ISS: Nature and Nonreligion: Community Gardens

Community gardens are often the product of intentional communities creating spaces and relationships that aim to create changed or new forms of social and ecological relationships. What is the nature of these relationships? What is the significance of the growing of food and other plants for how people interact? How do people relate to each other vis a vis the garden?

Nonreligion and migration: Project logo

Background

Community gardens are often the product of intentional communities creating spaces and relationships that aim to create changed or new forms of social and ecological relationships. What is the nature of these relationships? What is the significance of the growing of food and other plants for how people interact? How do people relate to each other vis a vis the garden?

Ethics and relationships are at the heart of this project. The gardens are often explicitly ethical, aiming for self-sufficiency, the inclusion of marginalised communities and individuals, and empowerment. How does religion/nonreligion play out in this context? Some gardens have links with religious organisations, who may have established the garden, or support it. Others are explicitly not religious. Does this make a difference in how community and relationships to nature are articulated or enacted? If so, how?

Links to other project areas

Gardening has a range of health benefits (article ScienceDirect). Many community garden participants are migrants. Some community gardens are located in schools. This study will include studies of community gardens in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland.

This project is part of the large international project "Nonreligion in a Complex Future", which studies nonreligion in the area of law, health, education, migration and the environment in Canada, USA, UK, Australia, Brazil, Venezuela, and the Nordic Countries. The project is based at University of Ottawa, Canada.

Key questions

  • What are associated food practices (ie, do people eat together or share time together other than in the garden?
  • Are there rituals and practices associated with that interaction? Is ‘giving thanks’ part of that? What form does it take?)
  • What role does nature (plants, gardens, animals) play in shaping the relationships that
  • form in community gardens?
  • How do people link their gardening with how they think about and interact with nature and the world around them?

Research plan/possible methods and data

Literature review: community gardens

Scoping: identify information available on the Internet about the range and nature of community gardens in all the countries for the project.

Sample: Select a few gardens in each country (based on what is found in the scoping study). Interview a key stakeholder via skype (thus avoiding travel costs). What is the history of the garden? What are the webs of relationships in which it is embedded (religious institutions, food banks, municipal authorities, broader community projects)

Select a small number of gardens and visit them, interviewing a few participants who engage with the garden.

Survey: Create a survey that could be distributed by the community gardens to people

who have engaged with them.

Content Analysis: How are the gardens presented on their websites or other materials or statements of purpose?

Social sciences/humanities

The student should have a background in the social sciences or humanities.

Resources

This is a part-time Research Assistant position for a MA-level student, where you collect data for the project and use some of them for your Master´s Thesis. The position is on an hourly basis and you are paid St.ltr.51. You will be involved in the Nordic and international network of the project. The findings of the MA thesis will be communicated to the rest of the research team and the MA thesis will be published on the website of the project.

Project period

The project will last for one year.

Project leader:

Inger Furseth

Professor, Institutt for sosiologi og samfunnsgeografi
Email: inger.furseth@sosgeo.uio.no
Hjemmeside

The principal investigator of “Nonreligion in a Complex Future” is of Professor Lori Beaman at University of Ottawa, Canada. Professor Inger Furseth is a Co-Investigator who directs a Nordic research group. Furseth if professor in sociology at University of Oslo, who has conducted various research projects and written several books and articles in the sociology of religion. Her research focus is on religion and nonreligion, religious extremism, Muslim women, social movements, gender and social theory.

Emneord: Development, Environment and Cultural Change, Human Geography, Religionsvitenskap, Sosiologi, Samfunnsgeografi, Social Anthropology, Sosialantropologi
Publisert 1. des. 2020 16:40 - Sist endret 1. des. 2020 16:56