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The "transparency" of Christian proselytizing in Kyrgyzstan

By Mathijs Pelkmans


To make an object transparent implies that its internal features become better visible. It also means that the surface of that same object becomes less discernable. I apply this analogy to argue that the current preoccupation with transparency allows certain ideological movements to hide controversial agendas from public scrutiny. Focusing on evangelical Christian aid to Kyrgyzstan, this article traces how post-Soviet liberalization enabled evangelicals to gain a strong footing in this Muslim-majority society. Their emphasis on religious rights served to legitimize their missionary agendas, while the adoption of development rhetoric allowed evangelicals to present themselves as "transparent" civil society players. As such, this empirical case illuminates the ideological workings of "empty" and ostensibly value-free political imageries

Topics: BR Christianity, DS Asia, GN Anthropology
Publisher: Institute for Ethnographic Research
Year: 2009
DOI identifier: 10.1353/anq.0.0058
OAI identifier:
Provided by: LSE Research Online
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