salience in the world at the present time. It is surprising that the research in intercultural communication, cooperation and competence until now has not been paid much attention to the rich experiences and expertise of missionaries.

Publications: Straub, Jürgen/ Arnold, Maik (2007). Mission. In Straub, Jürgen/ Arne Weidemann/ Doris Weidemann (Hg.), Handbuch Interkulturelle Kommunikation und Kompetenz (S. 646 – 657). Stuttgart/ Weimar: Metzler Verlag.

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Dr. Maik Arnold is Professor for Non-Profit-Management and Vice-President for Research, Innovation and Transfer at University of Applied Science Dresden.