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'There's just no space for me there': Christian feminists in the UK and the performance of space and religion

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Giselle Vincett


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© 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. All rights reserved. Butler (Gender trouble and the subversion of identity. Routledge, New York, 1990) has famously argued that gender is performed and that being female is a socially constructed and constantly negotiated identity. Knott (The location of religion: a spatial analysis. Equinox, London, 2005a; Spatial theory and method for the study of religion. Temenos 41(2):153-184, 2005b) similarly argues that space is socially and dynamically constructed. With Thomas Tweed (2006), I argue in this chapter that religions are also socially constructed, dynamic 'sacroscapes' (61). In the margins of these intersecting social constructions, other, non-normative, identities may be performed which challenge and sometimes deconstruct the centre. I examine how one non-normative identity group, Christian feminists, negotiate, subvert and reconstruct gender, feminism and religion in (and out) of the space(s) of UK liberal Christianity. This negotiation and performance is complexified by their belief in the location of the divine within the 'church' as both built environments and broader institutions. Christian feminists thus highlight the politics of the construction of the sacred, gender and place. Although they may be marginal in the churches, they are indicative of larger social trends (including secular feminism) which Brown (The death of Christian Britain. Routledge, London, 2001) and others argue are central to the fate of the churches in the West. Methodologically, this chapter points to the recent ways human geography and spatial theory is shaping other social science disciplines, notably sociology of religion.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Vincett G

Publication type: Book Chapter

Publication status: Published

Book Title: Religion and Place: Landscape, Politics and Piety

Year: 2013

Pages: 167-184

Online publication date: 02/08/2012

Publisher: Springer Netherlands

Place Published: Dordrecht, Netherlands


DOI: 10.1007/978-94-007-4685-5_10

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9789400746855