Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Bradley R.E. Wright; Claudio E. Benzecry

Field of Study



Master of Arts

Open Access

Open Access


In the contemporary West, religious worship is very much a collective, guided phenomenon. Based upon interviews and participant observation in Catholic, Congregationalist, and Evangelical services, this paper examines congregant emotional displays influenced via micro behavioral techniques utilized by church officials versus macro denominational meanings during religious ceremony. In particular, the argument is made that while performance acts used by church officials do have some impact upon the emotional expression of the congregation, it is the shared meanings expressed through the denominational tradition that exercise a significant influence upon emotional displays in rituals. Therefore, while ritual is guided, it is more through church culture than the “feeling tools” utilized by clergy.

Major Advisor

Clinton R. Sanders