This chapter develops a new materialist philosophy of faith. Through mobilising affect theory and writing from the new materialisms, Anna Hickey-Moody demonstrates how faith operates as both a form of what Spinoza (1996) calls ‘joy’ and, alternatively, what Lauren Berlant (2011) calls ‘cruel optimism’. Hickey-Moody shows that a change in the capacity to act (affect), such as that which is created through belief, is an experience that unites both secular and religious people. Hickey-Moody outlines the three scales across which faith entanglements and resulting unconscious orientations articulate: macro, meso and micro. On a macro level, global material economies, worldviews, geographies and networks of faith impact substantively upon an individual’s capacity to act, as these assemblages are both political and world-making. On a meso level, the individual and community geographies of belonging that constitute people’s everyday lives demonstrate the complex entanglements of matter and belief that make up lived faith worlds. At a micro level, ‘joy’ is the feeling that is brought about by an increase in our capacity to act and, alternatively, ‘cruel optimism’ is deferring pleasure (for example, sexual pleasure) in the hope that the act of deferral will lead to reward. We are all consciously or unconsciously enmeshed in various systems of faith relations, both formal and informal, religious and secular. This chapter puts forward a unified approach to thinking about the social and individual politics of orientation as expressions of different forms of faith.
This book explores the contention that religious and non-religious people have more in common than we might expect. Anna Hickey-Moody argues that everyone has faith in something and faith is what makes us human. People are both brought together and driven apart by their orientations towards religion and secularism. Across England and Australia, Anna Hickey-Moody has collected community stories about ‘what really matters’ and what people have faith in. Her findings will take you on many journeys: voyages of escape on small boats, trips into the future in electric cars and art-making on school grounds. Chapters examine how faith can increase and/or reduce people’s capacity to act, how it can lead to a deferral of pleasure and a faith in things yet to come. They also explore outsider’s worlds: the structures of belonging that sustain social and culturally marginalised people, the kinds of connections fostered through faith and the forms of refusal that faith systems often bring with them. The final chapter examines the other worlds that are created through prayer and creative practice. This book will be of interest to those working in affect studies, religious studies, cultural studies, ethnography, youth studies and sociology.
Looking beyond Manchester’s obsession with the Hacienda, this chapter explores what the city’s nightlife was like once its most famous nightclub closed its doors for the final time. Here we discover how it wasn’t a safe city for female clubbers, how some places offered sanctuary for new creatives and was a limited place for people of colour and those who wanted to hear diverse sounds.
Colonial power either constitutes or haunts the contexts in which this research takes place. This chapter examines processes of colonisation as forms of governance that reduce people’s capacity to act. It brings a historical discussion of the Hindmarsh Island court case in Australia together with contemporary expressions of racism in London, Sydney and Adelaide. The author argues that racist foundations on which contemporary Australia has been constructed, and on which it still operates, overlay the ethnographic undertaken in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Adelaide, Manchester and London. She examines the history of racism in Australia and contemporary racism in England and Australia, arguing that role of the white anti-racist ally in such spaces is complex and often irreconcilable with the views of the white majority.
This chapter looks at the gang wars that were ripping through Manchester at the end of the century. Here David speaks to addicts, dealers and police officers to investigate why so many young people were caught up in the gang culture, and how a change in culture resulted in a shift from ecstasy to cocaine use.David details how this drug epidemic resulted in the fatalities of his friends.
On 15 June 1996 an IRA bomb devastated Manchester city centre. The common belief that this was the catalyst for a regeneration is misguided. This chapter details what the city was like on the day of the bomb with first-hand accounts from people involved in the incident (emergency services, victims, key decision-makers), and explains how the growth of Manchester’s development was accelerated by the bomb, it wasn’t the beginning of it.
Mancunians: Where do we start, where do I begin? is a portrayal of the industrial city on the cusp of irreversible change. At the turn of the century, Manchester was in upheaval. The devastation of the IRA bomb saw council leaders try to push the city into the future as gang wars repeated the violence of the past. Musicians tried to come from under Oasis's shadow, while the local population tried to push past the stereotypes. Mancunians is the story of those that didn’t fit the typecast: the musicians of colour, the football fans not into prawn sandwiches, the Mancunians who didn’t wear parkas, the frustrated police figures, the optimistic developers, the ambitious artists, the drinkers, the dealers, the drug takers and a young lad trying to negotiate his way amongst the chaos. Through a mixture of memoir and interviews with well-known Mancunians such as Guy Garvey, Badly Drawn Boy, and Stan Chow, combined with unheard voices of the population, David Scott portrays the city in a way never seen before. Mancunians: Where do we start, where do I begin? is the authentic account of Manchester at the turn of the millennium.
This chapter explains Anna Hickey-Moody’s research methods, which primarily consist of a multi-sited ethnography, extended with arts-based methods for young research participants. Arts-based methods are an excellent way of communicating complex information. Life experiences are not always able to be expressed in words, especially when research participants speak languages other than English. However, the artworks they create communicate affectively, regardless of language. In her ethnographic work, Hickey-Moody looks for everyday stories and experiences of belonging, faith attachment and ‘what really matters’. These experiences are often expressed through images, words, memory, allegory, anecdote and collaborative exchanges. Her approach is concerned with making space to recognise subjugated, non-mainstream knowledges. Making art with culturally and linguistically diverse children and talking to their parents is an everyday decolonising approach to a feminist, new materialist methodology concerned with the agency of experience, places, matter and things.
Faith and children’s art are means through which people create and explore the possibilities of other worlds. Both faith and art are interested in how things might be better, both in this world and after our death. Cusak suggests that ‘many stories have the potential to be read as transcendent and uniquely meaningful (as mythology, theology, or other explanatory narrative) by certain individuals and groups’ (2016: 575). This statement brings together old and new faith systems and creative art practices. For example, children often make art about popular cultural stories (video games, fictional characters) and these artworks might simultaneously include comments about the way they wish the world was. For example, they often imagine a world in which we can actually stop climate change, or a world where housing is not a problem. Faith has often served similar functions in the respect that it can be a way of hoping for a better life during trying times. This chapter explores the theme of other worlds, it explains why people maintain their faith and what children often make art about. Anna Hickey-Moody examines the appeal of faith as a way to imagine a better life: both a life after death and a better way of having life now. She then moves on to consider the roles that other worlds play in children’s artwork: both fantasy worlds that children wish were real, and the act of making art as a way of envisaging changes that could be undertaken to make our world a better place.
This final chapter explores what being a Mancunian is, how a stereotype has been media-led and given back to a population to wear. The author and contributors look at how Liam Gallagher has been portrayed in the public eye and become totemic of Manchester. Finally, David looks through his own experience of what being a young man growing up in Manchester has meant for his own identity as a Mancunian.