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Spiritual landscapes of Pentecostal worship, belief, and embodiment in a therapeutic community: new critical perspectives

Williams, Andrew ORCID: 2016. Spiritual landscapes of Pentecostal worship, belief, and embodiment in a therapeutic community: new critical perspectives. Emotion, Space and Society 19 , pp. 45-55. 10.1016/j.emospa.2015.12.001

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This paper offers new theoretical and empirical insights into the emotional and spiritual geographies of religion in therapeutic landscapes designated for marginal and vulnerable populations. Drawing on original empirical work conducted in a Pentecostal Christian therapeutic community in the UK working in the area of addiction and rehabilitation, this paper investigates the spiritual landscapes of Pentecostal worship, and considers the emotional, spiritual and therapeutic sensibilities residents attach to, and experience during, practices of worship and prayer. By examining the complex intersections between belief, embodiment and performativity of religious practice, I illustrate how the distinct patterning of worship space can differently open out, and close down, capacities and affective atmospheres of the divine. Attention is given to the different ways in which the residents experienced this worship space, and the extent to which their presence therein created a range of therapeutic – and anti-therapeutic – experiences. Drawing on these narratives, this paper argues how the contingent configuration of care/control might be seen as both constraining and empowering for residents, underlining the importance for geographers of religion to ground conceptualisations of the staging and performance of spiritual landscapes in the divergent sensibilities and ethics of engagement individuals bring to these sites.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Uncontrolled Keywords: Spiritual landscapes; Belief; Embodiment; Pentecostalism; Worship; Ethnography
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 1755-4586
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Date of Acceptance: 17 December 2015
Last Modified: 05 May 2023 07:23

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