Series: Gender Studies in Wales
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Women, Identity and Religion in Wales is the first comprehensive study of its kind from a present-day perspective. It brings significant and original insights to an understanding of Welsh identity and religion, as well as exploring the distinctive pressures that women in Wales face in their everyday lives. The author provides a qualitatively rich account of the religious and sociological context and interweaves her own experience with that of a number of Welsh women writers, including Menna Elfyn, Jasmine Donahaye and Mererid Hopwood, to offer an in-depth understanding of the dynamic interplay between Welsh female identity and religion. At the heart of the book are conversations with thirteen other women whose lives and experiences reveal how women facing misogyny, repression and stigmatisation are able to respond with resilience and humour. The author concludes that Welsh women have an empowering stereotype, the Strong Woman, and are constructing new identities for themselves beyond the pressures to be respectable and submissive.
‘In this highly thought-provoking study, the author considers how gender stereotypes have impacted not only on traditional religious practice in Wales but on the way in which religion has been perceived by society at large. The blend of sober academic analysis and creative response through poetry and story is wholly excellent. This is a book to be savoured by those within the churches and beyond.’
- Emeritus Professor D. Densil Morgan, University of Wales Trinity Saint David
‘Practical theology takes human experience with utmost seriousness, and this book of narrative theology is an important and significant contribution to our understanding of how religion shapes and distorts the identity of women. The author skilfully enables a range of Welsh women to articulate their identity with moving, insightful honesty and courage … and provides a model for doing practical theology and the mechanics of ethnographic research.’
- Revd Canon Professor James Woodward, Sarum College, Salisbury
‘This very readable book engages its theme with a wide range of conversation partners. The resulting dialogue is rich, stimulating and fascinating, and it offers a valuable and challenging contribution to our understanding of womanhood, Welsh identity and faith at a time of significant societal change.’
- Revd Dr Jennie Hurd, District Chair, Synod Cymru, The Methodist Church in Wales
‘This is a silence-breaking, ground-ploughing piece of work on women’s experience of nationality and religion in Wales. It is written from inside knowledge and will evoke both cheers and sighs of recognition. It knits together stories of individuals with observation, academic theory and theology in a rigorous framework, while crystallising the argument in poignant poems – a method both feminist and rootedly Welsh. Diolch yn fawr iawn, Manon.’
- Revd Canon Enid R. Morgan, former Director of the Board of Mission of the Church in Wales
‘Women, Identity and Religion in Wales is a captivating read for anyone interested in Welshness, faith and the everyday lives of women. The author engages with different conversation partners including women interviewed in the fieldwork, writers of literature, theology and sociology, and herself through reflexive poetry, to offer important insights into the complexities and multiplicities of identity.’
- Dr Dawn Mannay, Cardiff University
1 What Do We Mean by Identity?
2 Constructed Welsh Identities?
3 Wales, Religion and Identity
4 Religion, Women and Wales
5 Life Stories
6 Welsh Identity and Religion in Women’s Writing
7 In Conversation with the Strong Woman
8 Constructing New Identities
Appendix: Research Methods