Date of Award

2010

Document Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Sociology, Anthropology, Social Work and Public Health

Major

International Studies

First Advisor

Cheleen Mahar

Second Advisor

Aaron Greer

Abstract

A common conception in our society is that the sacred and profane realms are oppositional. This study seeks to demonstrate the fallacy of this belief through the observation and analysis of the spiritual capacity of surfing. The research conducted for this project will contribute to the scholarship on the binary of secular versus sacred and on the relationship between surfing and spirituality. The intention is to illustrate how people make spiritual meaning out of surfing, a seemingly secular activity. Spirituality here refers to any process in which one aspires towards enlightenment; any activity through which one aspires to assuage the yoke of the human condition by answering for oneself the questions “Why am I here?” and “What is my place in the universe?” The focus of the study is the connection between surfing as a secular sport and spirituality and asks the question: how is it that surfers find spiritual meaning through their sport and what does this mean in regards to common perceptions of the secular and sacred? The goal of this research is to draw attention to the deeply embedded societal assumptions concerning the opposition of secular versus sacred and to question their validity through the exposition of surfing as both a secular and sacred activity.

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