Grounding Theology in quotidian experiences of complex gender: a feminist approach

Barnsley, Jennie (2013). Grounding Theology in quotidian experiences of complex gender: a feminist approach. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

PDF - Accepted Version

Download (1MB)


This thesis argues that theorising about the phantasmatic nature of binary gender, by commentators such as Judith Butler, provides fruitful openings for the formation of new metaphorical models for Divine-human relationship. I am concerned with what it means, at the level of each specific human life, to be imago Dei, particularly as this relates to genders that are ambiguous, fluid or otherwise complex. Expanding the feminist theological rubric of ‘experience‘ to include the individual and the quotidian, I apply the qualitative research method of grounded theory to data gathered from transgendered people, to develop a methodology of silent waiting: Grounded Theology. I analyse the experiences of each of three narrators as imago Dei, and generate three metaphors with which to discuss the nature of both genderedness and the Divine: Thinness, or numinous insubstantiality; Proteanism, or ceaseless mutability; and Opacity, or transcendent unknowability. I contend that a renunciation of attachment to binary gender is necessary for the establishment of justice for those rendered unintelligible by binary norms. I conclude that theologies that draw metaphorical models, whether androcentric or gynocentric, from binary gender alone are not wholly adequate either as descriptions of human gendered experiences or as satisfactory signposts to the Divine.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: Department of Theology and Religion
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion


Request a Correction Request a Correction
View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year