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'All Eyes Closed'. Dis/sensing in Comparative Fieldwork on Affective-Religious Experiences

Analyzing Affective Societies (Cover)

Analyzing Affective Societies (Cover)

Mattes, Dominik; Kasmani, Omar; Dilger, Hansjörg – 2019

This chapter highlights the importance of using the researcher’s own bodily perceptions or her/his ways of dis/sensing the field as a crucial means for understanding and representing religious gatherings’ affective atmospheres. It draws on comparative research in a neo-Pentecostal church and a Sufi prayer circle in Berlin and explores the more-than-visual forms and methods of accessing the field. The discussion is centered around the researchers’ decision to close their eyes as part of believers’ practices. We argue that the potential of accessing affect is effectively enhanced through researchers’ bodies even though they might not have the same experience as other participants in these religious settings. This is tied to the position that sense-embodied ways of knowing arising out of such methods offer the possibility to transcend distinctions between cognition and emotion, eventually covering some measure of distance between researchers and the researched.

'All Eyes Closed'
Mattes, Dominik; Kasmani, Omar; Dilger, Hansjörg
DOI: 10.4324/9780429424366-15
Appeared in
Kahl (Ed.) 2019 – Analyzing Affective Societies
Size or Duration
pp. 265–278