An analysis of worldviews of West African immigrants to Greater Cincinnati and their missiological implications
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SubjectCincinnati (Ohio)--Emigration and immigration--Religious aspects.
Cincinnati (Ohio)--Emigration and immigration--Social aspects.
West Africans--Social life and customs--20th century.
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This dissertation is an ethnographic investigation of West African immigrants to Greater Cincinnati. It seeks to portray their cultural identity with the underlying motive of understanding their worldviews and their consequent missiological implications. The research is predicated on the assumption that the Great Commission mandate applies not only to the nation states as geo-political entities, but to panta ta ethne , which signifies ethno-linguistic people groups. In the American context, panta ta ethne would apply not only to the culturally dominant groups, but also to often-marginal immigrant groups, such as the West African immigrants. The research contends that West African immigrants have been neglected by American evangelical churches because of the erroneous perception of the similitude between them and the African Americans, hence the need for cultural understanding of the immigrants. The missiological presupposition is that, unless the worldview of a people is clearly understood, sharing the gospel would always be problematic because the message being communicated may be coated in assumptions and worldview categories that are different from the recipient's culture. To achieve the stated objectives, Chapter 1 defines the concept of worldview from the cultural perspective and discusses its etymology, history, current development as an interdisciplinary concept and its place in respect to social sciences in general and to cultural anthropology in particular. Attention is also paid to the concept's relationship to culture, the challenges of worldview in missiology, and its relevance to the gospel presentation. Chapter 2 introduces the people of West Africa, their geo-political setting, ethno-linguistic makeup, socio-economic condition, and religio-cultural background before migrating to the United States of America. Chapter 3 considers the immigrants' destination--Cincinnati, and that which attracts West African immigrants to the city. Chapter 4 investigates ethnographically the life and culture of West African immigrants in Greater Cincinnati. Chapter 5 is devoted to an analysis of the ethnographic observations. Moreover, all the research findings are synthesized into worldview categories with the aim of identifying specific West African worldviews. Chapter 6 draws missiological implications from the worldview analysis of the immigrants, while Chapter 7 concludes the research by suggesting methods of reaching the immigrants.