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Mercenaries and Missionaries - Capitalism and Catholicism in the Global South - cover

Mercenaries and Missionaries - Capitalism and Catholicism in the Global South

Brandon Vaidyanathan

Publisher: Cornell University Press

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Summary

Mercenaries and Missionaries examines the relationship between rapidly diffusing forms of capitalism and Christianity in the Global South. Using more than two hundred interviews in Bangalore and Dubai, Brandon Vaidyanathan explains how and why global corporate professionals straddle conflicting moral orientations in the realms of work and religion. Seeking to place the spotlight on the role of religion in debates about the cultural consequences of capitalism, Vaidyanathan finds that an "apprehensive individualism" generated in global corporate workplaces is supported and sustained by a "therapeutic individualism" cultivated in evangelical-charismatic Catholicism.Mercenaries and Missionaries uncovers a symbiotic relationship between these individualisms and shows how this relationship unfolds in two global cities—Dubai, in non-democratic UAE, which holds what is considered the world's largest Catholic parish, and Bangalore, in democratic India, where the Catholic Church, though afflicted by ethnic and religious violence, runs many of the city's elite educational institutions. Vaidyanathan concludes that global corporations and religious communities create distinctive cultures, with normative models that powerfully orient people to those cultures—the Mercenary in cutthroat workplaces, and the Missionary in churches. As a result, global corporate professionals in rapidly developing cities negotiate starkly opposing moral commitments in the realms of work and religion, which in turn shapes their civic commitment to these cities.

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