Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Professor Harvey A. Feit


This thesis reflects my interest in the role that non-local ideologies play in Third World progressive organizations, as well as my interest in the role of religion in popular political movements. I examine these issues by focussing on a nationally organized Basic Christian Communities program in the Philippines. In this program, which is inspired by the Vatican II and liberation theology, reinterpreted Catholic symbols, narratives and practices form the medium for ideological transferal to target populations.

The thesis is organized according to the social levels at which the BCC-CO program is represented. At the national level I examine historical, political and cultural influences that shape BCC-CO program formation, and at the diocesan (town) and villiage levels I focus on processes that promote either change or orthodoxy as the program is put into practice. These include: the interaction of BCC-CO activists with local knowledge, practices, and goals of elites and peasants; the role of the program mediators; and degress of indigenization and resistance at the local levels. Finally, I evaluate the potential of the BCC-CO program to promote local level social and political change.

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