Chasing solidarity: a critical engagement with the hosts of American spirituality podcasts

Fromholz, Gregory (2023) Chasing solidarity: a critical engagement with the hosts of American spirituality podcasts. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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The primary aim of my practice-based PhD is to examine the role that the hosts of American podcasts — particularly those that fall into the categories of Christianity or Spirituality, or both — imagine for themselves: what influence do they consider they have?; what resources are they seeking to provide?; what interests do they bring to their work?; what questions do they have about their work’s efficacy and reach and influence? This research incorporates evidence from interviews with thirteen podcast hosts — some in person and some on Zoom — alongside this critical engagement analysing the insights, content and narratives of those hosts and their podcasts. Though many of these hosts view Spirituality from a place influenced by Christianity, they are not defining it exclusively from a Christian perspective. Consequently, this study endeavours to answer the question: ‘Given the increase in USAbased podcasts that address Spirituality, how do the hosts of these podcasts understand the ways in which they resource or influence the spiritual landscape?’

With over 420 million podcast listeners projected in 2022, this research investigates how hosts of curated podcast conversations seek to influence a deeper understanding of spirituality. The research probes how the emerging “digital field” of spiritual formation is being populated with podcast opportunities. It asks questions of those who seek to influence spiritual formation through digital media and shows, through the voices of prominent hosts/practitioners, how the digital and spiritual co-exist and thrive because of one another.

Postman wrote that ‘The clearest way to see through a culture is to attend to its tools for conversation’ (2005). Every new movement finds a new way to communicate outside the institutions previously or even currently leading the way; this sociocultural phenomenon of podcasting is addressed in this written and filmed thesis, Chasing Solidarity: A Critical Engagement with the Hosts of American Spirituality Podcasts.

This paper accompanies an original 84-minute, feature-length research documentary film entitled Chasing Solidarity, in which conversations about what is emerging are put forward and analysed.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1990 Broadcasting
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts & Humanities > School of Critical Studies > Theology and Religious Studies
Supervisor's Name: Gay, Rev. Doug and Goode, Ian
Date of Award: 2023
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2023-83901
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 02 Nov 2023 14:36
Last Modified: 02 Nov 2023 14:36
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.83901

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