Is there anybody there?: reflections on using evidence from beyond the grave

MacKian, Sara (2010) Is there anybody there?: reflections on using evidence from beyond the grave. [Video] (Unpublished)

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Recording of presentation given at Vital Signs 2 Conference, 7-9 September 2010, University of Manchester

"In a secularised Protestant society such as Britain, the living and the dead are separated not only physically, but also conceptually, with transgressors across the boundary (ghosts, prayers for the dead, appearances of the dead to the bereaved, spiritualist mediums) treated with suspicion" (Walter, 2004. 472).

This paper presents reflections on the process of researching across this boundary, based on fieldwork with individuals and groups, engaged with spirit guides, angels and divination. For those who regularly weave a ‘spirit world’ into their everyday living, it becomes a vital component in the fabric of their social and material worlds. As a researcher, seeking, encountering and interpreting these worlds, this multi-dimensional lived experience has implications for the way in which I understand and represent those experiences; because they cannot be extracted from how we think and theorise about the visible and material worlds we think we know. However, when speaking to an audience of peers - with both feet firmly planted on one side of this exigent boundary - I have found it is not only the transgressors who are treated with suspicion, but also occasionally those who chose to present them as valid research concerns. The paper reflects on just how far the sociological imagination is truly willing to capture the unseen and unseeable as a legitimate part of knowing the multi-dimensional realities we live in.
(Walter T (2004) Body Worlds: clinical detachment and anatomical awe Sociology of Health and Illness 26(4). 464-488)

Item Type: Video
Uncontrolled Keywords: Realities, other knowledges
Subjects: 4. Qualitative Data Handling and Data Analysis > 4.23 Qualitative Approaches (other)
Depositing User: Realities user
Date Deposited: 22 Dec 2010 14:05
Last Modified: 14 Jul 2021 13:53

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