Managing Spirituality

Public Religion and National Parks


  • KIerry Archer Mitchell Global College, Long Island University



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.

Author Biography

KIerry Archer Mitchell, Global College, Long Island University

Associate Director Comparative Religion and Culture Global College, Long Island University


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How to Cite

Mitchell, K. A. (2008). Managing Spirituality: Public Religion and National Parks. Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture, 1(4), 431–449.