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Title: Religion and spirituality within environmental communities : place and significance in the UK context
Author: Kirby, Jeffrey
ISNI:       0000 0004 5356 1434
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2014
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This study examines religion and spirituality within environmental communities in the UK. Through the detailed study of three communities, 35 in-depth interviews and ethnographic observations, the substantive forms of religion and spirituality present are for the first time comprehensively documented. Individual beliefs and practices are examined alongside shared religious traditions, collective rituals and shrines within communal spaces. The place of religion and spirituality is mapped within communities using the concept of four realms (Inner, Personal, Social and Public). A comparative approach is employed to explore the differences between urban and rural contexts. Two strong community discourses involving religion and spirituality within the rural context, hitherto not commented upon, are examined in detail. The first relates to differences in strategic tendency (spiky-fluffy), these are in fact found to emanate from the previous Environmental Direct Action (EDA) movement. The second centres upon the Art of Mentoring Movement in which a number of community members had participated. Through detailed analysis the study describes how this organisation differed from the other spiritual traditions being practiced within the rural environmental communities. Throughout the study I suggest that many of the prominent features of environmental communities are similar to those identified in the EDA movement UK and Western countercultural movements of the 1960s. It is in regard to these social movements that I posit New Social Movement theories in particular help explain the presence of multiple ideologies within all three communities. Towards the end of the study I analyse the functional traits of religion and spirituality. All aspects of community bonding are considered including ideology, cultural practices, normative practices and body experiences. It is within the latter category that I suggest a type of ‘organic embodied solidarity’ exists within the rural context.
Supervisor: Tomalin, E. ; Muers, R. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available