Research Participants

Play, Pain and Religion - Creating Gestalt through Kink Encounter - Alison Robertson

Alison Robertson [+-]
The Open University
Alison Robertson is a research associate with at the Open University. She is interested in the places where the lines commonly drawn between categories (such as ‘religious’ and ‘non-religious’) become blurred or ambiguous and in how such blurring affects the ways people look at the world. Her research interests, other than kink, include lived and personal religion, edgework, and self-inflicted or positive experiences of pain.


Play, Pain and Religion is the first consideration of the practices associated with BDSM (Bondage, Domination, Submission and Masochism) in the context of Religious Studies scholarship. The focus is an exploration of BDSM experience as it emerges from the complex interactions of kink activities and relationship. Beginning with the observation that experiences categorised by practitioners as spiritual are commonly described in the same terms, and given the same value, as experiences which are not so categorised the book argues that the significance of a given experience is not located solely within any intrinsic quality ascribed to it but, rather, it is in what the experiencer subsequently constructs from the refined experience. It examines some such constructions, moving away from absolute definitions of religion or religions to consider the religious as an active process with which individuals find their own means to engage and presenting BDSM as one such means of engagement.

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Robertson, Alison. Research Participants. Play, Pain and Religion - Creating Gestalt through Kink Encounter. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. Aug 2021. ISBN 9781800500297. Date accessed: 15 Apr 2021 doi: 10.1558/equinox.40012. Aug 2021

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