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Religion-related discourse: a critical approach to non-religion in Edinburgh's Southside

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Religion-related discourse : a critical approach to non-religion in Edinburgh's Southside. / Cotter, Christopher.

Lancaster University, 2016. 305 p.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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@phdthesis{4f78134cbcb44b2ba6bf82428e03229b,
title = "Religion-related discourse: a critical approach to non-religion in Edinburgh's Southside",
abstract = "This thesis has been undertaken to critically engage with, reframe and rehabilitate a burgeoning body of contemporary research on {\textquoteleft}non-religion{\textquoteright} within the critical academic study of {\textquoteleft}religion{\textquoteright}, and to explore the benefits of such a reframing for empirical research. I begin by critically introducing research on {\textquoteleft}non-religion{\textquoteright} and identifying a number of key problems which directly relate to ever-raging debates surrounding the definition of {\textquoteleft}religion{\textquoteright}. I then justify my chosen approach—discourse analysis—and provide a discursive re-reading of studies of {\textquoteleft}non-religion{\textquoteright}, arguing that it should be approached as part of a {\textquoteleft}religion-related field{\textquoteright}, before outlining the theoretical questions addressed in the thesis. I argue for locality as a productive means through which to examine religion-related discourse, justify the selection of Edinburgh{\textquoteright}s Southside as my field site, and introduce my data sources and the specifics of my analytical approach. Chapter 4 presents my analysis of the Peoples of Edinburgh Project (PEP), conducted in the mid-1990s, while Chapters 5–7 present the analysis of my own empirical work in the contemporary Southside, and place this into conversation with the PEP. In these chapters I demonstrate that the religion-related field is entangled with a variety of powerful discourses that are inflected by the Southside{\textquoteright}s local and national particularity. I also demonstrate the importance of looking beyond the supposed {\textquoteleft}religious{\textquoteright} or {\textquoteleft}non-religious{\textquoteright} character of discourses, in order to assess the underlying structures and entanglements, and to avoid unjustifiably reifying the religion-related field. In some cases the {\textquoteleft}non-religious{\textquoteright} is implicit in the subject position of actors utilizing religion-related discourse. It also appears that being positioned as {\textquoteleft}religious{\textquoteright} or {\textquoteleft}non-religious{\textquoteright} means more in certain circumstances than in others. Furthermore, I reflect on the notion of religious {\textquoteleft}indifference{\textquoteright}, arguing that, in some instances, the performance of indifference is a tactic for coping with contextually meaningful difference. ",
keywords = "Religious Studies, discourse analysis, non-religion, religious indifference, atheism, Edinburgh, locality",
author = "Christopher Cotter",
year = "2016",
language = "English",
publisher = "Lancaster University",
school = "Lancaster University",

}

RIS

TY - THES

T1 - Religion-related discourse

T2 - a critical approach to non-religion in Edinburgh's Southside

AU - Cotter, Christopher

PY - 2016

Y1 - 2016

N2 - This thesis has been undertaken to critically engage with, reframe and rehabilitate a burgeoning body of contemporary research on ‘non-religion’ within the critical academic study of ‘religion’, and to explore the benefits of such a reframing for empirical research. I begin by critically introducing research on ‘non-religion’ and identifying a number of key problems which directly relate to ever-raging debates surrounding the definition of ‘religion’. I then justify my chosen approach—discourse analysis—and provide a discursive re-reading of studies of ‘non-religion’, arguing that it should be approached as part of a ‘religion-related field’, before outlining the theoretical questions addressed in the thesis. I argue for locality as a productive means through which to examine religion-related discourse, justify the selection of Edinburgh’s Southside as my field site, and introduce my data sources and the specifics of my analytical approach. Chapter 4 presents my analysis of the Peoples of Edinburgh Project (PEP), conducted in the mid-1990s, while Chapters 5–7 present the analysis of my own empirical work in the contemporary Southside, and place this into conversation with the PEP. In these chapters I demonstrate that the religion-related field is entangled with a variety of powerful discourses that are inflected by the Southside’s local and national particularity. I also demonstrate the importance of looking beyond the supposed ‘religious’ or ‘non-religious’ character of discourses, in order to assess the underlying structures and entanglements, and to avoid unjustifiably reifying the religion-related field. In some cases the ‘non-religious’ is implicit in the subject position of actors utilizing religion-related discourse. It also appears that being positioned as ‘religious’ or ‘non-religious’ means more in certain circumstances than in others. Furthermore, I reflect on the notion of religious ‘indifference’, arguing that, in some instances, the performance of indifference is a tactic for coping with contextually meaningful difference.

AB - This thesis has been undertaken to critically engage with, reframe and rehabilitate a burgeoning body of contemporary research on ‘non-religion’ within the critical academic study of ‘religion’, and to explore the benefits of such a reframing for empirical research. I begin by critically introducing research on ‘non-religion’ and identifying a number of key problems which directly relate to ever-raging debates surrounding the definition of ‘religion’. I then justify my chosen approach—discourse analysis—and provide a discursive re-reading of studies of ‘non-religion’, arguing that it should be approached as part of a ‘religion-related field’, before outlining the theoretical questions addressed in the thesis. I argue for locality as a productive means through which to examine religion-related discourse, justify the selection of Edinburgh’s Southside as my field site, and introduce my data sources and the specifics of my analytical approach. Chapter 4 presents my analysis of the Peoples of Edinburgh Project (PEP), conducted in the mid-1990s, while Chapters 5–7 present the analysis of my own empirical work in the contemporary Southside, and place this into conversation with the PEP. In these chapters I demonstrate that the religion-related field is entangled with a variety of powerful discourses that are inflected by the Southside’s local and national particularity. I also demonstrate the importance of looking beyond the supposed ‘religious’ or ‘non-religious’ character of discourses, in order to assess the underlying structures and entanglements, and to avoid unjustifiably reifying the religion-related field. In some cases the ‘non-religious’ is implicit in the subject position of actors utilizing religion-related discourse. It also appears that being positioned as ‘religious’ or ‘non-religious’ means more in certain circumstances than in others. Furthermore, I reflect on the notion of religious ‘indifference’, arguing that, in some instances, the performance of indifference is a tactic for coping with contextually meaningful difference.

KW - Religious Studies

KW - discourse analysis

KW - non-religion

KW - religious indifference

KW - atheism

KW - Edinburgh

KW - locality

M3 - Doctoral Thesis

PB - Lancaster University

ER -