Accepted paper:

Sustainability of monastic life: contemporary reinterpretations in dialogue with the society

Authors:

Barbora Spalová (Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University in Prague)
Marek Liška (Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University in Prague)

Paper short abstract:

Monasteries provide specific and spiritually coherent way of sustainable life. In our contribution we explore how monastic way of sustainable life is reproduced and reinterpreted in newly open dialogue with society after recent restitution of church properties in Czech Republic.

Paper long abstract:

While in the past years new wave of movements such as slow fashion, garbage free and local shopping, passive housing and others phenomena emerges, our research focus on much older efforts of sustainable way of life - Catholic monasteries of Benedictine tradition. The monasteries might not always be seen as possible allies in these contemporary efforts. Is it because of feudal structure of organization, image of oppression of individualities, gender divided roles and imperative of obedience? Or the main difference lays in the beyond-this- life framing of the monastic "project"? In past four years of our research of contemporary monastic life in Czech Republic and Austria we have been witnesses of the living based on community life, sharing resources, ecological food production, reduced consumption and all-pervading spirituality. Our aim is to show how these characteristics are being reproduced and investigate how this peculiar continuity is being achieved. The specific dynamics of currently ongoing process of restitution of church properties in Czech Republic uncovers how the above mentioned quality of monastic life can play important role in redefining places of monastic communities in local societies: if the contemporary western societies have some expectations about the usefulness of monasticism, it is much about the art of sustainable life. The analysis of the dialogue between the societal expectations and monastic reinterpretations of their tradition enable us to better understand the different framings of sustainability.

panel P023
Moving towards a future sustainable life - attempts to change the contemporary world