Quakers in the contemporary workplace: a critical analysis

Read, Mark John (2017). Quakers in the contemporary workplace: a critical analysis. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This thesis contends that contemporary work processes shape fundamentally Quaker practice in the everyday context. This qualitative research is based on semi-structured interviews of opportunistically acquired participants. It is therefore an in-depth, if not statistically representative, study of the contemporary Quaker tradition.
Participants in the research are overwhelmingly adult converts who frame conversion to the Quaker church in liberating terms. The interviewees depict the prescription of religion by mainstream Christian churches as oppressing the individual religious enterprise. Rather, Quakers in the research tend to see their religious journey as a primarily individual project which is affirmed by their conversion to the church. Tensions are also evidenced, however, between affiliates’ highly individualised re-imagination of the Quaker tradition and conformity to the collective concern.
The interviewees claim an intention to improve the world, matching Quaker horizons with those espoused by their work organisations. Lived religion and work are thus conflated by affiliates with regard to their everyday social practice. Workaday tensions, however, show that the claimed utopian compact between affiliates and the work setting is provisional. The thesis concludes that, whilst the contemporary work organisation sets out the terms of affiliates’ social practice, these Quakers tend towards pragmatism in the everyday.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of Philosophy, Theology and Religion, Department of Theology and Religion
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BX Christian Denominations
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/7546


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