We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Department of Theology and Religion


Publication details for Professor Peter Ward

Dunlop, Sarah & Ward, Pete (2012). From Obligation to Consumption in Two-and-a-half Hours: A Visual Exploration of the Sacred with Young Polish Migrants. Journal of Contemporary Religion 27(13): 433-451.

Author(s) from Durham


This article reports the findings of a visual ethnographic case study that explored the shifting nature of religious belief in contemporary Britain due to the migration of young Polish people. The focus on studying what is ‘sacred’ to Polish migrants revealed how their religious beliefs and practices are changing in a new religious context. Surprised by the plurality of beliefs and the side-lined church, Polish migrants find that they are no longer obligated to practise their religion and must come to terms with choosing how to be religious. Locating the sacred in church, family, and nature, they search for a sense of home and stability within their new social context. Traditional beliefs in God, Jesus, Mary, and angels still form the basis for personal meaning making, but the practice of religion in the context of the UK is often altered in response to increased options for religious practice, including not practising at all.