Changing old habits? ‘New Age’ Catholicism, subjectivity and gender in BBC2’s The Monastery and its reception

Thomas, Lyn (2011) Changing old habits? ‘New Age’ Catholicism, subjectivity and gender in BBC2’s The Monastery and its reception. European Journal of Cultural Studies, 14 (5). pp. 558-572. ISSN 1367-5494

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Abstract

This article focuses on a recent BBC television programme, The Monastery, and its reception. The analysis demonstrates how religion becomes visible here through a hybrid televisual form merging ‘reality’ conventions with those of quality television. It argues that this ‘quality reality’ format both participates in, and nuances the making of class and gender in reality television. The analysis suggests that the religious culture represented here is also hybrid, combining elements of the alternative and subjectively focused spiritual practices researched by Heelas and Woodhead with Catholicism. The second part of the article discusses the responses to these representations of a small number of engaged viewers recruited at retreats at the filmed monastery, Worth Abbey in Sussex. It argues that the programme’s hybrid forms and representations, and particularly its representation of caring and spiritual masculinity, can explain its appeal to predominantly middle- class, white women viewers.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: audience, Catholicism, class, documentary, gender, New Age, quality television, reality television, religious television, spirituality on TV, subjectivization
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Film and Music > Media and Film
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology > HM0621 Culture
Depositing User: Lyn Thomas
Date Deposited: 18 Sep 2013 12:19
Last Modified: 10 Mar 2017 15:32
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/46334

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