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The transnational debate over homosexuality in the anglican communion

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

Robert M. Vanderbeck, Joanna Sadgrove, Gill Valentine, Johan Andersson, Kevin Ward

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Changing World Religion Map: Sacred Places, Identities, Practices and Politics
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)9789401793766, 9789401793759
Published1 Jan 2015

King's Authors


This chapter examines how debates over homosexuality are serving to reshape the international Anglican Communion, producing new geographies of connection and disconnection in diverse contexts globally. These debates include the morality of same-sex relationships, the blessing of same-sex unions, the ordination of gay clergy, and the consecration of gay bishops. We draw on original research from a larger project on the sexuality debates within Anglicanism which involved interviews with a range of key actors, observation at several important Communion events, and parish-level case studies in England, U.S. and South Africa with additional fieldwork in Uganda and Lesotho. Following a broad discussion of the nature of the sexuality debates in global Anglicanism, we explore new networks and alliances s national/provincial borders and how they have responded to recent developments in the Communion related to homosexuality. While traditional scalar categories such as parish, diocese, and province are important for understanding the shape of the debates and their implications, these new networks and alliances both interact with and challenge the traditional organization of the Anglican polity. Drawing on select examples from parish case studies, we then explore how local ideas about the nature of the international Communion are being challenged and shaped by the wider transnational debate over homosexuality. The intensification of transnational flows of discourses, people, and money, rather than serving as a force connecting people worldwide who share an Anglican identity, has often created senses of disconnection to the wider Communion rather than fostering senses of connection and belonging. We raise questions about the future of the Anglican Communion and Anglican identity more broadly.

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