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Senior Research Seminar: Dr Nofit Itzhak (Universitat Rovira i Virgili)

When Feb 21, 2020
from 04:15 PM to 06:00 PM
Where Trinity Hall Lecture Theatre, 'A' Staircase
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Dr Nofit Itzhak (Universitat Rovira i Virgili)

Signifiers for the Divine: from Dyad to Triad in the Humanitarian Relation

Le Rocher is a Catholic Charismatic NGO operating in the French cités, concerned with ameliorating the living conditions of immigrant populations inhabiting these peripheral neighborhoods. While the humanitarian venture writ large is defined through the idiom of compassion, volunteers of the Rocher find compassion irrelevant to their endeavor.  Instead, they articulate their mission in terms of their relationship with God, and in a manner that inserts God as an agent into the relational dynamic of the humanitarian encounter. In this talk I argue that the introduction of a third element into otherwise dyadic relationships opens up possibilities for mutuality in a social context where relationships are typically defined as non-reciprocal. This further highlights the need to take seriously God’s agency in shaping the lives of religious actors, while raising questions about the broader role that mediation, divine or otherwise, plays in establishing social relations in the contexts of aid and beyond.

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