Popular music, the Christian story, and the quest for ontological security

Gillard, David and Partridge, Christopher (2020) Popular music, the Christian story, and the quest for ontological security. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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The crisis of socialisation into Christian belief is, in part, evidence of Western secularisation. Added to this, there is evidence of significant existential restlessness. Moreover, many individuals feel alienated from the Church, which has been the historic Western provider of a discourse offering ontological security. Such restlessness finds emotional expression within a popular music culture that frequently interrogates Christian belief. It is argued here that not only is there a hegemonic resistance to Christian discourse, but that the Church inadvertently colludes with these forces, favouring its historic, rationalistic methods of evangelism, the effectiveness of which is now limited. This thesis offers a model to redress aspects of this disconnect, arguing for the significance of affective spaces within which spiritual reflection is encouraged. Using Zygmunt Bauman’s sociology of liquid modernity the thesis considers the fluid nature of Western society. In particular, it explores the ways in which popular music articulates core themes in a society in which individuals are effectively bricoleurs, drawing from popular culture in order to tactically resist hegemony. Central to the discussion is the idea that humans are ‘hard wired’ to develop a sense of self in a proto-musical manner. Drawing on these ideas, the thesis examines popular music as an ‘asylum’ and as a ‘prosthetic technology,’ stimulating meaning-making affective spaces. By using creative space for spiritual reflection, it is argued that the Church can encourage “affective-reflective dialogue” to help individuals listen to the Christian discourse in liquid modernity.

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Thesis (PhD)
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?? religious studies ??
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Deposited On:
18 Feb 2020 09:25
Last Modified:
15 Jan 2024 00:01