• The relationship between the living and the dead - Contemporary interaction and deposition at mortuary sites as Intangible Cultural Heritage? How this illustrates collective memories and identities in North Wales

      Williams, Howard; Capper, Morn; Bound, Scott L. (University of Chester, 2018-10-10)
      The way in which the living interact with the past in the contemporary is ever-changing. New mortuary practices and forms of commemoration are formed by different groups and cultures, expressing the way in which they perceive death and so life. This interaction can be studied through the contemporary depositions and archaeological evidence left at sites, however, this has seen little coverage heritage and mortuary studies. Given the recent acknowledgement of intangible cultural heritage as an existing element of society within British heritage management these practices that exemplify interaction with ancestral, national or collective memories and identities could be protected or promoted by governing bodies. This thesis therefore aims to highlight such contemporary practices by giving close study to the three mortuary sites that experience this in North Wales, and the forms of intangible heritage that become evident from this. Bryn Celli Ddu passage tomb in Anglesey; Gelert's Grave fictitious dog grave in Snowdonia; and St Winefride's Well site of pilgrimage in Holywell all illustrate these practices, illustrating differing cultural group's formation of memory and identity in the process. By utilising the work on heritage established by Smith on authorised heritage discourses and outstanding universal value, and Houlbrook and Wallis' research on contemporary depositions this thesis expands on the already established, yet young, discourses, providing new information on a particular context within the United Kingdom. This thesis successfully highlights this, illustrates their importance as contemporary expressions and forms of heritage, and briefly sees the function of these within British governance.
    • Soldier Endurance and the First World War Trench Press

      Craggs, Neal (University of Chester, 2018-09-19)
      Soldiers in the First World War, began publishing trench journals shortly after the German and Allied Armies entrenched along the Western Front. Although, they were not limited to the Western Front, and by the end of the war were present in many theatres. They were of varying quality, sometimes printed, sometimes hand-drawn. They constitute a unique collection of literature, poetry, and journalism, and give voice to a culture that, however briefly, emerged in the trenches of the Great War, and vanished with the signing of peace. These journal provide exceptional insight into the lives and thoughts of the inhabitants of the trenches. They are by no means a flawless historical source. They were subject to censorship, both official and self-imposed; the soldiers who wrote them were undoubtedly, in some ways, prejudiced and ignorant; they were written for an audience whose interests were particular and restrictive. Therefore, the soldier newspapers do not provide a comprehensive or uncomplicated view into the First World War, or the trench system. Nevertheless, they do represent an independent, unique, and under researched source of trench literature. This dissertation will comprise a limited study of a selection of trench journals, with the intention of analysing the ways in which these newspapers may have been beneficial to the soldier in the trenches. This analysis will be undertaken with a view to ascertaining ways in which soldiers were able to endure the harshness of trench warfare for years. It will consist of four chapters, the first being a source analysis and literature review combined, and the next three chapters will look into the ways that the trench journals present soldiers' perceptions of the trenches, the home front, and the enemy, respectively.
    • ‘Amazed anew’: The Posthuman Dream, the Repetitive System, and Novum Decay in Modern Works of SF

      Stephenson, William; Hay, Jonathan D. (University of Chester, 2018-11-22)
      This study contends that modern texts within the Science Fiction genre can be seen to espouse a posthuman dream, and so to encourage the (post)human reader, viewer, listener, or player to consider the posthuman potentialities of our species’ future in correspondence with their own social present. Modern Science Fiction texts achieve this figurative function through the employment of repetitive systems, through which they prominently depict recognizable elements of the (post)human present within their otherwise radically defamiliarizing posthuman milieu. Therefore, whilst the newnesses within Science Fiction texts have commonly been presumed to be the predominant element of the genre, this study enjoins that the mundane, quotidian or banal elements of the genre are just as vital to its constitution. This radical rereading of the genre is not heedlessly contrarian, but rather comprises an important critical intervention within the fields of Critical Posthumanism and Science Fiction Studies. By arguing that Science Fiction readers phenomenologically experience the nova of the genre decaying in imaginative potency at an intratextual level, this study proposes that the (post)human engagement with the genre is an extension of our species’ penchant to rapidly become entirely habitualized to emerging technologies, despite them originally containing a quality of awe-inspiring novelty. Therefore, the ample ability of readers to become habitualized to the newnesses within the genre exposes the vast imaginative potential of our species, even as it emphasises the absolute reliance of the posthuman future on the (post)human present. As such, through the textual analysis of a range of works published during the last quarter-century, this study asserts than modern works of Science Fiction have a calculated posthuman purpose. To be exact, modern Science Fiction texts invite an understanding that posthuman concerns should be dictated by a number of pressing species-wide concerns of the (post)human present, as opposed to the dictates of any fanciful conception of the future.
    • ‘With whom shall I identify?’: Nineteenth-Century Representations of Parental Influences and Adolescent Identity Formation

      Ravenscroft, Michelle D. (University of Chester, 2018-11-26)
      This inter-disciplinary research considers cultural influences, such as religion and education, on adolescent identity formation and parental role-models in nineteenth-century texts. Definitions and representations of constructed identities are explored in relation to the influence of cultural factors using twentieth-century psychological, sociological and psychiatric theories surrounding adolescent and parental identity. Representations of adolescent experiences and parental influences within the home and society reflect changing attitudes towards shifting gender boundaries throughout the century. The conflict of changing family dynamics, in relation to parental roles and authority, are also considered with regards to how these influence the adolescent during this critical life-stage. The conflict and crisis involved in the process of adolescent identity formation is linked to the need for the adolescent to identify with a successful role-model. The analysis of representations of socially constructed role-models in the nineteenth-century suggests there are many factors that determine the success or failure of an adopted identity. This research supports the theory that the concept of a problematic adolescence is not borne out of the inability of adolescents to form an identity, rather the inability of nineteenth-century parents to provide a stable, positive and successful role-model, and the adolescent’s increasing awareness of this instability and their need for an individual identity. Representations support the argument that the growing pressure of individual responsibility for life-choices throughout the nineteenth century also increases the conflict and crisis of the adolescent experience and creates an adolescent desire for autonomy to realise their full potential.
    • A Comparison of the Characteristic Traits of Learning Theories in the Three Synoptic Gospels by Thematic Narrative Analysis

      Middleton, Paul; Thackray, Gordon J. (University of Chester, 2018-09-28)
      Many writers have discussed aspects of pedagogy in connection with the books of the New Testament but few have related pedagogical elements observable in the Gospels to current theories of how people learn and the consequent teaching methods. I perform, here, a thematic narrative analysis of the synoptic gospel texts, with the focus of contemporary approaches to learning and teaching. The project aims to identify traits of pedagogic themes throughout these gospels, with a view to establishing if it is appropriate to describe any of them as characterised by one or other of the commonly recognised theories of learning. While such a characterisation is not expected to be perfect across any one Synoptic, it could prove possible to demonstrate sufficient correlation with some theoretical learning model to argue that the gospel is typified by that pedagogy. This thesis also compares and contrasts the three synoptic gospels, in respect of their emphasis on those themes. The thesis outlines the salient features of the currently prominent learning and teaching approaches and considers the applicability of each model to this investigation. The three approaches found most useful for the analysis are: that referred to as behaviourism in teaching; a cognitive, constructivist pedagogic model; and the strongly situated learning theory. The synoptic gospels are examined for aspects of those themes, where possible, as a series of parallel passages, each regarded as a bounded text segment. Special Lukan material is also considered, separately. Any reader’s interpretation of such a narrative is constructed from within their own pre-existing framework for understanding it. My reading of the Gospels here is, therefore, a personal response to the text, which has arisen from my experience working in adult education and training. The conclusion of this work is that all three synoptic gospels exhibit textual features corresponding to a specific teaching and learning model sufficiently consistently to regard them as substantially informed by it. Furthermore, the Synoptics each exemplify a different pedagogical approach. Matthew’s gospel portrays a predominantly behaviourist pedagogy, the Gospel of Mark a generally cognitivist, constructivist approach to learning and teaching and Luke the characteristics of a strongly situative learning theory. It is anticipated that the comparison presented here will provide a new contribution to the discussion of the differences between the otherwise parallel accounts evident within the first three gospels.
    • Histomorphometric Analysis of Structural and Bone Remodeling Parameters in the Underloaded Ovine Calcaneus

      Power, Jon; Hughes, Stephen F.; Lister, Max (University of Chester, 2018-07-24)
      Osteoporosis is a disease that affects over three million people in the UK (NHS, 2016), and is categorized by a reduced bone mass leading to decreased bone strength and increased fragility. Clinical features of osteoporotic fractures include increased morbidity (physical impairment, reduced quality of life, pain), greater risk of new fractures and increased mortality (Geusens, 2008). During the lifetime of a typical human, bones are their strongest whilst a person is in their early-mid 20’s. As one ages bone loss begins to occur around the age of 35. One important causal factor leading to osteoporosis is lack of weight-bearing physical activity, which might impact the elderly human population at sites such as the femoral neck resulting in fragility fractures. Around 70,000-75,000 hip fractures occur in the UK each year, additionally every year an increase in incident rates has been observed partly due to an aging population (NHS, 2016). The relationship between a decreased mechanical load and resulting in reduced bone mass is well established. The structural and cellular consequences of mechanical underloading within a temporal animal model are yet to be fully explored. The objective of the current study was to determine the temporal structural changes occurring due to the influence of mechanical under-loading (experienced at day 0/baseline, week 4 and week 16) within an ovine skeletal model. Additionally, this experimental system provided insight into the cellular activity (in terms of bone remodeling) associated with a reduced mechanical loading environment. Within this model by week 16 of mechanical under-loading, an increase in cortical porosity (4%, p=0.017) within the dorsal region and reduced cortical thickness (19.7%, p=0.025) across all combined regions (as well as a regional decrease of 15% and 23% within the medial and ventral regions respectively) was observed. These changes indicating a reduction in bone mass were accompanied by increased cortical remodeling medially (58%;p=0.028) as evidenced by an increase in the proportion (%) of canals undergoing bone formation within that anatomical region. These data demonstrate a reduction in bone mass and increased bone remodeling associated with reduced mechanical load within this skeletal site. Additionally, the data presented here of decreased mechanical load appear to support the observed bone loss and elevated remodeling occurring within the osteoporotic human femoral neck. This investigation,therefore, validates the underloaded ovine calcaneus as a suitable experimental model to investigate the possible pathological events associated with disuse osteoporosis.
    • Clinical psychologists’ experience of trauma and trauma-related disclosure: perspectives and experiences from the profession

      Kiyimba, Nikki; Middlebrook, Laura J. (University of Chester, 2018-04)
      A high percentage of individuals will experience a trauma in their life time. A clinical psychologist’s work is often to provide intervention for those experiencing high levels of distress following a trauma. However, understanding of psychologists’ own experiences of trauma and trauma disclosure within the profession are unknown. This dissertation focuses on gaining deeper understanding of trauma-related experiences, and how clinical psychologists make sense of trauma within the profession. Semi-structured interviews were conducted and data was analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). This study found that trauma of psychologists was rarely spoken about and complex interactions between anticipated, internalised and perceived stigma were evident. Anticipated stigma presented as the most dominant in influencing disclosure of trauma by clinical psychologists. This research recommends psychologists consider their own levels of openness about their personal trauma and experiences of trauma related disclosure. Psychologists need the understanding and support that psychologists offer to their clients, removing stigma and promoting openness in the profession is a vital step to supporting psychologists who have experienced trauma, with the profession as a whole learning from each others’ experiences.
    • Giving a Voice, Healing Trauma: Exploring the Usefulness of Art Therapy with Refugee Children

      Lovell, Andy; Lowndes; Akthar, Zahra (University of Chester, 2017-10)
      Children who seek refuge to the United Kingdom have experienced a journey witnessing many traumatic events, separation and losses. These experiences can have a profound effect on a child’s well-being and resettlement in the host country. Art therapy is an avenue which can help these children to heal their trauma, and explore the feelings and changes that arise with becoming a refugee. This research set in an interpretive paradigm, informed by hermeneutic phenomenology explores the usefulness of art therapy with refugee children. It aims to investigate this enquiry through the lens of art therapists to gain insights from lived experiences and stories. Three semi-structured interviews were conducted, which were explored and analysed through using thematic analysis, which discovered five key themes these were identified as: (1) Giving Voice, (2) Rebuilding Trust, Opening Wounds, (3) Sharing Stories, Healing Pain, (4) Exploring Identity, Discovering New- Self, and (5) Understanding Art Therapy. Upon reflection, the four initial findings merged together highlighting the two key usefulness of art therapy, these were established as: (a) providing refugee children with a safe space to heal and discover new-self, and (b) giving refugee children a voice to express, and share their stories. Despite the last theme (understanding art therapy) being established as a limitation, this created an area for future research to help inform art therapy practice. From the findings discovered, it was concluded that art therapy is a useful form of psychotherapy for refugee children. Art therapy provides these children with a safe space to heal, and gives them a voice to express and be heard.
    • General public's attitudes towards people who self-harm: Perceived dangerousness and desired social distance

      Hochard, Kevin D.; Ellis, Jacob (University of Chester, 2017-09)
      Public attitudes towards self-harm are critically important, yet relatively unexplored. They can moderate or further exacerbate social and emotional difficulties that instigated initial self-harming episodes and considerably influence help-seeking behaviour. Participants from the general public (N = 109) answered a repeated measures self-report questionnaire that assessed desired social distance and perceived dangerousness towards individuals depicted in eight hypothetical vignettes, which varied between gender (male, female), presence of self-harm (no, yes) and self-harm intent (without suicidal intent, suicidal intent, ambivalent intent). Regarding desired social distance, evidence was identified to suggest that people who engage in self-harm without suicidal intent are perceived more negatively than individuals who do not have a history of self-harm (p < .001, d = 1.55). Numerous factors were identified to further adversely affect desired social distance from individuals who engage in self-harming behaviour. Males tended to have more negative attitudes towards people who self-harmed (p = .015, d = .48) and both genders displayed more negative attitudes towards male self-harmers (p < .001, d = .55). Both males (p = .004, d = .57) and females (p < .001, d = 1.31) who indicated suicidal intent received more negative responses than those who self-harmed without suicidal intent. Overall, perceptions of dangerousness were positively correlated with desired social distance (r = .36, p = < .001), however, gender and intent-specific attitudes contributed conflicting evidence to this relationship. These findings provide foundations for research into public attitudes towards individuals who self-harm, which could potentially inform public awareness campaigns.
    • An exploration of trainee high-intensity therapist’s views of self-disclosure in clinical supervision using q-methodology and semi-structured interviews

      Evans, Gemma; Kreft, Joseph (University of Chester, 2017-09)
      Self-disclosure is an important component of clinical supervision within psychotherapy, however despite research into different disciplines little is known about its function within cognitive behavioural therapy. Fifteen trainee high-intensity CBT therapist’s views on acceptability, experiences, and barriers were explored using both Q-methodology and semi-structured interviews, analysed using inductive Thematic Analysis. Within the Q-method data, one consensus factor was extracted with a second specificity factor also identified. These two factors were highly intercorrelated and indicated current, continued moral and ethical importance of self-disclosure and the role it has on individual professional practice, personal wellbeing and the supervisory relationship. An inductive thematic analysis of interview data was used to examine and identify common themes associated within the participants. Four key themes were identified from the analysis these where named; Function & purpose of clinical supervision, experiences of self-disclosure, supervisee self-disclosure and supervisor self-disclosure. Results provided suggestions to encourage and promote the use of self-disclosure in education and primary care settings.
    • An Infectious Vessel: The Nineteenth-Century Prostitute Undressed

      Heaton, Sarah; Geary-Jones, Hollie G. L. (University of Chester, 2017)
      This dissertation serves as a literary ‘undressing’ of the nineteenth-century prostitute. It examines representations of the prostitute as both a physical and moral vessel of infection. To do so, the dissertation analyses representations from the common streetwalker to the prestigious courtesan, in both French and English novels including: Nana and L’Assommoir by Emile Zola, Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens, The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber, Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell, Mrs Warren’s Profession by George Bernard Shaw and La Dame aux Camelias by Alexandre Dumas Fils. The work analyses and deconstructs stereotypical depictions of the prostitute. It also examines societal anxieties concerning the prostitute’s status as an infectious vessel and source of contamination. Additionally, the work incorporates and examines artistic interpretations of the prostitute by French and English artists. The dissertation uses the aforementioned depictions to analyse how manipulation of external appearance disguised the prostitute’s true ‘infectious’ status. The work ascertains that clothing, body and behaviour were deliberately ‘dressed’ by the prostitute to convey respectability and morality. The dissertation establishes that this masquerade enabled the prostitute to avoid societal detection, condemnation and criminalization. It reveals that the prostitute was able to and did avoid any traits that revealed her true status. The work demonstrates that through the adoption of disguise, the prostitute was able to infiltrate and infect rigid social hierarchies. It analyses how societal corruption was made possible by deliberate adjustments to appearance and behaviour. The dissertation establishes that the prostitute could successfully mislead and corrupt ‘respectable’ society through a calculated guise of moral decency.
    • Did Paul accept the Apostolic Decree

      Simmonds, Issac (University of Chester, 2017-09)
      The relationship between the so-called Apostolic Decree (Acts 15:20, 29) and the apostle Paul has puzzled many scholars. Following F. C. Baur, many have maintained that there is at the heart of early Christianity a divide between Jewish (Petrine) and Gentile (Pauline) Christianity. On this view, Paul could never really have consented to - or even been present at - the apostolic council and agreed to the decree which established a minimum set of requirements for Gentile believers. This dissertation shall provide an in-depth exegesis of the Apostolic Council in Acts 15, placing in within the context of Second-Temple Judaism and the Book of Acts. Along these lines I shall suggest that there are three core issues when it comes relationship between the account of Apostolic Decree (Acts 15:20, 29) and the Apostle Paul. Ultimately, I shall argue that the divide between Jewish (Petrine) and Gentile (Pauline) Christianity has been overstated and derives from a misunderstanding of the Apostle Paul.
    • Optimization Methods and Applications on problem solving with MATLAB in the presence of Randomness

      Antonopoulou, Dimitra; Taylor, Daniel (University of Chester, 2017-10-07)
      A review of iterative methods used to nd optimal solutions to large sparse linear systems including methods based on line search descent algorithms and Krylov subspace methods. We also detail how to use the MATLAB optimization toolbox to solve a variety of optimization problems including linear and non-linear problems in Chapter 2. A review of the classical Travelling Salesman Problem (TSP) is provided in Chapter 3 with examples of solved problems. In Chapter 4 we used a MATLAB program to investigate the effect that randomness has on a system of ODE's namely the equation of a harmonic pendulum, we demonstrate these effects with a number of plots in the phase-plane and with respect to the time t.
    • Numerical Methods for Solving Nonlinear Fractional Differential Equations with Non-Uniform Meshes

      Yan, Yubin; Broadbent, Emma (University of Chester, 2017-10)
      In this dissertation, we consider numerical methods for solving fractional differential equations with non-uniform meshes. We first introduce some basic definitions and theories for fractional differential equations and then we consider the numerical methods fro solving fractional differential equation. In the literature, the popular numerical methods for solving fractional differential equation include the rectangle method, trapezoid method and predictor-corrector methods. We reviewed such methods and the ways to prove the stability and the error estimates for these methods. Since the fractional differential equation is a nonlocal problem, the computation cost is very long compared with the local problem. Therefore it is very important to design some higher order numerical methods for solving fractional differential equation. In this dissertation, we introduce a new higher order numerical method for solving fractional differential equation which is based on the quadratic interpolation polynomial approximation to the fractional integral. To capture the singularity near the origin we also introduce the non-uniform meshes. The numerical results show that the optimal convergence order can be recovered by using non-uniform meshes even if the data are not sufficiently smooth.
    • Group Algebras and Their Applications

      Gildea, Joe; O'Neill, Harrison T. (University of Chester, 2017-10-09)
      Let RG be the group ring of the group G and the ring R. If R is a field, we usually refer to RG as a group algebra. We initially describe the unit group of the group algebra F2 kD8 where F2 k is a Galois Field of 2k elements and D8 is the dihedral group of order 8. We then describe the unitary unit group of F2 kD8. Furthermore, we show the connection between unitary units in group rings and self-dual codes. Finally, we construct certain self-dual codes from the unitary units of the group algebra F2 kD8.
    • A New Predictor-Corrector Method for Solving Nonlinear Fractional Differential Equations with Graded Meshes

      Yan, Yubin; Leedle, Natasha (University of Chester, 2017-10-09)
      In this dissertation we consider the numerical methods for solving non-linear fractional differential equations. We first review the predictor-corrector methods for solving the nonlinear fractional differential equation with uniform meshes and discussed in detail how to prove the error estimates. The convergence orders of the predictorcorrector methods for solving nonlinear fractional differential equations available in the literature are only O(h1+α ), where α ∈ (0, 1) denotes the fractional order and h is the step size. It will take a long time to obtain the good approximate solutions by using such method. Therefore it is necessary to construct some higher order numerical methods to solve the nonlinear fractional differential equations. We construct a higher order numerical method with the convergence order O(h1+2α) by approximating the Riemann-Liouville fractional integral with the quadratic interpolation polynomials. The graded meshes can be used in the numerical methods to capture the singularity of the problem. Numerical examples are given to show that the numerical results are consistent with the theoretical results.
    • Mindful Individualism and Communitarian Engaged Buddhisms: A comparative analysis, with special reference to Thich Nhat Hanh.

      Dossett, Wendy; Ward, Laura (University of Chester, 2017-09)
      This dissertation argues that the contemporary Western mindfulness movement has taken two forms: 'mindful individualism' and 'communitarian engaged Buddhisms.' Mindful individualism adopts a personal, individual and 'self-help' view of mindfulness, and is largely commodified, secularised and disconnected from the Buddhist roots of mindfulness in order to further other agendas. Communitarian engaged Buddhisms maintains many connections to the history and teachings of Buddhism and tends to use mindfulness in conjunction with other Buddhist concepts, such as interconnectedness, with an overall emphasis on compassionate action and social justice. I provide a comparative analysis of mindful individualism and community-focused engaged Buddhism, while demonstrating that Thich Nhat Hanh, a significant figure in the contemporary mindfulness movement, is depicted as a paradoxical figure within the movement. While he maintains his reputation as the archetypal engaged Buddhist, peace activist and global spiritual leader, Hanh's bestselling books teach the benefits of mindfulness in a range of contexts, and have been especially popular among a secular Anglo-American audience. Hanh has therefore also been viewed as the archetypal 'packager' of mindfulness, which in contrast to the community-focused nature of engaged Buddhism, has been criticised as being individualistic, secularised, and disconnected from its Buddhist roots, since flourishing in Euro-America. This dissertation explores the ways in which mindfulness has been applied to a variety of secular contexts, including mindfulness as a therapeutic technique, corporate mindfulness, mindful eating and more. I use these examples to demonstrate that contemporary mindfulness has become largely individualistic, secular and focused on personal happiness, whilst in contrast, those involved in engaged Buddhism remain focused on the aspect of community and reducing the suffering of those around them. I argue that Thich Nhat Hanh's teachings function within both sides of this dichotomy, promoting a mindfulness which 'begins with the individual' and is accessible for a non-Buddhist readership, while actively engaging with and encouraging his concept of engaged Buddhism. This dissertation uses Hanh as a lens to explore and analyse the theoretical 'paradox' problem in Western Buddhism.
    • The state of Christianity in Cheshire: A critical survey of churches' places of worship 1990 to 2015

      Baker, Christopher T. H.; Rainbow, Michael R. (University of Chester, 2017-09)
      The aim of the investigation was to ascertain whether the number of churches in Cheshire being closed is exceeding the number of new churches being opened - indicating continuing secularisation, or conversely, whether in fact openings are exceeding closures - indicating areas of stability or minor resurgence; and also to question what proportion of churches in Cheshire which own their place of worship, have extended or modernised their building - demonstrating confidence in future growth. To answer these questions, a survey of every Christian church, active between 1990 and 2015, within the four unitary boroughs of Cheshire (Warrington, Cheshire East, Cheshire West & Chester, and Halton), was carried out by personal visit, or website exploration in the cases of churches which hired public buildings for worship. Every gain and loss of an active church over the 25 year time frame was recorded in order to reveal the reality of the situation overall and the trends which have occurred. The research results revealed that 22 of the 105 so-called closures were actually strategic replacement or relocation decisions (inferring growth not decline) which casts doubt on the validity of national closure statistics and on the conclusions of commentators who have (historically) been misled by ambiguous statistics. Of 118 new, mostly Pentecostal churches, 60 (51%) were hidden in hired public buildings such as schools, giving an erroneous impression of fewer churches. A second economic trend was evident from the 25 Local Ecumenical Partnerships found, which had enabled various denominational combinations to share buildings. As well as an increase in all indicators of growth and social reconnection, there was a marginal net gain over 25 years of 13 new churches (Halton -4, CHE +2, CW&C -1, Warrington +16) - a modest, but positive outcome, which indicated stability overall.
    • Near-death experience in Indian religions: Encountering Yama

      Stockton, Shona (University of Chester, 2017-09)
      Visions and possessions are closely linked to one another. They can be either negative or positive experiences. They are also known to derive from a variety of circumstances, which include: illness (temporary or life threatening), the side-effects of drugs (i.e. anaesthetic or soma), and states of unconsciousness (i.e. dreams or visitations). However, when they involve an encounter with Yama (the Hindu Lord of the Dead), I propose they should be considered the equivalent of near-death experience (NDE). To investigate this, I will examine a variety of textual sources from a historical point of view. The selected material is from three different periods and will be discussed in a chronological order to appreciate the changing of religious beliefs in South Asia. The first collection of literature belongs to the Vedic period and consists of mythological narratives from Rgveda, Atharvaveda, and the Upanisads. The second include the Mahabharata and Puranas (Post-Vedic period), and the third assortment are contemporary ethnographic accounts. A comparative analysis of these sources permits to acknowledge how near-death experiences in India have changed from a sacrificial culture into one primarily concerned with the concept of karma (action) and its social and otherworldly outcomes, that is reward and punishment.
    • An Ethnography of the Language and Function of Spirituality within the Visible Recovery Movement

      Metcalf-White, Liam (University of Chester, 2017-09)
      Critiques of contemporary spirituality have scrutinised that language as functioning to perpetuate hyperindividualism. They contend that spirituality anesthetises its adherents to the devastating suffering caused by capitalism. While these critiques are representative, they offer only a limited perspective and distort the diversity and functionality of spirituality in alternative contexts. In this dissertation, I argue that the grassroots spirituality of the Visible Recovery Movement (VRM) offers a viable challenge. It is diverse, deeply-meaningful and is located within a movement made up of friends, family and primarily people identifying as in recovery, usually from a disempowering substance use disorder. Many participants do associate with the 12-Step spirituality of programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous. Alternatively, those who do not affiliate with the 12-Steps conceive spirituality as, for instance, faith-based, mindfulness and self-help. Participants identify that language as a catalyst of autonomy, meaning, power and transformation. Data was gathered using the methods of qualitative ethnography within the VRM during Recovery Month, September 2016. Narratives of recovery and spirituality are both personal and social. Spirituality is embedded in vital self-care, responsibility, self-identity, inter-personal connection and altruism. During communal events such as the Recovery Walks, activists performatively celebrate recovery, endeavour for social change and challenge stigma.