Public Religion and National Parks
Keywords:public religion, national parks, spirituality
This article outlines four techniques through which the National Park Service manages the spirituality of park visitors: 1) the maintenance of bodily discipline; 2) evocation of the natural sublime; 3) implication of global interconnectedness; and 4) facilitation of individual differentiation. These techniques work together to construct spirituality as a private investment in the public space of the park. I argue that the National Park Service thus creates structural links between the individuality of visitors and a certain way of organizing the parks, a way that appears natural and is highly managed by the state. In this way a private, individualistic nature spirituality takes on the character of public religion.
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