Using time-space diaries and interviews to research spiritualities in an ‘everyday' context
Oxford University Press (OUP)
Reason for embargo
This is the author accepted manuscript. It is currently under an indefinite embargo pending publication by OUP. 24-month embargo to be applied on publication
The project upon which this chapter is based brings together three researchers who share a current interest in ‘subjective-life spiritualities’, in particular practices such as yoga and meditation which cannot be easily distinguished from contemporary health and wellbeing practices. Chris Philo has a range of established academic interests spanning the history, theory and practice of human geography. Key to the research presented below is his long standing work on mental ill health and health care, Foucauldian studies and the historiography and theoretical development of the discipline. Jennifer Lea was awarded her PhD in 2006. Her doctoral and subsequent postdoctoral work has centred on the body and embodiment, particularly in relation to producing, consuming and experiencing ‘health’. Empirically she has focussed on yoga and therapeutic massage, and her research into the former helped to form the basis of the research project which we discuss here. Louisa Cadman was also awarded her PhD in 2006 and has worked within the field of Foucauldian and poststructural geographies, with a particular interest in questions of power and resistance in relation to health care and mental health. As relative newcomers to the fields of spirituality and religion we wondered what contribution our respective interests in health, the body and innovative theory and methods in human geography might bring to discussions of ‘subjective-life spiritualities’. This culminated in a research project funded by the AHRC/ESRC Religion and Society research programme which looked at everyday spiritual practices in an urban context. Below we focus on the use of participant time-space diaries and in-depth interviews as an effective way to research the lived experiences of spirituality and religion, including how spirituality is infused with the slipperiness of human subjectivity, emotion and embodiment.
This project was supported by the Religion & Society Research Programme (<www.religionandsociety.org.uk> award number AH/H009108/1) of the ESRC (Economic & Social Science Research Council) and AHRC (Arts & Humanities Research Council). We would very much like to thank all the diarists who took part in the research.
In: How to Research Religion: Putting Methods into Practice. Edited by L. Woodhead