Forthcoming, Oxford University Press, 2014 –
The Deconstructed Church co-authored with Gerardo Marti
“Christianity is the only mad religion; which is perhaps, the explanation for its survival—it deconstructs itself and survives by deconstructing itself.” – Jacques Derrida
This book explores the persons, practices, and sociological significance of emerging Christianity. The Emerging Church Movement (ECM) is a self-classified, voluntary, and largely reactive religious movement that strives to achieve social relevance and spiritual vitality by actively disassociating from its roots in Conservative, Evangelical Christianity. Using congregational surveys, in-depth interviews with leaders and participants, and ethnographic reports from “Emerging Church” communities and conference meetings, in the United States, the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, supplemented by observation of the movement since its beginnings in the late 1990s, this book provides a social scientific analysis of this intriguing development within modern Christianity. In presenting our understanding of this movement, we focus on the motivation and religious identity of “Emerging Christians,” the structure of ritual practices within their congregations (often called “gatherings” or “communities”), their “lived” religious practices, and the ECM’s significance as a modern religious movement.
Evangelical Journeys: Choice and Change in a Northern Irish Religious Subculture, co-authored with Claire Mitchell
This book, co-authored with Dr Claire Mitchell, was published by UCD Press in 2011. It draws on interview material with more than 100 evangelicals. We ask why do people born into the same religious community turn out so differently? We tell the stories of pro-life DUP picketers, liberal peace-campaigning ministers, housewives afraid of the devil, students deconstructing their faith and atheists mortified by their religious past. We explore why people have chosen to go in one religious direction or another, and how their religious journeys have unfolded.
You can order the book on the UCD Press Website
Evangelicalism and Conflict in Northern Ireland
Prof. John Brewer of the University of Aberdeen has written about the book:
“This is a remarkable first book by an excellent young scholar. It recognizes the importance of religion to Northern Ireland’s sectarian conflict, while not reducing it to a religious war. Above all, it sees religion as a site of reconciliation as much as contest. It is based on impressive empirical analysis that displays the qualities of her insider knowledge, deriving from Ganiel’s extensive period of fieldwork in the North of Ireland and her own evangelical beliefs, but also her outsider status as a North American social scientist, which gives the volume enormous sensitivity as well as a sense of balance. Evangelicals are a key sector of Northern Irish Protestantism, perhaps the dominant theological position within the Reformed tradition there, and Ganiel documents the transitions that are occurring in evangelical identities in Northern Ireland. The arguments are optimistic for Northern Ireland’s future and fully consistent with the country’s latest political developments. Politics, theology and ethnography elide in this volume in wonderfully fertile ways that make it a pleasure to read.”
Writing in Anthropology News, William Girard says:
“Ganiel presents the world of Northern Ireland’s Evangelical communities in an engaging and convincing manner…The fact that Ganiel documents how these Evangelical communities transform in response to policies of the state underscores her larger critique of the modern secular vision of autonomous social spheres…Ganiel’s book offers an important contribution to the theoretical categories in the anthropology of Evangelicalism.”
The book was launched in Belfast on 15 September 2008 by Canon David Porter, the director of the Centre for Reconciliation at Coventry Cathedral. Porter said the book challenged evangelicals to think about their commitment to social justice and Christian unity. He urged evangelicals in Northern Ireland not to retreat into pietism or moralism. The book was launched in Dublin on 26 November 2008 by Prof. Jennifer Todd of the School of Politics and International Relations at University College Dublin. She praised Ganiel’s book for documenting important changes in evangelicalism, demonstrating how change occurs at the micro-level, and recognizing the impact of this on politics.