Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Faith from Fiction: Walking the Jedi Path
by Ehlers, John Thornton, M.A., California State University, Long Beach, 2019, 78; 22585291
Abstract (Summary)

Members of California Jedi actively create a personal spirituality through which they embody the ideals and practices that have been put forth by the fictional Jedi in the Star Wars films. But what does it mean to have faith when one's spirituality is born from a work of fiction? What places and practices matter when there are no earthly locations to reference and no living or historic Obi-Wan Kenobi to emulate? Seeking answers to those questions, this ethnography is the result of twelve in-person and video chat interviews with five members of California Jedi, as well as self-documentary videos recorded by participating Jedi. Supported by the research of Markus Altena Davidsen (2013), this ethnography also demonstrates that members of California Jedi are not simply fans who have taken their love of Star Wars to an extreme. They are on a real path and they are real Jedi. The example set by Jedi of the Star Wars films provides a basic framework upon which members of California Jedi build a spiritual practice. Members of California Jedi draw on Stoicism, Buddhism, the writings of Joseph Campbell, and other sources to build and embody a personal practice. To live in the real world according to guidance provided by fictional characters, members of California Jedi take an approach to living that, while rooted in the ethics, practices, and spirituality depicted in the Star Wars Universe, is the unique creation of each Jedi.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Wilson, Scott
Commitee: Klein, Wendy, Rousso-Schindler, Steven
School: California State University, Long Beach
Department: Anthropology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 81/4(E), Masters Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Cultural anthropology, Geography, Comparative religion
Keywords: enchantment, fandom, jedi, monomyth, new religious movements, star wars
Publication Number: 22585291
ISBN: 9781687954053
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