A place for religion: a geographical perspective on young Muslims' experiences, changing religious identities, and wellbeing

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This PhD research focuses on young people’s religious identities and wellbeing in contemporary western and predominantly secular societies. Specifically, I examined how young Muslims experience and navigate their religious identities and beliefs while growing up in a Muslim minority context. In so doing, I depart from a geographic perspective. The main purpose is to explain the role of places in how young Muslims navigate their religious identities and beliefs while moving from youth to young adulthood, and to explore how these processes relate to wellbeing. The experiences and perceptions of a diverse group of young Muslims are centralised by focusing on how they 'live' religion, perceive their changing religious identities and beliefs, and if and how the spatial context mattered in that regard. A qualitative research approach is adopted, and fieldwork took place in three different research urban contexts: Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, Vancouver, Canada, and Groningen, The Netherlands. In-depth interviews and map-making techniques were used to collect data. This led to rich data enveloping diverse individual narratives which included the spatiotemporal complexities of identity, belonging, lived religion, and wellbeing. The chapters of this thesis provided empirical, theoretical, and methodological insights that contributed to the main purpose of this thesis. One of the claims is that in order to become more inclusive towards Muslims, it is essential to create places for religion in the public domains of western and predominantly secular societies. Places for religion does not refer to designated ‘religious’ or ‘sacred’ places.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Groningen
  • Bock, Bettina, Supervisor
  • van Hoven, Bettina, Supervisor
Award date11-Nov-2021
Place of Publication[Groningen]
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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