"Re-designing the nation" : politics and Christianity in Papua New Guinea's national parliament
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My thesis addresses how Christianity can constitute itself as a creative force and a form of governance across different scales. I carried out 12 months of fieldwork between 2013 and 2015 in Papua New Guinea’s National Parliament (Port Moresby). My interlocutors were bureaucrats, liberal professionals and pastors who formed a group known as the Unity Team. The Unity Team, spearheaded by the Speaker of the 9th Parliament, Hon. Theodor Zurenuoc, were responsible for controversial initiatives, such as the destruction and dismantling of traditional carvings from Parliament in 2013, which they considered ungodly and evil, and the placement of a donated KJV Bible in the chamber of Parliament in 2015. My interlocutors regard Christianity as central to eliciting modern subjects and institutions. They consider Christianity to be a universal form of discernment, contrasted to particularistic forms of knowing and relating which are thought to create corruption and low institutional performance. I show how the Unity Team regarded Christianity as more than a way of doing away with satanic forces and building a Christian self. They expected Christianity to be a frame of reference informing work ethics, infusing citizenship and, finally, productive of a public and national realm. By exploring Christianity ethnographically, I offer a contribution to Anthropological discussions concerning politics, bureaucracy, citizenship, and nation-making.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Embargo Date: 2020-06-11
Embargo Reason: Thesis restricted in accordance with University regulations. Print and electronic copy restricted until 11th June 2020
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