Skip navigation
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: Racial Diversity in British Evangelicalism: Frames, Barriers, and Practices
Authors: Birdsall, Jessamin
Advisors: Wuthnow, Robert J
Contributors: Sociology Department
Keywords: evangelicalism
United Kingdom
Subjects: Sociology
Issue Date: 2021
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: How do the beliefs and practices of British evangelicals harden or erode racial boundaries? The twin realities of dramatic secularization of white Britons alongside immigrant-fueled religious revitalization are changing the demographic landscape of the church and compelling British evangelical leaders to rethink their strategies for church mission, including how they engage with race. To what extent racial integration should be prioritized in church mission, and how exactly it should be enacted, are contested areas. The pursuit of racial integration within a local church context is often characterized by deep contradictions between the stated ideals (say, of unity and diversity) and the realities that racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic differences are accompanied by power differentials and cultural conflicts. The disjuncture between espoused values and lived realities of racial integration creates tensions that can be difficult for church leaders and members to reconcile. Based on 18 months of participant-observation and 72 in-depth interviews with white British, Black British, and British Asian evangelicals, this dissertation explores the attitudes and practices that hinder or facilitate racial integration in the evangelical church in England. This study contributes to the literatures on immigration, race, and religion. To the literature on racial conceptualization, the present study offers insight into how contemporary theological ideas and other elements of the evangelical cultural toolkit shape evaluations of race and racial diversity. To the immigration and integration literature, the study highlights how colonial legacies intersect with racial identification and church culture to limit the integrative function of churches for racial minorities. To the sociology of religion literature, the present study broadens our understanding of evangelical attitudes towards race beyond the American context and also beyond white evangelicals, by including voices of Black British and British Asian evangelicals. The study has wider implications for our understanding of the meanings of “diversity” as well as the role of religious institutions in contesting or reinforcing racial inequalities in diverse societies.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Sociology

Files in This Item:
This content is embargoed until 2023-02-22. For more information contact the Mudd Manuscript Library.

Items in Dataspace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.