Finlayson C C, 2012, "Spaces of faith: incorporating emotion and spirituality in geographic studies" Environment and Planning A 44(7) 1763 – 1778
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Spaces of faith: incorporating emotion and spirituality in geographic studies
Caitlin Cihak Finlayson
Abstract. Religious experience is highly personal and is often comprised of affectual
encounters and emotional responses, both within personal space and through ordained
sacred spaces. Expanding on recent geographical research, with the aid of semistructured
interviews, this paper explores how personal affect and emotion are experienced by members
from two houses of worship. The responses highlight the transformative nature of sacred
space and its unique capacity to elicit emotional experiences from participants. Further, this
study demonstrates that there is a commonality to spiritual experiences, such as a feeling
of peace or a sense of being ‘home’, that cuts across denominational lines, and that these
experiences are often spatially grounded.
Keywords: emotional geography, affectual geography, geography of religion, nonrepresentational theory, affect, spirituality
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