Date of Degree

6-2-2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

Political Science

Advisor(s)

Corey Robin

Committee Members

Uday Singh Mehta

Paisley Currah

Bryan Turner

Matthew Scherer

Subject Categories

American Politics | American Studies | Arts and Humanities | Christianity | Comparative Methodologies and Theories | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Models and Methods | Political Science | Political Theory | Religion | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion | Social and Behavioral Sciences

Keywords

evangelical, theory, thought, politics, Christian right, post-secular

Abstract

Despite renewed attention to religion and ethics in political theory, there is a notable absence of inquiry into evangelicalism. Social scientists have studied Christian right policy in the late 20th century, but how has the movement shifted in the new millennium and what are the theoretical beliefs that undergird those shifts? By reading popular devotional writings as political texts, this dissertation distills a three-part evangelical political thought: 1) a theory of time in which teleological eternity complements retroactive re-birth; 2) a theory of being wherein evangelicals learn to strive after their godly potential through a process of emotional self-regulation; and 3) a theory of personhood wherein identity develops concurrently within the evangelical subculture and today’s (neo)liberal ethos. Ultimately, this dissertation argues that for the last fifteen years, an evangelical revival has been transforming the movement from a policy-driven politics to an ontologically driven politics—innovatively pivoting it away from the Christian right. Whereas most secular observers focus on the internal contradictions of evangelicalism, my close reading and interpretation of devotional texts instead describes a series of creative tensions that work to strengthen religious belief, support a strategic revivalism, and catalyze evangelicalism as a new kind of socio-political movement.

 
 

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