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Title: Online meditations : an autoethnographic study of spiritual tourism in the liquid internet age
Author: Frost, Madeleine G. B.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2737 6040
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2010
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In 1912 Émile Durkheim asserted that the “cult” of religion “periodically recreates itself” (Durkheim, 1912, p. 312) by which he meant that the way humanity expresses its religions evolves as the world does, in order that they may continue to be relevant. A century later, in a period which is significantly influenced by the advent of technologies such as the internet, and which has been characterised by Zygmunt Bauman as “liquid modernity” (2000), it is perhaps not surprising that we might question how religious beliefs and practices may manifest themselves in contemporary social life. This thesis is an autoethnographic study which compares online and offline expressions of spirituality in order to question whether the ‘liquid internet age’ – an age of impermanence and individualisation - influences the way that we engage with religion and spirituality through the emergence of spiritual tourism; and whether the internet can truly offer us a viable and authentic environment in which to explore and express our spirituality. Given that autoethnography is still an emerging methodology, it also questions what the pros and cons of using autoethnography to explore online/offline spiritual tourism are. Ultimately, this thesis concludes that the emergence of a liquid society provides the social conditions fostering the need for greater self-creation of identity - including spiritual identity; and that the liquid internet age is facilitating a period in which the “cult” of religion is indeed recreating itself by encouraging the emergence of spiritual tourism. It also concludes that autoethnography is an effective methodology for the study of spiritual tourism, and aims to prove this point by finishing with a creative interpretation of the findings which will – it is hoped - expose them more fully and stimulate thought and questions about the issues at hand in the mind of the reader.
Supervisor: Loader, Brian Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available