Redefining Belonging: The Boundaries of Religious Identity in Institutions and Everyday Life
1 online resource (72 pages) : PDF
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
ABSTRACTThis study examines how religious identity and boundaries are constructed at three separate levels: the institutional, the local, and the individual. Using the case of Forest Hill Apostolic Church, I analyze the relationships between these three levels by examining data collected from denominational documents, participant observation at church services and activities, and semi-structured interviews with congregation members. Analysis suggests that while there are patterned similarities between levels there is also significant variation. Discourse at the local and individual levels blurs the definitions and boundaries of Apostolic identity set by the institutional church. The analysis reveals what I term self-reflective boundary work, or reminders not to think of oneself or community as superior to others, as an important component of this process. In addition, respondents suggest that there are significant differences in how local churches define identity and boundaries over space and time. This lends support to prior research that suggests boundary work is context dependent as well as work on religious identity that suggests that local congregations are influential in the construction of religious identity.
IdentityReligionSocial BoundariesSymbolic Boundaries
Walker, LisaSchmutz, Vaughn
Thesis (M.A.)--University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 2017.
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