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Title: 'Soulriding' and the spirituality of snowboarding
Author: Elliot, Neil Robert Minto
Awarding Body: Kingston University
Current Institution: Kingston University
Date of Award: 2010
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This research has its genesis in the discovery of a term "soulriding" in the vocabulary of snowboarding. The discovery invited the question at the heart of the research, "What is spiritual about snowboarding?" The nature of spirituality is widely contested, and understandings of spirituality are confused, in a range of academic disciplines and particularly within the sociology of religion. In other academic disciplines the understandings focus on either experience or identity as the primary spiritual element. Sociological understandings of religion have examined both experience and identity but have overlooked the significance of context. This research proposes a new model of spirituality which mediates between structural and individual aspects of spirituality with two points of reference: dimension and frame. Firstly the model identifies experience, identity and context as three dimensions of spirituality. Secondly the model locates spirituality in the frame, or subjective reality, with which the individual perceives their experiences, themselves, and their environment. This model provides clarity to the discourse about spirituality without excluding understandings. The research is theorised both within sociological understandings of spirituality and within the field of social constructionism. The model was explored through an investigation of the term 'soulriding' within snowboarding. This provided a field which is often understood as spiritual by the participants, but in which the nature of that spirituality is not clear or overtly constructed. Within the sport of snowboarding ten elements were derived, which reflect the three dimensions of context, experience and identity, and which had the potential to be framed as spiritual. Semi-structured interviews with thirty-three snowboarders from the UK and Canada examined the significance of these elements alongside understandings of 'spirituality' and 'soulriding'. The research demonstrated that the model was effective in understanding the nature of spirituality within snowboarding, and has the potential to be used in a variety of other areas.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Sociology ; Theology, divinity and religious studies