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Title: Perceptions of Catholicity in a plural society : an ethnographic case study of Catholic secondary schools in England
Author: Casson, Ann Elizabeth
ISNI:       0000 0004 2705 9686
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2010
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This is an ethnographic study of a small sample of Catholic secondary schools in England evaluating their role within the Catholic faith tradition and their contribution to community cohesion. The research is firmly based within an ethnographic framework; it explores the perception of Catholic schools by members, in particular the young people, of the Catholic school community. The ethnographic data was collected through semi-structured focus group interviews and observations. The understanding of religion is developed from the work of Hervieu-Léger on religion as a chain of memory. The concept of social capital in the form of bonding and bridging, and both religious and spiritual capital provides a framework to understand the factors within Catholic schools, which are perceived to create a Catholic community and those which are perceived to develop or hinder cohesion in plural society. The students’ understandings of their Catholic identity were diverse and fragmentary, with precarious links to the Catholic Church as an institution. However, there was a valuing of aspects of the Catholic faith tradition which were used to construct their own understanding of Catholicism, leading to a conclusion that the Catholic school is a source of spiritual capital for its members. The participants perceived their schools to have a Catholic nature, a strong ‘sense of community’. The Catholic schools were good generators of bonding capital, although this was focused on the school rather than the wider Catholic community. Perceptions of the boundaries of the school focused on everyday encounters with outsiders such as ‘the school next door’ rather than members of other faith communities. This research has implications: for the faith school debate and issues concerning social cohesion; for the Catholic school’s role in the transmission of the faith tradition and for an understanding of young people’s Catholic identity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Great Britain. Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BR Christianity ; LC Special aspects of education