Holy ground: the impacts of place belonging, community, and boundary work

Riche, Jacob (2022) Holy ground: the impacts of place belonging, community, and boundary work. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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In St. John’s, Newfoundland, the Christian church has shaped cultural history since before the province joined Confederation in the 1940s. One church in the St. John’s region that has navigated the shifting cultural climate throughout the province's history with organized religion is The Salvation Army St. John’s Temple. With plenty of current members claiming multiple generations of attendance to the church, the complex array of social and historical influences on these members has profound impacts on their perceptions of belonging, community, and their creating an understanding of place within a religious community. Through 16 in-depth, semi-structured interviews, I create a framework to demonstrate how my participants create and maintain community, as well as the boundaries that delineate inside/outside membership. My analysis reveals a generational discrepancy in the attitudes relating to the use of boundary work to delineate membership of the church. My participants indicated a range of emotions towards the church’s use of boundary work, primarily expressed through feelings of anger, resentment, and lost hope amongst the younger participants. Complex boundary work exists within the congregation itself, as well as outside of the congregation and the surrounding community memberships that participants maintain. My participants also reflect on the impacts of the current COVID-19 pandemic on religious life, involving both the restriction of in-person gatherings on their personal faith, as well as the structural concerns that have been highlighted during the unprecedented experience of the pandemic.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/15359
Item ID: 15359
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 160-168).
Keywords: symbolic interaction, qualitative methods, community, belonging, space/place
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Sociology
Date: January 2022
Date Type: Submission
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): https://doi.org/10.48336/JMHX-0Y50
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Symbolic interactionism; Qualitative research--Newfoundland and Labrador--St. John’s; Communities--Newfoundland and Labrador--St. John’s; Belonging (Social psychology)--Newfoundland and Labrador--St. John’s; Salvation Army (Canada). St. John’s Temple Corps; COVID-19 (Disease)--Newfoundland and Labrador--St. John’s.

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