Jonathan Dick, OSFS on Unsplash

Lived Catholicism Online Conference: 15-16th November 2021

Paradox and prophecy: why the study of Lived Catholicism matters

Taking place across two days, the conference brought together theologians, ethnographers, anthropologists, human geographers, psychologists and ethicists, among others, for interdisciplinary exchange and encounter. Lived Catholicism 2021 is a project of the Centre for Catholic Studies at Durham University, in partnership with the Department of Catholic Studies, Duquesne University.

Plenary speakers already include Michele Dillon, Valentina Napolitano, Clare Watkins and Massimo Faggioli. Also featuring Robert Orsi, Alana Harris, Tricia Bruce and Stephen Bullivant.

“The contribution of lived religion is to confound certainties, to unearth hidden agendas, to qualify judgment… and, above all, to encounter and engage religious practice and imagination within the circumstances of other people’s lives and within the contexts of our own”

Robert Orsi, ‘Is the Study of Lived Religion Irrelevant to the World We Live in?’, 2002

What is Lived Catholicism?

Lived Catholicism is an emerging notion reflecting the move to the study of Lived Religion over the past 30 years. It encompasses a number of other terms, including everyday Catholicism, folk Catholicism and customary Catholicism; and pays heed to the ways that Catholicism is lived through empirical research, close listening, and as Robert Orsi writes, “attention to religious messiness”.

Our 2021 conference had the following aims:

• To continue to bring together scholars of lived Catholicism across a broad range of perspectives and disciplines.
• To help scholars of lived religion reach wider audiences through the conference and any succeeding publications.
• To promote the notion of ‘Lived Catholicism’ both within the academy and the wider Church, potentially through a formal network.
• By using a digital format, as with our 2020 conference, to enable a wide and diverse group of people to access the conference, from all parts of the world.

Conference Team

Our conference team is gathered from across the disciplines including systematic and practical theology, anthropology and the study of religion.

Avril Baigent is a PhD researcher working on the lived religion of Catholic teenagers at the University of Durham. Previously a Diocesan Youth Officer, she is currently Pastoral Ministry Advisor for the Diocese of Northampton working on projects related to lay ministry and leadership.

Dr Pat Jones completed her PhD in 2019. Her research consisted of empirical study of Catholic charities working in the field of homelessness and social exclusion. Previously she held senior roles in Catholic charities including CAFOD and Depaul International and in diocesan and national Catholic structures.  

Gaël Pardoen is a PhD student in the CCS at Durham University. In his work, he focuses on ideas of belonging and dissent within the Church. In his spare time, he rescues dogs and speaks French.

Tom Duggan recently graduated from Durham University with a degree in music and a dissertation on Sir James MacMillan. He is helping out with the website and providing tech support during the conference.

Lived Catholicism is a project of the Centre for Catholic Studies at Durham University.