Religious Emotions in Christian Events
Haken, Meike – 2019
This article focuses on the question of how to empirically identify emotions as religious. It stems from the observation that emotions take on different forms of performance specific to the different fields in which they are observed. However, this is largely ignored within research on events. Applying the perspective of communicative constructivism, we approach this fundamental question by assuming that emotions are communicative and thus have to be communicated. The contribution draws on videographic research on large-scale religious events and an ethnographic research in mega churches in the German-speaking world. Findings are that the meaning of religious emotions depends on an underlying affective order which consists of pre-structured and situational components. The specificity of religious emotions lies in the fact that they are directed to something absent. The relation to the absent is the underlying dynamic of the communicative construction of the experience of transcendence. The prayer during a charismatic mass at the World Youth Day in Cracow serves as an example of a communicative genre in which the reference to something absent becomes very clear in the bodily performance of the emotion of veneration.