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Changing ‘emotional regimes’: their impact on beliefs and values in some older women

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In common with a number of recent studies of religious change that have taken a gendered approach, this article takes older women as its focus and considers the role the emotions play in religious change, adopting Riis and Woodhead’s new conceptual framework of religious emotion. Emotions, they argue, are not merely private, personal and subjective inner states. Rather, emotions are constructed in the interplay between social agents and structures, including those found within religion. They are also found in the ever-changing relations with complexes of cultural symbols and material settings. This triangulated relationship seldom remains static because the connections – and disconnections – between self, society and symbols alter as emotional ordering is continuously produced and reproduced with adaptations to changing circumstances. They also argue, and as we shall see, the interaction of emotional regimes with power is an important part of the analysis.
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Keywords: church leaving; churchgoing; emotions; power relations; religious change; women

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion,Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK

Publication date: April 1, 2012

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