Liberation Theology Revisited: Agential Realism as an Epistemological Tool for the 21st Century?
Ino Mamić
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We are witnessing a new wave of socio-economic tensions throughout the world. Issues such as authoritarianism, populism, public health, unemployment, food provision, education, and inequalities, for decades largely associated with the Global South, have in a relatively short span of time become palpable challenges for many in the Global North too. The unprecedented pace of the globally changing social fabrics poses a question of the position of theology and theologians in what is emerging as the ‘New Normal’. When it comes to the churches, faith, and congregations, it is pastoral practice which has to adapt and react first. Then systematic theological reflection has to follow in an attempt to interpret the changing circumstances and to create a theoretical background for pastoral activity. To explore how socially engaged theology can tackle issues emerging from the complexity of social fabric and to offer a framework for pastoral practice, this paper will analyse the applicability of the methodology of agential realism in liberation theology. Agential realism is a theoretical framework that emphasizes relational aspects across the disciplines of ontology, epistemology, and ethics, as developed by Karen Barad, a U.S. social theorist, philosopher, and physicist. This paper is one of the first to apply the epistemology of agential realism in theology, specifically in liberation theology, chosen because of its dynamic nature and pastoral and epistemological openness.

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