Dissertation - PhD Thesis

Czech Mission: Identity of Czech Protestant Missionaries in Their Interaction with Slavs in Former Yugoslavia Countries

The whole text of the PhD thesis at Oxford Centre for Mission Studies will be available in 2022.

— Abstract —

This thesis is a multiple case study and explores how do contemporary Czech Protestant missionaries negotiate their national identity in the culturally proximal context of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Slovenia. The issue that I explore is Czech identity facet of the missionaries, in light of the social psychological concept of social identity complexity which focuses on interrelations of multiple identity facets. The research process makes use of in-depth interviews and personal diaries for data collection, which is followed by thematic analysis.

The argument begins by delineating areas of cultural differences in order to help understand situations when Czech identity facet of missionaries tends to become salient or suppressed. The thesis proceeds with examining implications of Czech identity salience and suppression for mission practice, and lays out what the single identity facets, which are of significance for Czech missionaries, are. Eventually, the thesis focuses on how these identity facets interrelate and argues for their more integrative treatment in order to advance the intercultural work.

The present study emphasizes that awareness and proper utilisation of missionaries' national identity facet leads towards reducing prejudice and more effective contextualization. In this perspective, my research could benefit mission practitioners who negotiate their identity in the quest of self-identification in mission, and their counterparts in the mission fields.

The discoveries of my thesis contribute to missiological studies on missionaries' identity, adding particular findings to missiology with focus on Central and Eastern Europe. This thesis primarily makes a contribution to the critical discussion on the concept of social identity complexity, the adequacy of which this qualitative study examines.