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

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:

Arnold, M. (in review). The Optimization of the ‘Others’ in the Context of Missionary Persuasion Strategies, Department of Social Theory and Social Psychology, Ruhr-University of Bochum.

Arnold, M. (in press). Der Glaube an die Allmacht des ‘neuen’ Menschen: Optimierung des Humanen und ‚Human Enhancement’ [The Believe in the Omnipotence of the 'new' man: The Optimization of the Human and 'Human Enhancement']. In S. Schardien & S. Körner (Hrsg.), Spitzenleistung? Gendoping: Neue Herausforderungen für Sport, Gesellschaft und Menschbild. Paderborn: Mentis.

Arnold, M. (in press). Mission possible? – Der Glaube an die Macht des ‘besseren Menschen’: Strategien der religiösen Optimierung und Normierung [Mission possible? - The Believe in the Power of the 'better man': Strategies of Religious Optimization and Standardization]. In A. Sieben, K. Sabisch-Fechtelpeter K & J. Straub (Hrsg.), Menschen besser machen: Die hellen und dunklen Seiten humanwissenschaftlicher Optimierungsprogramme, Bielefeld.

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