Publication Date

Spring 5-2018


How do narrative practices used by members of Christian Base Communities (in Spanish, CEBs) construct particular Catholic-political subjectivities within the Church, the nation-state, and the larger global institutions? Christian Base Communities, the vehicle by which liberation theology is put into practice, played a significant role in Nicaragua’s Sandinista revolution. Their proclaimed renewal is happening under dramatically different contexts from which they first emerged. Their religious beliefs continue to justify and place a moral thrust on their struggle for a more egalitarian society despite the reduction of social programs on the part of neoliberal governments, including the current Sandinista party administration. I recorded elicited and un-elicited autobiographical narratives that are integral to participation as religious and political subjects. CEB participants recount processes of transformation, in which a new identity is being crafted by people on the economic margins capable of effecting change within the church and society. I focus upon liberation theology as a part of anthropology of Christianity and Catholicism. In that light I ask, might contemporary CEBs function as theological revolutionaries, seeking to transform Catholic practice?


Nicaragua, Catholicism, Liberation theology, Christian base communities, revitalization, subjectivity, progress, life history

Document Type




Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name


First Committee Member (Chair)

Les Field

Second Committee Member

Suzanne Oakdale

Third Committee Member

David Dinwoodie

Fourth Committee Member

Kathleen Holscher