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PublicationDe-fusing the Horizons? Content Analysis and Hermeneutics.(tropos: Journal of Hermeneutics and Philosophical Criticism; 10 (1) ) 2017 Jennings, MarkContent Analysis (CA) is a set of methods used for examining texts. I commence by outlining the conceptual foundations of CA articulated most recently by Klaus Krippendorff. He contends that in order for CA to be a reliable method, practitioners must cease understanding texts as ‘containers’ holding a single, inherent meaning. In contrast, the analyst and their interpretive context determine the inferences, and effectively the meaning, of texts. Outlining the hermeneutics of Hans–Georg Gadamer and Paul Ricoeur, I challenge Krippendorff’s assertions, demonstrating that a hermeneutic approach renders visible necessary interpretive decisions which CA obscures. Hermeneutics thus offers an important critique, alerting us to the limitations of CA, and the boundaries it must remain within if it is to remain useful.
PublicationRealms of Re-enchantment: Socio-Cultural investigations of Festival Music Space(Perfect Beat; 11 (1) ) 2010 Jennings, MarkThe phenomenon of live music performance spaces is both enigmatic and enticing. While few would disagree that there appears to be a different set of priorities and protocols operative in these spaces, there has been little investigation of how socio-cultural theory might be useful in exploring the nature and significance of these spaces. This paper seeks to remedy that, drawing on detailed data compiled from participant observation over three years at the West Coast Blues & Roots festival in Fremantle, Western Australia. The relationship of the live music performance space, or “realm” is explored using three paradigms: charisma, carnival and communitas. The paper concludes with reflections on how the unique experience of music within these realms may interact and change the outside “real” world beyond the festival.
PublicationImpossible Subjects: LGBTQ Experiences in Australian Pentecostal-Charismatic Churches.(Religions; 9 ) 2018 Jennings, MarkThis paper is the product of in-depth interviews with 20 Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, and Queer (LGBTIQ) people who identify, or formerly identified, as members of Pentecostal-Charismatic Christian (PCC) churches. Interviewees typically found themselves confronted with a number of choices (not necessarily mutually exclusive): remain closeted, come out but commit to remaining celibate, undergo “SOCE” (Sexual Orientation Conversion Efforts) therapy, or leave. Most left their churches, often after agonising attempts to reconcile their faith and their sexuality. Several of the practices adopted by Australian PCC churches exclude LGBTIQ people from full participation in their own congregations, rendering them “impossible subjects.” Australian Pentecostalism’s surprisingly egalitarian history, wherein the spiritually authorised ministry of women was both recognised and celebrated, suggests another, more inclusive way forward in regard to this vexed issue.
PublicationImagining Jesus doing a Whole Lotta Shakin’: Pentecostal worship, popular music and the politics of experience.(Culture and Religion: An Interdisciplinary Journal; 15 (2) ) 2014 Jennings, MarkThis paper commences with a brief outline of the history of the symbiotic relationship between popular music and Pentecostalism in the USA. While early rockers learned many of the techniques of ecstasy from Pentecostal worship, in recent times Pentecostal/charismatic songwriters and worship leaders have completed the circle, re-appropriating popular music forms for use in church. This is particularly the case in Australia, where Hillsong and Planetshakers have led the way in composing worship music using rock, pop and hip-hop forms. Drawing from ethnographic data from my own participant observation at an Australian Pentecostal church, I attempt to address the question Can the ecstatic encounter with God which is central to Pentecostalism be accessed in other, "unbaptized" (i.e. non-Christian) musical contexts? The ambivalence of responses from the members of Breakfree Christian church point to the fact that this is a political issue: at stake is the authority to determine which experiences are Christian, and which not.
PublicationSexuality2021 Jennings, Mark ; Wilkinson, M
PublicationThe Throne of Sacrifice: the co-option of faith in the time of Neoliberal totalization.(Uniting Church Studies; 22 ) 2019 Jennings, MarkNeoliberalism co-opts and reconfigures elements of life formerly regarded as non-economic, such as religious faith, in order to facilitate the reduction of human beings to nothing more than homo oeconomicus – the human as economic agent. On the face of it, neoliberalism is incompatible with Christianity, which grounds its theological anthropology in humanity’s creation in the image of God: a substantive conception of the human person fundamentally different from the empty “human capital” of the neoliberal imaginary. However, some forms of Christianity have adapted to and appropriated the project of neoliberalism. In this paper, I will sketch the neoliberal understanding of liberty and the human being. I will address the challenge that neoliberalism presents to faith, arguing that Christian faith in particular is in peril of being reduced to nothing more than “spiritual capital:” a technology of-the-self, employed to optimise the utility, flexibility, and ultimately fungibility of little capitals in the world of no alternative.
PublicationThere is an alternative: Rethinking the Enlightenment and Education in the Neoliberal University.(Socioekonomické a humanitní studie; 7 (2) ) 2017 Učník, Lubica ; Jennings, MarkOver the last 30 years, we have witnessed the impact of “neoliberalism” – a peculiar form of reason that configures all aspect of existence in economic terms – that has contributed to the redefinition of the role of university academics. Rather than being facilitators of knowledge, reflection and critical engagement with ideas, academics have instead become part of a system that has increasingly privileged economic considerations over curriculum. Academic work has been transformed into economically calculable “outputs”, which are forever changing. Academics and students are reconfigured on the model of “human capital” that they must perpetually improve in order to be ready for the next change of rules. Education becomes redefined as “training” for future economic entrepreneurs learning to pursue unattainable economic goals. To reflect on these changes, we will also consider the Enlightenment idea of education. We conclude that the logic of neoliberal governance cannot be confronted on its own ground, since, in this model, institutions are “hollowed-out” – maintaining the shell but emptying the substantive content in order to reconfigure the whole in economic terms. We must return to the task of critically and historically assessing the logic of neoliberalism by shifting the ground of the inquiry, combined with a resistance to the neoliberal reckoning by arguing that it is not the only way to reason – there is an alternative.
Publication“When you don’t know that you don’t know: Academic misrepresentation of Australian Pentecostalism.”2019-10-15 Jennings, Mark
PublicationExaltation: Ecstatic Experience in Pentecostalism and Popular Culture.2014 Jennings, Mark
PublicationAn Extraordinary Degree of Exaltation: Durkheim, Effervescence and Pentecostalism’s defeat of Secularization.(Social Compass; 62 (1) ) 2015 Jennings, MarkPentecostalism has ‘bucked the trend’ predicted by Émile Durkheim and others that religion would decline and disappear in a secular modern age. In searching for the clues as to why this happened, this paper outlines Durkheim’s thought on the phenomenon that sparks religious life – effervescence – and his belief that in the secular future societies would make use of this phenomenon to create instances of ‘secular sacralisation’. Following these ideas, the author traces the development of Pentecostalism, a religious phenomenon that has harnessed the power of effervescence and grown explosively in the ‘secular’ age. Thus, Pentecostalism has appropriated (in part) the role that Durkheim believed society itself would have to fill in a future, secular age, and has reinforced the link between effervescent experience and a transcendent divine entity.