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Title: Negotiating the flow : an ethnographic study of the way two URC congregations shape and are shaped by members
Author: Russell, Jean Marion
ISNI:       0000 0004 5363 1762
Awarding Body: University of Birmingham
Current Institution: University of Birmingham
Date of Award: 2015
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This study was conducted with two congregations from two different joining denominations within the United Reformed Church in two post-industrial towns. I spent two years with each congregation as a participant observer, taking part in congregational life and interviewing members for a total of four years. My interest is in the activity that members of these congregations undertake to sustain and change their congregation’s identity. What particularly interested me was how a Reformed cultural identity was sustained, as there is no central body preserving the tradition. In tackling these issues, I explore the interplay of identity with location, community and worship. The recurring tensions drew my attention to the ways identity is renegotiated, which I explore further by engaging with the dynamic metaphor of flow and turbulence. I formulate a concept of belonging by modifying Foucault’s understanding of technology. I go on to explore the way that this technology of belonging is a driver of members’ interaction with the congregational identity. I therefore argue that congregational identity is a recapitulatory process, which engages the members’ understanding of themselves as belonging to the congregation. In doing this I demonstrate the unsettled, contraplex nature of members’ engagement with the congregation’s identity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: B Philosophy (General) ; BX Christian Denominations ; GN Anthropology