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Life history and the Irish migrant experience in post-war EnglandMyth, memory and emotional adaptation$
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Barry Hazley

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781526128003

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.7765/9781526128010

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PRINTED FROM MANCHESTER SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.manchester.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Manchester University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSO for personal use.date: 26 September 2021

Falling away from the Church? Negotiating religious selfhoods in post-1945 England

Falling away from the Church? Negotiating religious selfhoods in post-1945 England

Chapter:
(p.149) 4 Falling away from the Church? Negotiating religious selfhoods in post-1945 England
Source:
Life history and the Irish migrant experience in post-war England
Author(s):

Barry Hazley

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7765/9781526128010.00012

While recent commemorative histories mythologise fervent devotion to the faith as a distinctive attribute of the post-war migrant experience, catholic observers at the time feared migrants were ‘falling away from the church’. This chapter explores the changing place of religion in migrants’ lives in England and the complex agency of catholic ideals in shaping religious selfhoods over the migration journey. Where contemporary observers feared the secularising effects of urban culture upon migrants, the chapter shows how continuity and change articulated simultaneously within the evolution of migrants’ religious identities. Regulatory religious ideals offered some migrants a model of virtuous and socially respectable settlement in which they could recognize aspects of their own fears, ambitions and aspirations, while other, often later migrants, drew on a public critique of clerical power to narrate a story of renunciation and personal transformation. Irrespective, however, of whether or not individuals embraced or derogated their religious heritage, narratives of religious change always registered disavowal as an ambivalent process, involving the management of conflicting desires for autonomy from and conformity to deeply internalised religious prohibitions.

Keywords:   Secularisation, Piety, Domesticity, Respectability, Marriage, Family, Clerical control, Patriarchy, Disavowal, Self-realisation

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