Title page for ETD etd-05112012-200607

Document Type Doctoral Thesis
Author Viljoen, Christoffel Johannes
Email anchri@mweb.co.za
URN etd-05112012-200607
Document Title Mission work and pastoral care in the port of Durban : a narrative hermeneutical adventure
Degree PhD
Department Practical Theology
Advisor Name Title
Prof J Muller Supervisor
  • understanding
  • contextuality
  • co-researcher
  • seafarer
  • hermeneutical adventure
  • social constructionism narrative approach
  • seafarersí mission
  • Missio Dei
  • postfoundationalism
Date 2012-04-10
Availability unrestricted
This research was an attempt at a social construction of an understanding that came into being through the collaboration between the researcher and the co-researchers concerning the life and circumstances of seafarers. The purpose of this construction was to participate, together with the co-researchers, in developing a research narrative that can be beneficial to seafarers. The aim is for it to lead to their emancipation and empowerment. The title of this research indicates that this is a hermeneutical adventure. It is hermeneutical because it is about a construction of meaning and about coming to an understanding. It is an adventure because whatever meaning and understanding was constructed in the end was unknown at the beginning. New knowledge was constructed in which all who participated had a say.

The development of this research narrative was guided by the ABDCE formula which uses the metaphor of research as story writing. The researcherís epistemology was informed by the notions of social constructionism, the narrative approach based on social constructionism and postfoundationalism. Theological issues in this research had to do with postfoundationalist practical theology, with its emphasis on embeddedness, contextuality and particularity while also trying to move beyond the local. In addition to this there was also a focus on missiology and the concept of Missio Dei was emphasised.

Seafaring is still a dangerous profession where the seafarers many times find themselves being powerless in situations of injustice. On ships there is a lot of diversity. Men and women from many different religions and cultures have to sail together. Occasionally this causes tension between seafarers, but mostly they are working and living together in harmony. A bigger concern than conflict is that diversity might cause social isolation. Seafarers are willing to endure a lot of hardship and especially seafarers from developing countries are making this sacrifice in order to provide a better future for their families. The relationship between seafaring and the family is an ironic one because the seafarers sail in order to provide for the family, but at the same time sailing takes them away from their loved ones. From the perspective of the researcher three general weaknesses were found as far as the ministry to seafarers is concerned: At times there is lack of a spiritual dimension to the ministry, secondly there is a need for a stronger presence among the seafarers and thirdly more emphasis should be put on involvement with fishers especially as far as justice issues are concerned.

© 2011 University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Viljoen, CJ 2011, Mission work and pastoral care in the port of Durban : a narrative hermeneutical adventure, PhD thesis, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-05112012-200607/ >


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