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Changing identities as we cross the borderlands: Communicatively negotiating life course transitions with spirit (work in progress)
Unformatted Document Text:  ICA-12-10652 4 institutional beliefs and practices. Their findings were that “religiousness was found to be associated with higher levels of authoritarianism, religious orthodoxy, intrinsic religiousness, parental religious attendance, self-righteousness, and church attendance” while “spirituality was associated with a different set of variables: mystical experiences, New Age beliefs and practices, higher income, and the experience of being hurt by the clergy” (text retrieval p. 7). However, they also emphasize that it is difficult to compare groups or individuals because it is difficult to account for what each means. “The findings of this study illustrate the necessity for researchers to recognize the many different meanings attributed to religiousness and spirituality by different religious and cultural groups, and the different ways in which these groups consider themselves religious and/or spiritual…no single perspective on religion dominates post-modern culture, but rather multiple perspectives exist simultaneously” (text retrieval p. 8). For our purposes in this research project, then, we will assume that spirituality is a dimension of human experience (Helminiak, 1996), and spiritual identity as something constructed by an individual woman, intrapersonally and socially. We assume that many of the women we interview will have come into contact with organized religion and/or a faith tradition at some point in their lives, and, indeed, may make it a part of their spiritual identity. However, we wish to privilege each woman’s construction of an identity as well as her meaning for “spirituality,” and thus will not try to categorize her experience a priori as “religious.” It seems to us that one aspect of spiritual identity is who we are in community, i.e. identity has to do with a negotiation between who we are as we experience ourselves and who we are in the company of others. Thus, our spiritual identity, in part, has to do with our

Authors: Clark, Kathleen. and Hill, Patricia.
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ICA-12-10652
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institutional beliefs and practices. Their findings were that “religiousness was found to be
associated with higher levels of authoritarianism, religious orthodoxy, intrinsic religiousness,
parental religious attendance, self-righteousness, and church attendance” while “spirituality
was associated with a different set of variables: mystical experiences, New Age beliefs and
practices, higher income, and the experience of being hurt by the clergy” (text retrieval p. 7).
However, they also emphasize that it is difficult to compare groups or individuals because it
is difficult to account for what each means. “The findings of this study illustrate the
necessity for researchers to recognize the many different meanings attributed to religiousness
and spirituality by different religious and cultural groups, and the different ways in which
these groups consider themselves religious and/or spiritual…no single perspective on religion
dominates post-modern culture, but rather multiple perspectives exist simultaneously” (text
retrieval p. 8).
For our purposes in this research project, then, we will assume that spirituality is a
dimension of human experience (Helminiak, 1996), and spiritual identity as something
constructed by an individual woman, intrapersonally and socially. We assume that many of
the women we interview will have come into contact with organized religion and/or a faith
tradition at some point in their lives, and, indeed, may make it a part of their spiritual
identity. However, we wish to privilege each woman’s construction of an identity as well as
her meaning for “spirituality,” and thus will not try to categorize her experience a priori as
“religious.”
It seems to us that one aspect of spiritual identity is who we are in community, i.e.
identity has to do with a negotiation between who we are as we experience ourselves and
who we are in the company of others. Thus, our spiritual identity, in part, has to do with our


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