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Roles and identities of the Anglican chaplain: a prison ethnography

Phillips, Peter 2013. Roles and identities of the Anglican chaplain: a prison ethnography. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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In this ethnography, writing as both practitioner and researcher, I represent and analyse the opinions and reflections of Anglican chaplains in English and Welsh prisons in order to locate their self - perception of role and identity. The Anglican chaplain has been a statutory appointment in every prison since 1779 and was a central figure in penal practice throughout the first half of the 19th century. Several chaplains wrote at length about their ministry and its significance; this conscious utterance in the public domain dwindled sharply from the 1860s onwards. My research presents current chaplains’ perspectives on their role and identity, configured by a social context which is perceived to be secular and in which other world faiths have a strong presence. Four main areas of focus emerge from the data: working with prisoners, working with staff, the apparently contradictory, ritual nature of secular and religious engagement, and issues of gendered interaction. These data are contextualised by respondents’ perceptions of prisons as parishes, the construction of Anglican chaplains’ identity by events within and outwith prisons and churches, and perceived relations with the Church of England and the Church in Wales. Having recognised other models of prison ministry, the thesis ends by identifying modes of potential, structured cooperation between church and chaplaincy. The epistemological con text derives from Goffman’s theory of total institutions but recognises subsequent reinterpretations of his work. The methodological reference points are Turner’s theory of liminality, Bell’s theory of ritual - like activities and Foucault’s heterotopia of deviance. The thesis offers a perspective on a traditional public form of ministry, that of the chaplains themselves, unexplored and not analysed for over a century. It is submitted as a further development in the growing discourse around practical theology and religious ministry in prisons.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BV Practical Theology
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 06:25

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