A theology of survival: the faith narratives of women who have survived domestic violence

PhD Thesis

Jeffels, Sue 2002. A theology of survival: the faith narratives of women who have survived domestic violence. PhD Thesis
AuthorsJeffels, Sue
TypePhD Thesis

This thesis offers a specific development in feminist theology and new insights into the identities of women who have experienced domestic violence. It draws on central debates about domestic violence, and knowledge construction. It questions the nature of the theological task, suggesting that contextual research into how groups of women engage in theological reflection might cast new light on women's believing. The thesis, then, uses feminist qualitative research methods to investigate the faith and theological reflections of women who have survived domestic violence. The women in the study come from different traditions and from none. Drawing on the data from empirical research, this work exhibits a disparity between stereotypical constructions of battered women and their private identities. It also shows the close connection between their modes of believing and their survival of abuse, resulting in what I have termed a 'theological self'. Both feminist and liberation theologians have argued that the voices of the more marginalised in society have, historically, been silenced and are waiting to be heard. A major aim of this thesis, therefore, has been an attempt to bring the voices of abused women into academic theological debate. The thesis is an interdisciplinary work, drawing on the disciplines of Sociology and Theology with occasional forays into Philosophy and Anthropology. I would argue that the findings contained within this thesis question hegemonic claims to knowledge and pose a challenge to academic feminist theologies. A particular contribution of this work is the engagement in conversation of the women in the study with feminist theological theories, thus critiquing the feminist critique of theology and religion. I have used the conclusions from this conversation in theological construction. Employing Karl Rahner's concept of the transcendent and the transcendental subject, I have used some of the symbols of Christianity as a lens through which to view the diverse experiences that the participants may have had. I have, along with the continued collaboration of some of the women in the study, termed this theology a "theology of survival".

Keywordsfeminist theology ; domestic violence; female identity
PublisherUniversity of Derby
Web address (URL)https://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?did=1&uin=uk.bl.ethos.248822
Output statusUnpublished
Publication process dates
Deposited14 Dec 2012, 14:26
Publication dates2002
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