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Title: Everyday mobilities, place and spirituality : constructing subjective spiritual geographies in contemporary Bristol, UK
Author: Wigley, Edward
ISNI:       0000 0004 5916 3795
Awarding Body: University of the West of England
Current Institution: University of the West of England, Bristol
Date of Award: 2016
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The New Mobilities Paradigm (Urry, 2007) and contemporary geographies understand places as sites of movement and flow that are dynamically related to other spaces (Massey, 1994). However religious places are traditionally treated as static or fixed entities and privilege institutional, rather than personal, spatialities of religion. As contemporary sociologies of religion (Heelas and Woodhead, 2005; Davie, 2006) recognise a shift from communal obligation models of social life to an emphasis on personal fulfilment and wellbeing, geographies of religion (Kong, 2010) have also addressed the individual’s spiritual practices and beliefs outside of the ‘official’ institutional spaces of religion. This research examined the interaction between everyday mobilities and personal spiritual practices of Baptist church and Buddhist meditation centre attendees using a mixed methods approach (participant-observation; questionnaires; diary-interviews) to evidence a variety of practices at home, work, recreation and the journeys made between such sites. Local and global flows of virtual, communicative and imagined mobilities in the churches and meditation centres were also identified. Participants were found to thread together a variety of sites on their everyday time-space paths into what I term ‘subjective spiritual geographies’ in which they could engage and maintain their spiritual practices and beliefs. Participants drew upon a wide range of materials and mobilities in both pre-planned ‘strategic’ and improvised ‘tactical’ sets of response to situations and in doing so created critical spaces of contemporary secular, mobilities infiltrated society. The thesis contributes to existing geographies of religion literature by evidencing the personal spiritual practices of the individual as well as local and global scales of religious places of congregation. It builds upon this literature by suggesting the implication of a range of mobilities is a key component in constructing places for spiritual practices and destabilises assumptions of the identity and distinction between ‘religious’ and ‘secular’ spaces.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: mobilities ; spirituality ; religion ; religious practice ; personal religion ; meditation ; prayer ; place