- Course code: RPSY5030
- Credits: 10
- Language: Partly Norwegian, partly English
Psychology of religion: Ritualization and existential meaning-making after violent and sudden death RPSY5030
The psychology of religion is a field of study that uses psychological approaches to explore the beliefs, outlooks and existential meanings of individuals and groups in specific life situations. RPSY5030 aims to provide insight into how knowledge from the psychology of religion can illuminate the ritualization of death in grief and crisis for key community institutions such as schools, workplaces, associations and churches. The topic will focus on the use of rituals and symbols in dealing with violent and sudden death in accidents, disasters or terrorism.
RPSY5030 is existential, psychodynamic and social psychologically oriented. The subject promotes competences that are important for teachers, priests, politicians and others who have responsibility for psychosocial crisis management in local and national contexts. The subject is informed by recent research on trauma, ritualization, emotions and meaning-making in social cultural contexts.
This topic will illustrate current events and give examples from large collective ritualisations (such as after 22 July), local events such as accidents, and ritualisation and symbol use on social media. It also provides insights from health sciences, psychology and philosophy into how pain and suffering develop and how we can deal with them constructively. It sheds light on the basic question of mortality, how people with different worldviews approach it and what consequences death awareness can have.
RPSY5030's focus is thus on the psychology of religion and cultural currents and how people's different religious affiliations and worldviews can have an impact on symbolic meaning making and existential crisis management.
To receive a final assessment in the subject, the student must:
- participate (in person) in at least 80% of the teaching,
- pass an academic paper (2000-2500 words),
- participate in the assessment of the subject if it is to be assessed electronically in the current semester.
Students who do not meet the study requirements cannot sit the examination in the subject. In order not to use an examination attempt, the student must actively withdraw his/her assessment notification for the subject by the withdrawal deadline of 1 May.
The subject RPSY5030 has a home exam (3 days) as exam form. The assignment has to be answered within 2500-3500 words. The grade (A-F) is set on the basis of the exam.
The student has:
- good knowledge of symbol use and ritualisation in "violent and sudden death", in events such as accidents, disasters, pandemics, violence, acts of terrorism and war
- good knowledge of psychological understandings of crisis of meaning, crisis of belonging, crisis of identity, and emotional and existential aspects of trauma experiences
- good knowledge of how cultural processes can influence religious and life experiences, emotions and social identity formation
- good knowledge of key approaches to the psychology of religion: social identity theory, object relations theory, affect theory, coping theory, thanatopsychology and existential psychology
- knowledge of relevant aspects of psychology of religion in psychological trauma first aid
- good knowledge about the subjective nature of (physical) pain and (existential) suffering
The student can:
- contribute to the development of good ritual practices after violent and sudden death in schools and workplaces, in church, associations or in society
- understand the different ways people experience crises of meaning, their needs to make meaning making
- understand how social belonging and participation can be promoted
- reflect independently on how different cultural and religious/worldview beliefs can be complicating or unifying in shared rituals after sudden and violent death
- understand how ritualisation can contribute to the strengthening of social identity, existential coping and meaning making and provide tolerance for emotions
- good understanding of and ability to contribute to individuals and groups being well cared for in a crisis situation, and that trauma is not amplified but relieved (psychological first aid)
Here you can find the reading list for this course.
Part of the literature will be available digitally, while other parts might only be available in paper format. Some of the literature will be available as compendiums, which you can find via the course room in Canvas.
You will automatically get access to literature that is available digitally when you are sitting at MF, otherwise you can get access by using Oria or by using "External access" in the library's list of databases.
Note that it will take some time before link to the reading list is updated. Please make sure that you are looking at the correct semester's reading list.