Transcendence, sacrifice, and aspiration
The political theology of development in Asia
in Political theologies and development in Asia
Abstract only
Log-in for full text

This chapter sets out the theoretical framework of this volume. Recent scholarship on political theology has amply illustrated the critical potentialities of examining the ‘religious’ remainder in even the most purportedly ‘secular’ of modern institutions. However, scholarship on political theology to date has primarily involved tracing the presence of Christian theologies within modern Western institutions. By shifting the focus to Asia, this chapter seeks a broader reconceptualisation of the field of political theology, and demonstrates that the political theology of development in Asia makes a vital contribution to our understanding of configurations and genealogies of the political. The focus on development – as a set of transnational networks that connect Western and Asian modernities in complex political and religious entanglements – enables fresh critical analysis of the ways in which the theo-political is imagined, materialised, and contested in and beyond the state. This chapter advances notions of transcendence, sacrifice and victimhood, and aspiration and salvation as particularly valuable analytic categories for understanding how development is lived and experienced within diverse Asian contexts today.