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Religion, aesthetics and moral ontology


Ezzy, D, Religion, aesthetics and moral ontology, Journal of Sociology, 52, (2) pp. 266-279. ISSN 1440-7833 (2014) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2014 Sage

DOI: doi:10.1177/1440783314521884


This article argues for a broader sociological conception of religion. Religion includes practices that engage with this world in rich and complex ways alongside experiences of transcendence. Religion encompasses a broad palette of aesthetic and emotional experiences that include, but are not confined to, solemnity and beauty. Religious moral ontologies can be both pluralist and dualist. The aesthetic turn in contemporary religion is described, noting associations with individualism, and pluralistic moral ontologies. The concept of pluralistic moral ontology is developed drawing on Nietzscheís analysis of aesthetics, Carl Einsteinís examination of the relationship of aesthetics to myth and ritual, and a discussion of tragedy in classical Greece. Empirically, the role of aesthetics is manifest in a number of contemporary ethnographies of religion that emphasise the centrality of practice and performance to religion. The film trilogy The Lord of the Rings provides an example of the link between aesthetic experience of myth and pluralistic moral ontologies.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Sociology, Religion, Aesthetics
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Sociology
Research Field:Sociology not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Religion
Objective Field:Religion and society
UTAS Author:Ezzy, D (Professor Douglas Ezzy)
ID Code:89291
Year Published:2014
Web of Science® Times Cited:4
Deposited By:School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2014-02-28
Last Modified:2018-03-26

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