Author: Brandon Vaidyanathan

Missionaries in a Mercenary World: The Fusion of Faith and Work

In my previous post, I introduced a new framework for thinking about how people maintain and overcome boundaries between faith and work. I proposed we consider two simple categories: overlap and separation—states that may obtain in spite of our intentions to integrate or segment faith and work. In this post, I consider the first category of overlap: fusion. By fusion,…

Missionaries in a Mercenary World: Negotiating faith-work boundaries in the workplace

In my previous posts in this series I talked about the character of the Mercenary, which reflects the new norm of apprehensive individualism in global corporate culture. In the next few posts I want to examine how Christians working in global corporations integrate (and segment) their faith in such environments. Subsequently I will return to consider the factors that generate…

Missionaries in a Mercenary World: Apprehensive Individualism

In my last post, I talked about how many professionals, even Christian ones, define themselves in relation to the symbolic image of the Mercenary—a person who is oriented towards “apprehensive individualism.” What does that mean? Individualism isn’t simply self-centeredness; as many scholars such as Robert Bellah and Charles Taylor have pointed out, it can also be a moral vision. But…

Missionaries in a Mercenary World: The Professional as Mercenary

While studying global corporate workplaces in India and the Middle East, I came across a peculiar set of ideals, norms, and expectations that were widely shared across companies. Together, these constitute a distinct “representative character” that (thanks to Ashwin, the IT professional I mentioned in my previous post) I call the Mercenary. What’s a representative character? It’s a recognizable symbolic…

Missionaries in a Mercenary World

“In corporate industries, we’re all mercenaries,” laughed Ashwin Mathews. “We work for the money. Honest—honest truth! I don’t work for loyalty, right? I’m not loyal to the company. I work for the cash!” I interviewed Ashwin (not his real name) in India in 2012 when I was conducting research for my PhD dissertation in sociology. By that point, I had already…