This study sets of by investigating postmodernism and social constructionism. Postmodernism as 21st century world view (paradigm) influences everything in our lives, including the perspective from which a study is conducted. An attempt is made to follow the development of modernism (and with it the so-called pre-modern) and postmodernism. This culminates in a summary of a postmodern perspective on reality and the practical consequences of postmodernism. Social constructionism emphasises the reality that discourses and even the self is socially constructed and therefore dependent on context, time and place. Social constructionism leads to questions about the normative role of the Bible in the study and a postmodern society. The metaphor "a circle of circles" and "a meeting" are employed to describe the application of God's Word in postmodern context. The constructing community determines the normative role of the Bible. Concepts such as the gift, God, and community are central concepts with regard to postmodernism and Christianity, and can therefore be useful during communication of the gospel to postmodern people. Narrative research in the field of Practical Theology assumes practical theological wisdom (knowledge) of people to be a legitimate and rich resource for knowledge and understanding of certain experience within a certain context. This study employs a Postfoundationalist Practical Theology as a framework for narrative research. The adaptation process of the Vermaak family as result of a migration from South Africa to New Zealand was researched. The first movement of the of the framework explores context. New Zealand/Aotearoa, Hawera (the town they settled in) and the family within their parish (Baptist Hawera) is described as the context. The researcher's own context is also taken in consideration as an attempt to establish subjective integrity. The second movement describes the experiences of the Vermaaks just before and approximately a year after their move to New Zealand. During the third movement the experiences are interpreted in collaboration with co-researchers. Traditions of interpretations (discourses) that influenced their process of adaptation is described in the fourth movement. The next step was an attempt to honestly structure the family's experience of God's presence during this significant event in their lives. Insight from interdisciplinary investigation, mainly into psychology, is used during the sixth movement to further enrich and thicken understanding of the process. Lastly a few insights were formulated that may be useful beyond the researcher and co-researchers. An awareness and knowledge of postmodernism and social constructionism (the current 21st century paradigms) facilitates interpretation and understanding of experiences. A thorough grasp of narrative concepts is helpful to the process of adaptation after an overseas move. An active Christian faith provides a stable identity which contributes to a meaningful and successful adaptation process.
Thesis (PhD (Practical Theology))--University of Pretoria, 2006.