Theory platform Emotionality

Emotions are always coded historically and culturally. They shape the individual and collective construction of images of self and other, exacerbate or mitigate intergroup conflicts, and facilitate or hinder social ties. All fields of research in the Cluster of Excellence can be considered with regard to the relevance of emotionality. However, very different conceptual and theoretical traditions intersect here.

Following ancient rhetoric, for example, we can speak of “affects” to explain the formation of communities and groups. In the Middle Ages, the representation of emotions served to communicate decisions. In contrast, if we speak of “feeling”, then we are placing ourselves in the tradition of the modern conception of the subject, as it first developed in the late 18th century. “Emotion”, on the other hand, is the category used in a research current that is more oriented towards cognitive science.

The aspect of emotionality is of importance in various respects for the central question of the Cluster of Excellence concerning the role of religion as a motor of political and social change. For example, theory platform E examines the extent to which it is possible to speak of specifically religious emotions, whether phases of intensified religious affectivity can be observed, and which emotions were or are permissible and effective in discourse in the respective historical contexts. On the other, it investigates what effects religiously based emotions have at the individual and collective level, to what extent they fuel social conflicts or contribute to overcoming them, and which rhetorical and aesthetic processes and media in the visual arts, architecture, literature, religious texts and debate culture do they use to achieve their effects.