Looking and doing: Towards a sensory sociology of ritual experience
The Study: Phase 3
I am currently collecting data on the ways in which socially distanced experiences of ritual and new innovations in ritual and community connections during Covid-19 and it's aftermath.
The end goal of the project is to have a better understanding of the ways that we experience togetherness and shared moments, especially in this rapidly changing world.
My dissertation examined the ways in which individuals understand their religious experiences, in order to better understand which elements of religious ritual are most potent to each individual.
Using a mixed qualitative and quantitative analysis, I looked at how participants and local organizations intersected and how experiences of ritual depended on not just individual histories but the work of ritual coordinators.
I also looked at the ways in which institutional re-articulations of ritual were presented and adapted at local and national levels.
Looking at an international new religious movement's annual weeklong intensives and basic introductory classes, I wound up identifying places where regional understandings sometimes clashed at the international level.
This first introduction to the ways in which ritual experiences could both be successful and potentially problematic provided insight into the ways that earlier lived experiences and shared stories shape how lived moments can feel impactful and strange.
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