Original Research - Special Collection: Unshackled

The university, the city and the clown: A theological essay on solidarity, mutuality and prophecy

Stephan de Beer
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 71, No 3 | a3100 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v71i3.3100 | © 2015 Stephan de Beer | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 02 July 2015 | Published: 30 September 2015

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Stephan de Beer, Centre for Contextual Ministry, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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This essay is informed by five different but interrelated conversations all focusing on the relationship between the city and the university. Suggesting the clown as metaphor, I explore the particular role of the activist scholar, and in particular the liberation theologian that is based at the public university, in his or her engagement with the city. Considering the shackles of the city of capital and its twin, the neoliberal university, on the one hand, and the city of vulnerability on the other, I then propose three clown-like postures of solidarity, mutuality and prophecy to resist the shackles of culture and to imagine and embody daring alternatives.


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