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Title: Betwixt and between : professional identity formation of newly graduated Christian youth workers
Author: Griffiths, Joanne
Awarding Body: Brunel University
Current Institution: Brunel University
Date of Award: 2013
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For Christian professional youth workers, the transition from student to employee positions them at the interstices of convergent and competing discourses. This thesis argues that Christian youth workers can position themselves within these discourses by articulating an authentic faith integrated with professional practice. This positioning is produced and reproduced by performative expectations and the influence of relations of power. The notion of one, unitary professional identity is deemed futile as Christian professional youth workers mobilize a complex range of identities within a range of liminal spaces. Youth workers are suspended within an extended liminal state, which opens up different possibilities for professionalism within Christian professional youth work. This thesis contributes to knowledge particularly for the sociology of the professions and specifically with regard to training and subsequent employment of those within professional occupations. Theoretically, this thesis develops Turner’s thinking in relation to the three phases of separation, liminality and reincorporation and how they apply to the understanding of transition from training to employment. Turner’s phases appear to be incomplete for the understanding of the particular issues that individuals face in the forming of identity in late modern contexts. His thinking on separation and liminality adopt a more nuanced meaning in that the statuses are not as clearly defined as would be initially thought. Likewise, reincorporation is elusive, since Christian professional youth workers are suspended within a permanent state of liminality. This thesis redeems the notion of professionalism from a secular liberal ideal, allowing spirituality to flourish once again. A Christian professional can, and does, express an authentic sense of self within different discursive domains. The crossing of discursive boundaries allows for creativity and experimentation that enriches faith and professionalism. The two influence each other in productive ways. Professionalism as the profane becomes the sacred through the experiences of Christian professionals. Of course, professionalism becoming sacred is not the domain of the Christian only. This is pertinent for a person of any faith belonging to a professional occupation and seeking to express their faith through their work.
Supervisor: Bradford, S. Sponsor: Ridley Hall Theological College
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Performativity ; Liminality ; History of professionalization of Christian youth work ; Resistant identity ; Discourses of professional youth work and youth ministry