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Restoring Dignity in Rural and Urban Madagascar

On How Religion Creates New Life-stories


Marianne Skjortnes

Christian churches across the world such as the Lutheran church in Madagascar have long been engaged in what we would today term «development». The church has been deeply involved in humanitarian assistance and development work, especially in the areas of education and health. Restoring Dignity in Rural and Urban Madagascar analyzes this phenomenon and presents stories of human dignity in the lives of the people in this society, a society that survives in a context of vulnerability, both social and economic. The stories show how everyday life is lived despite unfulfilled needs and when decent living conditions are but a dream. The book is primarily concerned with a commitment to Christianity in a changing society and focuses on church members’ experiences of the development work of the Lutheran church in their everyday lives. Christian faith and Christian values such as human dignity, ethics, and belonging represent added values to these people and express value systems that are tied to ethical reflection and moral action. For those who choose to participate in the church’s development work and spiritual activity, therefore, new ethical standards and norms are created. This approach challenges the traditional emphasis on cultural continuity thinking to explain the sudden change in values that people say that they have experienced.
The book will be essential assigned reading in university courses in development studies, anthropology, and missiology.
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Skjortnes, Marianne.Restoring dignity in rural and urban Madagascar: on how religion creates new life-stories / Marianne Skjortnes. ages cm. — (Bible and theology in Africa ; vol. 18) Includes bibliographical references and index.

1. Madagascar—Religion. 2. Madagascar—Religious life and customs.3. Christianity—Madagascar. 4. Christianity and other religions—African.5. Christianity and other religions—Madagascar. I. Title.II. Series: Bible and theology in Africa; v. 18.BL2470.M3S55 261.296—dc23 2013032630ISBN 978-1-4331-2400-6 (hardcover)ISBN 978-1-4539-1220-1 (e-book)ISSN 1525-9846

Bibliographic information published by Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek. Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the “Deutsche Nationalbibliografie”; detailed bibliographic data is available on the Internet at

Cover image:Village in Madagascar© Marianne Skjortnes

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