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Listening Subjects, Rationality and Modernity

Strhan, Anna (2014) Listening Subjects, Rationality and Modernity. In: McKinnon, Andrew and Trzebiatowska, Marta, eds. Sociological Theory and the Question of Religion. Theology and Religion in Interdisciplinary Perspective Series in Association with the BSA Sociology of Religion Study Group . Ashgate, Aldershot, pp. 199-222. ISBN 978-1-4094-6552-2. (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:45258)

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Drawing on sociological theories of embodiment and rationalization, this chapter examines the relationship between listening practices, rationality and subjectivity in conservative evangelicalism. Drawing on fieldwork from an eighteen-month ethnographic study of a large conservative evangelical Anglican congregation in London, I describe how members of this church are formed as ‘listening subjects’ through specific embodied practices, which involve not only listening but also visuality and bodily co-presence. I show how within conservative evangelical culture, there is a strong emphasis on rational practice and autonomy in tune with Enlightenment ideals of subjectivity, and consider how this intersects with members of the church’s participation in highly rationalized forms of practice outside the church. This emphasis is held simultaneously with an expressed desire for the subjection of the will to God and an orientation towards time that disrupts narratives of ‘secular’ progress, contributing to their self-identification as ‘aliens and strangers’ in the world and articulated sense of being out of step with urban modernity. I argue that conservative evangelicals’ body pedagogic techniques and learnt self-identifications develop an orientation towards transcendence that increases the sense of tension they see between their norms and those of ‘the world’. This ‘anxious transcendence’ is both modern and unmodern.

Item Type: Book section
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of Culture and Languages
Depositing User: Fiona Symes
Date Deposited: 21 Nov 2014 16:55 UTC
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2022 10:58 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Strhan, Anna.

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