By Linda Woodhead, Ole Riis

This well timed booklet goals to alter the best way we predict approximately faith by means of placing emotion again onto the schedule. 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 non secular emotion is a merely inner most subject, it bargains a brand new framework which indicates how non secular feelings come up within the diverse interactions among human brokers and spiritual groups, human brokers and items of devotion, and groups and sacred symbols. It offers parallels and contrasts among non secular feelings in ecu and American historical past, in different cultures, and in modern western societies. by means of taking feelings heavily, A Sociology of non secular Emotion sheds new gentle at the strength of faith to form basic human orientations and motivations: hopes and fears, joys and sorrows, loves and hatreds.

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Extra resources for A Sociology of Religious Emotion

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Emotions at macro-level Our account of emotion can be rounded out still further by reference to studies of emotions at the macro-level of society. Kemper (1978) offers a sociological theory that relates emotions to social structure. Its starting point is the belief that power and status are universal emotion-elicitors. He maintains that, since all social interactions can be analysed in terms of status and power relations, emotional reactions can be predicted by these two variables: for example, an agent’s possession or exercise of excessive power will cause guilt, and of adequate power a feeling of security, while the experience of having inadequate power will cause fear and anxiety.

19 Gregory Bateson (1963: 233) gives a much more sophisticated example and analysis: ‘When I open the refrigerator door, the cat comes and rubs against my leg stating some variant of the proposition “meow”. To say that she is asking for milk may be correct, but it is not a literal translation from her language into ours. I suggest that more literally we should translate her message as “be mamma”. She is trying to define the contingencies of relationship. She is inviting me to accept those contingencies and to act in accordance with them.

Recent work on emotion by geographers has also been effective in reminding us of the emotional significance not only of symbolic spaces, but of physical spaces, including natural landscapes, buildings, interiors, and cityscapes (Davidson et al. 2005; Smith et al. 2009). This is not to suggest that there is any completely ‘raw’ experience of the material world, only to guard against the intellectual’s tendency to focus on words, concepts, and culture to the neglect of material– symbolic dimensions of life and their emotional significance.

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