Original Research - Special Collection: Practical Theology

Practical theology as ‘healing of memories’: Critical reflections on a specific methodology

Ian A. Nell
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 67, No 2 | a1001 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v67i2.1001 | © 2011 Ian A. Nell | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 November 2010 | Published: 19 July 2011

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Ian A. Nell, Department of Practical Theology and Missiology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa

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When developing new perspectives and paradigms for practical theology in South Africa, we obviously have to take our South African context seriously. We live in a post-conflict society in which gigantic sociocultural shifts have taken place since 1994. Many institutions and groups endeavour to address the conflict, injustices and pain of the past, including the Institute for the Healing of Memories (IHOM). The Institute makes use of a specific methodology in their workshops. Having participated in these workshops in congregational contexts as well as in the training of theological students, in this article I investigated the methodology of the Institute as a framework for new perspectives on practical theology in South Africa. Making use of Victor Turner’s theoretical construct of ‘social drama’ as one way of looking at the methodology of the IHOM, I reflected critically on the challenges that it poses to practical theology by making use of a ‘rhetorical frame’ and trying to delineate some constructive proposals for further reflections on practical theological paradigms and perspectives.


social drama; healing of memories; Victor Turner; narrative; liturgy


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