Chapter

Normal Sociality: Obshchenie and Controlling Emotions

Jarrett Zigon

in “HIV Is God's Blessing”

Published by University of California Press

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780520267626
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520948327 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520267626.003.0010
Normal Sociality: Obshchenie and Controlling Emotions

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This chapter explores the range of possibilities that exist in the Russian Orthodox Church program that are not a part of the official therapeutic program: the experiences of sociality created by the rehabilitants themselves that are vital to their own rehabilitation. This kind of social experience is described by the rehabilitants and the staff as “obshchenie”, which means communication, association or even social intercourse. Much of the Church-run program is spent in the midst of this kind of intersubjective experience that is vital to the rehabilitation process because it is primarily during this time that rehabilitants engage in the kind of everyday sociality that is vital to the ethical cultivation of normal persons. Another church perspective is that asocial emotions result in asocial behavior, and thus must be controlled and managed. A therapeutic context is encouraged in which each rehabilitant must cultivate the self-discipline necessary to manage the emotional world, and in so doing exhibit a sense of responsibility.

Keywords: asocial emotions; obshchenie; self-discipline; Russian Orthodox Church; rehabilitation process; ethical cultivation

Chapter.  16501 words. 

Subjects: Medical Anthropology

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