Gender, faith, and storytelling: an ethnography of the charismatic Internet

Stewart, Anna Rose (2013) Gender, faith, and storytelling: an ethnography of the charismatic Internet. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

Although early predictions that an emerging ‘cyberspace’ could exist in separation from
offline life have been largely discarded, anthropological studies of the internet have
continued to find notions of ‘virtual reality’ relevant as individuals use these
technologies to fulfil the “pledges they have already made” (Boellstorff, 2008; Miller &
Slater, 2001: 19) about their own selfhood and their place in the world. There are
parallels between this concept of ‘virtual reality’ and the on-going spiritual labour of
Charismatic Christians in the UK, who seek in the context of a secularising nation to
maintain a sense of presence in the “coming Kingdom” of God. The everyday
production of this expanded spiritual context depends to a large extend on verbal genres
that are highly gendered. For women, declarations of faith are often tied to domestic
settings, personal narratives, and the unspoken testimony of daily life (e.g. Lawless,
1988; Griffith, 1997). The technologies of the internet, whose emerging genres
challenge boundaries between personal and social, public and private, can cast a greater
illumination on this inward-focused labour. This doctoral thesis is based on
ethnographic research in four Charismatic Evangelical congregations and examination
of the online practices of churchgoers. I have found that the use of the internet by
Charismatic Christian women fits with wider religious preoccupations and patterns of
ritual practice. Words posted through Facebook, blogs, Twitter, and other online
platforms come to resemble in their form as well as their content Christian narratives of
a life with meaning.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Anthropology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BX Christian Denominations > BX4800 Protestantism > BX8762 Pentecostal churches
T Technology > TK Electrical engineering. Electronics Nuclear engineering > TK5101 Telecommunication Including telegraphy, telephone, radio, radar, television > TK5105.5 Computer networks. General works
Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > ZA Information resources > ZA4050 Electronic information resources
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 24 Jun 2013 09:47
Last Modified: 10 Sep 2015 15:14
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/45226

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