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Ramadan in the UK: A month of ambiguity

Jones, Laura 2022. Ramadan in the UK: A month of ambiguity. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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This thesis provides an empirical account of Ramadan in 2020 expressed through solicited photo diaries and semi-structured interviews from Muslim participants across the UK. It argues that Ramadan can be conceived as a ‘month of ambiguity’ following Bauer’s (2021) theory of “cultural ambiguity”. I present three main findings chapters, the first focused on worship and spirituality, the second on sacredness and the third on food. I demonstrate how perceptions towards the individual/communal elements of worship, understandings of sacredness, and attitudes and practices related to food during the month can all be conceived in terms of paradoxes and ambiguities. Regarding the contribution of my research, my findings complicate Bauer’s (2021) key argument that a “tolerance” of ambiguity is diminishing in Muslim societies today due to the detrimental impact of modern, Western ideas. Rather, my research demonstrates how ambiguous ideas and practices seem to have been maintained from early expressions of Islam. My focus on ‘everyday’ religion illuminates discussions about Islam in the modern world providing insights which might be missed when exploring Islam from more textual and discursive perspectives like Bauer. Secondly, my innovative and flexible methods help give agency to participants and are especially useful in addressing power imbalances within the research process and in wider society. Finally, this project is one of the few sociological, in-depth studies of Ramadan, particularly in the UK. Since Ramadan is such an important occasion in the Islamic calendar, this thesis provides a starting point for others who wish to explore Muslim perspectives on ritual, fasting and sacredness as well as providing an insight into the lived religion of Muslims in Britain.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BP Islam. Bahaism. Theosophy, etc
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Funders: Jameel PhD Scholarship
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 3 February 2023
Date of Acceptance: 30 January 2023
Last Modified: 03 Feb 2024 02:30

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