Belgium: 2015 conference International Society for the Sociology of Religion

Belgium: 2015 conference International Society for the Sociology of Religion

The 33rd ISSR conference will be held in Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium), from 2-5 July 2015.

The theme of the conference will be “Sensing Religion“. 

Religions are not just a matter of belief, of practice, and of social organization. They more broadly also involve experience, perception, and the expression and representation of such ‘sensing of the religious’. Experiences may be sensory, as with the sights, sounds, and smells of religious rituals; and they may be communal and emotional, as various scholars have theorized through concepts such as ‘collective effervescence’, ‘communitas’, and ‘collective emotional regimes’. The sensible and the senses in religion has been a recurring theme in sociology and anthropology since the beginning of these disciplines. It unfolds in multiple directions and poses a whole host of interconnected questions.

  • What are the locations for sensing religion and how do the individual body and the communal temple interrelate as such locations? How are deities and spiritual entities represented and how does that representation articulate with bodily and communal religious practice? How is religious experience involved and how does that manifest and articulate with sensory perception and representation?
  • How do contemporary religious groups use sensory and other experiences to gather and serve their adherents – from mega-church audio-visuals to congregational art, music, and dance?  What is the role of images, music, and dance as producers of the religious and not just religious productions?
  • The audio-visual dimension is involved in various ways with media, including through television, radio, religious art, the Internet and the world of gaming – how do religious people understand the experiences that they increasingly claim are central to their religious lives?  How do such matters vary across the world’s different religious traditions, and what can we learn from this variety?
  • How are experiences – sensory, emotional, or inward – expressed in varying religious discourses? What is the role of religious language in this sensory and emotional context? What are the emotional characteristics of religious language? How do we understand, in this context, the success of various charismatic movements?
  • How do people sense religion in daily life? To what extent and how do people feel religion as, for instance, a source of meaning, identity, guilt, health or obligation in their day to day existence?
  • And from a reflexive perspective, what do we as sociologists and anthropologists ‘sense’ as the religious? Why and how? Does the importance in our discipline of the questions just outlined signal transformations in this observation of the religious?

For more information, see here.

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