Abstract: Applications of the concept of habitus to research on religion have increased in recent decades. At present, Pierre Bourdieu’s interpretation of the concept is perhaps the most well known. Nevertheless, it has also met with criticism. This article utilizes Bourdieuan theorizations to discuss the habitus of elderly Finnish Orthodox Christian women. The author examines the women’s dispositions in relation to their changing minority position within Finnish society, and identifies the dynamic between reflexivity and routine practice as being central to their religion. The analysis demonstrates the value of Bourdieu’s understanding of habitus when studying the long-term effects of social power on subjectivity – as reflected, for instance, in lifelong minority religion. The author argues, moreover, that contrary to the claims of many critics, Bourdieu’s approach is suitable for inquiries into the conscious dimensions of practicing, in so far as these are conceived of as grounded in individuals’ past and present conditions of religious practice.
Abstract: Analysing the public character of Brazilian Pentecostal counselling sessions in urban Mozambique, this paper aims to examine the configurations of exposure through which counselling acquires and produces sociocultural forms of intimacy. During ‘therapy of love’ sessions held by the Brazilian Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, strict bodily acts need to be performed publicly to authorise love. Drawing on the notion of religious habitus, the paper focuses on how the performativity of Brazilian Pentecostal counselling practices responds to and shapes a public culture of love and intimacy among upwardly mobile women in urban Mozambique, and how the performative scripts converts carry out during therapy result in ambiguous relationships.
Excerpt: “How do we shout Halleluiah?” Enthusiastically, her audience responded with a shout of “HALLELUIAH!” accompanied by exuberant arm movements. “And how do the Dutch shout Halleluiah?” Her audience laughed, and tried to imitate the lack of enthusiasm they perceived among the Dutch in different ways: a shortly mumbled hallelujah, huddled and hesitant arm movements that barely raised the hands above the head and kept elbows firmly clipped to the sides. Approvingly, she continued with her next question, encapsulating the problem in one distinct contrast: “And how do they shout when they are watching a football match?” To this, her audience responded like the crowd in a bar when the Dutch football team scores during a soccer match: loud shouting, flinging arms upwards and jumping up and down.