Journal Article

Sacrifice of Praise: Emotion and Collective Participation in an African-American Worship Service*

Timothy J. Nelson

in Sociology of Religion

Published on behalf of Association for the Sociology of Religion

Volume 57, issue 4, pages 379-396
Published in print January 1996 | ISSN: 1069-4404
e-ISSN: 1759-8818 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/3711893
Sacrifice of Praise: Emotion and Collective Participation in an African-American Worship Service*

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This paper draws on interviews and participant observation in an AME congregation to document the normative system of emotions and behaviors that make up an “emotional” worship service. First I discuss the system of “feeling rules” which are operative in the service and how individual emotions are evoked through liturgical discourse. Next, I show the unique aspects of the “emotional” service, including “shouting,” the encouragement of response behavior, and the diffusion of behavioral expectations throughout the congregation. Finally, I discuss reasons for the continued vitality of “emotional” worship ritual among African Americans and critique traditional explanations of the link between “emotionalism” and social class.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Sociology of Religion

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