A Sociology of Religious Emotion by Linda Woodhead, Ole Riis

By Linda Woodhead, Ole Riis

This well timed publication goals to alter the best way we expect approximately faith by means of placing emotion again onto the time table. It demanding situations a bent to over-emphasise rational features of faith, and rehabilitates its embodied, visceral and affective dimensions. opposed to the view that spiritual emotion is a simply inner most topic, it bargains a brand new framework which exhibits how spiritual feelings come up within the different interactions among human brokers and spiritual groups, human brokers and items of devotion, and groups and sacred symbols. It provides parallels and contrasts among non secular feelings in ecu and American historical past, in different cultures, and in modern western societies. by way of taking feelings heavily, A Sociology of non secular Emotion sheds new mild at the energy of faith to form primary human orientations and motivations: hopes and fears, joys and sorrows, loves and hatreds.

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Taking as their stage the whole of American society, the authors of Habits of the Heart (Bellah et al. 14 There are ways of resolving the contradiction between these competing narratives of emotional modernization. Lupton (1998) suggests that the intensification of self-control and bodily discipline has, as its corollary, the incitement of pleasures of transgression and expression. Thus modern tourist and entertainment industries sell emotional experiences, and vicarious emotional experience is sought through the mass media and celebrity culture.

Religious emotion can even less easily be separated out from cultural symbols than other forms of everyday emotion can be detached in analysis from their material and symbolic images, stages, settings, and props. Clearly Durkheim cannot be accused of ignoring the importance of symbols for collective emotion. Both he and Randall Collins recognize that such symbols can somehow ‘store’ emotions between ritual gatherings, and act as a shared focus of that emotion within the group setting. They also notice that the capacity of symbolic objects to evoke powerful emotions seems to increase with the size of the group for which the symbol is moving.

They also notice that the capacity of symbolic objects to evoke powerful emotions seems to increase with the size of the group for which the symbol is moving. The most powerful of all are those that symbolize and help constitute an entire society; they can be animate (an animal, a charismatic leader), inanimate (a national flag, a crucifix), or intermediate (a relic of a saint, a memoralized leader). Inspired by Durkheim, Maurice Halbwachs (1992) took this analysis further by emphasizing the importance of the past kept alive in the present by ‘collective memory’.

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