Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Searching for signs of the postsecular : an ethnographic study of Catholic faith-based organisations in England
Author: Marra, Alexander Michael
ISNI:       0000 0004 5919 7338
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2015
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
The term 'postsecular' has increasingly been used to describe the post-9-11 West. However, much postsecular discourse only concerns abstract political theory (postsecularism). Empirical research testing postsecularisation-which, significantly, is almost never mentioned, is 'lacking' (Leezenberg, 2010: 111), or at the very least, 'underdeveloped' (Beckford, 2012). This study provides a bridge for the empirical and theoretical literatures. Is postsecularism just a normative ideology (like secularism before it) or does it coincide with a process-postsecularisation? Is 'postsecularity' a useful term for contemporary postmodern society? The possibilities for a postsecular religion in a postsecular public sphere-as manifested in politically-active, Catholic Faith-Based Organisations (FBOs)-are explored through an ethnographic approach, incorporating participant observation, in-depth semistructured interviews, and document analysis. This thesis contributes to the small but growing body of research on FBOs and can be divided into two main areas: At the individual level of analysis, the idea of a 'postsecular spirituality' is investigated-what kind of religion (if any) do members of our FBO case studies practice? At the organisation and structural level, what kind of relationship do these FBOs have with each other, with secular NGOs and with the government? Findings point towards a picture of contemporary spirituality within 'Catholic' FBOs as individualised, fragmented, and exploratory in nature. Furthermore, FBOs not only provide a space for non-traditional spirituality, but are taking on characteristics of 'new religious movements' or even religious orders, producing their own rituals, devotions and theologies. At the organisational and structural level, boundaries between sacred and secular, and indeed between governmental and non-governmental become 'blurred' (c.f. Baker, 2006). Much of this is possible because of a 'postsecular pragmatism' that is indicative of a period of transition. In this light, it may be that we have entered not a 'Post-secular Age' so much as a 'trans-secular' one.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available