Date of Submission
Doctor of Philosophy in International Conflict Management (Ph.D. INCM)
DR. AKANMU G. ADEBAYO
DR. BRANDON D. LUNDY
DR. SHERRILL W. HAYES
DR. DEBARATI SEN
New African immigrant religious organizations (NAIRO) are transnational religious organizations established and led by new African immigrants (NAI). These organizations are experiencing planned growth as outlined in their manuals, but little is known about the internal conflicts that lead to unplanned schisms or break away congregations. Foundational studies in the field of Sociology of Religion failed to include NAI-led churches in their studies and Atlanta was not selected as an immigrant hub city in their follow-up studies. This dissertation explores the social phenomenon of NAIRO internal conflicts that lead to unplanned schisms and therefore contribute to the overall growth of NAIROs in the Greater Atlanta area. Historical background of NAI migration and the resulting demand for NAIROs is supported by geographical data to reflect NAI population patterns and the orientation of NAIRO locations in the Atlanta metropolitan area. Through a qualitative methodology including analysis of primary documents and in-depth interviews of study participants, the conflict issues that were precursors to schism were deconstructed. This dissertation looks at how the sixth step of the migration process, development of transnational linkages, reflects integration at the meso-level within a complex social system and identifies various types of capital that shape religious transnationals’ worldview. The study argues that conflict and cooperation are expressions of agency by which religious transnationals pursue both personal and mission goals. The study informs on existing approaches to conflict issues and proposes alternative strategies as proactive measures to minimize conflict issues that lead to unplanned schisms. Findings confirmed that transnationals’ points of view change over time (generations) and with circumstances, but more study is needed in this area to determine the impact to reverse mission.
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