Of Tree Planting, Salvation and Urbanization: The Role of Evangelical Movements in Adaptive Capacity. Kigali, Rwanda.
Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 40 credits / 60 HE creditsStudent thesis
Evangelical churches are growing rapidly in Sub-Sahara Africa, in sheer numbers as well asin societal importance. At the same time urbanization and its associated negativeenvironmental and social consequences are putting pressure on many urban social-ecologicalsystems in the global south. The question that this paper raises is how the growing religioussocial movements frame these change processes and their role in them? With its rapidurbanization and high church involvement in civil society Kigali, Rwanda serves as the casestudyThe study, conducted through semi-structured interviews with church leaders from fivechurches in Kigali conveyed that the evangelical religious movements offer a world viewsalient with many of its' supporters belief systems and experiences of everyday life. There isno doubt of the potential for mobilizing collective action, inherent in the evangelical churchesin Kigali. While currently lacking a clear and coherent agenda on its role in the adaptivecapacity of the social-ecological system of Kigali, an awareness is awakening. Yet manyactions, such as tree planting, infra-structure improvements and education, are taken toimprove the biophysical environment. These are based in the movement supporters' holisticworldview, where physical and spiritual health goes hand in hand. With increasedunderstanding within the movements, of complex social-ecological relations possibly throughthe ambitious projects set up by some of the churches involved, this study shows themovements potential of becoming important actors on environmental issues. This study addsto the growing body of work challenging the assumption that a focus on key individuals issufficient to explain the human processes within a social-ecological system. The empiricalfindings serve as good examples of how the intangible processes occurring inside individualsin a system have the potential of inducing far reaching consequences for that system, whenamplified through a social movement. Further research, emphasizing on participatoryobservations could increase this papers contribution to theory development on adaptivecapacity.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. , 68 p.
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-63369OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-63369DiVA: diva2:448555
UppsokLife Earth Science
Ernstson, Henrik, PhD