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Title: The rhythm of weaving : caring, feeling at home and keeping going in a church space
Author: Fisher, Jennifer
Awarding Body: Manchester Metropolitan University
Current Institution: Manchester Metropolitan University
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis explores women's experiences of social activities that are located in a church in an urban community with the aim of uncovering their social interactions. The three church-based activities are a group that meets to study the Bible, a playgroup and an older people's group. Through an embodied engagement with the material and sensory nature of the spaces, afforded by the rich and 'textualised' ethnography, I reveal that the everyday church based activities provided care, well-being and belonging for most of the women. Social interactions with others at similar life-stages or around mutual experiences led to generation of social capital. I argue that ordinary spaces within communities are hubs or third places that strengthen social capital for women who are caring for small children, or experiencing ageing. These spaces are produced by women, and afford informal care within women's everyday lives at different stages. Community activities and spaces have the potential to generate social support, well-being and belonging that are intangible and under-acknowledged by policy. These material and spatial resources are frequently hidden from general view yet are an intrinsic part of communities. Through the analysis of my empirical findings, I bring together the theoretical concepts of social support, well-being and belonging and situate them within the notion of space within communities. The research is located within a context of changing UK government policy. This study contributes to an emerging concern with civil society to recognise the hidden aspects of informal community participation that generate social capital, social support, well-being and belonging. The metaphor of weaving, predominantly a woman's occupation worldwide, is used as an organising framework throughout the thesis. I weave a reflexive approach through the thesis and locate myself as both participant and researcher, Situating my stories within
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available