Religions 2014, 5(1), 277-303; doi:10.3390/rel5010277
Article

Discipline, Resistance, Solace and the Body: Catholic Women Religious’ Convent Experiences from the Late 1930s to the Late 1960s

1,* email and 2email
Received: 21 December 2013; in revised form: 2 February 2014 / Accepted: 8 February 2014 / Published: 3 March 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Body and Religion)
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Abstract: This paper examines the corporal forms of discipline and techniques of resistance exercised through and by Catholic women religious (sisters/nuns) in Ontario, Canada. Borrowing from Foucault’s conception of controlled activity as a technique for disciplining the body, as well as Cvetkovich’s notion of repetitive activity as imbued with possibility for knowledge and hope, this paper demonstrates how Catholic women religious, due to their unique position as both leaders and subjects of the institutional church, have been agents of, and subjected to particular forms of disciplinary ritual, both in the Church and in their lived religion. Drawing on the experiential accounts of thirty-two current and former women religious in Canada, the paper demonstrates more or less overt forms of embodied, ritualistic discipline and the extent to which women have resisted this disciplinary power both in convent life and in their later years. The paper sheds light on how women’s perception of discipline is related to disobedience and compliance, nuancing the well-known “old norms” of convent life before the Second Vatican Council.
Keywords: women religious; gender; corporal forms of discipline; resistance; solace
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MDPI and ACS Style

Gervais, C.; Watson, A. Discipline, Resistance, Solace and the Body: Catholic Women Religious’ Convent Experiences from the Late 1930s to the Late 1960s. Religions 2014, 5, 277-303.

AMA Style

Gervais C, Watson A. Discipline, Resistance, Solace and the Body: Catholic Women Religious’ Convent Experiences from the Late 1930s to the Late 1960s. Religions. 2014; 5(1):277-303.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Gervais, Christine; Watson, Amanda. 2014. "Discipline, Resistance, Solace and the Body: Catholic Women Religious’ Convent Experiences from the Late 1930s to the Late 1960s." Religions 5, no. 1: 277-303.

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