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The Emotionalization of Religion – new emotional styles in the field of religious experience (414)

Principal Investigator:

Traditionally, religion is closely associated with emotions (such as joy or fear). The project investigates the relevance of emotions in contemporary Christian congregations.

This study is based on the observation that religion is increasingly characterized by experience-orientation and emotionalization, especially in new Christian communities. Therefore we will compare newer Christian congregations with a Pentecostal, evangelical and charismatic orientation to more conventional Christian parishes affliliated with the Evangelical Church in Germany or the Roman Catholic Church.

First we focus on the performance of the emotions, i.e. the spoken, gestural, mimic, sung and danced expressions of emotions in the field of religious experience. Secondly we analyze the meanings believers ascribe to those expressions and the way believers differentiate between socially acceptable and unwanted emotions according to feeling rules. Third, based on existing surveys we try to answer the question as to whether there is a connection between the way of dealing with emotions, i.e. the emotional style, and the recruitment-milieu of a given Christian community.

This question will be answered by including existing surveys. The performance of emotions will be investigated using video-analytical methods. In addition, the interpretation of interview data will provide information helpful toward analyzing the ascription of meaning.