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Prayer as Transgression: Stories from Healthcare

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on the social relations of prayer, and how it is 'lived' in healthcare settings. It considers how prayer is enacted in the seemingly rational and ordered nature of healthcare. The chapter first addresses this dynamic in the ways staff and patients enacted and received prayer, which supported and challenged vestiges of normative western Christian practices and the presumed secularity typically associated with modern healthcare. Drawn from research on the negotiation of religious and spiritual pluralism in Canadian hospitals and home health, the chapter focuses on various ways that staff volunteers and patients approached prayer. It also explores how prayer can connect people from different religious traditions. The chapter demonstrates how prayer can be prevented in healthcare routines in the everyday, de-contextualizing people's religious and spiritual lives.

Keywords: Canadian hospitals; healthcare routines; normative western Christian practices; prayer; presumed secularity; religious traditions



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