A Sociology of Religious Emotion

ISBN : 9780199655779

Ole Riis; Professor, Linda Woodhead
280 Pages
142 x 215 mm
Pub date
Jun 2012
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This timely book aims to change the way we think about religion by putting emotion back onto the agenda. It challenges a tendency to over-emphasise rational aspects of religion, and rehabilitates its embodied, visceral and affective dimensions. Against the view that religious emotion is a purely private matter, it offers a new framework which shows how religious emotions arise in the varied interactions between human agents and religious communities, human agents and objects of devotion, and communities and sacred symbols. It presents parallels and contrasts between religious emotions in European and American history, in other cultures, and in contemporary western societies. By taking emotions seriously, A Sociology of Religious Emotion sheds new light on the power of religion to shape fundamental human orientations and motivations: hopes and fears, joys and sorrows, loves and hatreds.


1. Emotion - a relational view
2. Delineating religious emotion
3. Dynamics of religious emotion I: connections of self, society, and symbols
4. Dynamics of religious emotion II: disconnections of self, society, and symbols
5. The power of religious emotion
6. Religious emotion in late modern society and culture
Appendix: Studying religious emotion: Suggestions for method and practice

About the author: 

Ole Riis, Professor of Sociology, University of Agder, Norway; Linda Woodhead, Professor of Sociology of Religion, Lancaster University

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