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Title: Taizé : a case study
Author: Casti, Manuela
ISNI:       0000 0004 5921 3203
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2016
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Pilgrimages to the Taizé Community are regularly organised by Church of England institutions as a means of aggregating and retaining young people. Every summer hundreds of youth and their leaders travel to France where this ecumenical monastic community enacts its prophetic parable of reconciliation. While the Community’s ministry to young people is designed as an instrument of its ecumenical mission, the research postulates that youth pilgrimages to Taizé are instead an arena of divergent and often competing theological interpretations; more specifically, that youth appropriate their pilgrimage experience as a vessel for spiritual and existential explorations expressing a holistic, experiential and subject-focused orientation. This represents a clear departure from the implicitly dualistic, ascetic theology developed by the Community and mediated by its practical expressions. Using Swinton and Mowat’s practical theological methodology as a framework, the study employs qualitative research methods within a case-study approach, involving participant observation and semi-structured interviews with two Anglican-sponsored youth groups. The empirical findings are subsequently analysed through the lens of pilgrimage studies. The results confirm the initial hypothesis. Pilgrimages to Taizé create a liminal space where youth participate in an anti-structural performance designed to involve them as partners in an ecumenical undertaking. However, rather than interpreting their experience in light of the Community’s theology, participants utilise pilgrimage as an embodied vehicle for self-expressive journeys aimed at re-appropriating life as a meaningful personal narrative. Taizé provides a spiritually oriented environment and a warehouse of resources that allows participants to practice a sapiential hermeneutics of everyday existence.
Supervisor: Ward, Peter ; Barnes, Laurence Philip Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available