Emotion and Religion in the "New Age"

This research takes the so-called "New Age” movement between the early 1970s and late 1980s as a case study, focusing on the correlation between emotion and religion not as a theoretical axiom, but as a historical problem. It examines how the road for such a reciprocal relationship was first laboriously paved in discourses and then practically realized until it could finally be considered as self-evident. The strong emotional appeal of religious phenomena within the "New Age" is thereby contextualized socially, especially with regard to novel self- and body techniques: the "discovery" and "liberation" of one’s own feelings, according to the motto, usually required many years of intense training.

Taking this background into account the "New Age" movement becomes a promising test-field for the history of emotions, primarily focusing the research on emotions as practices that can be learned and need to be trained.