Project

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Rituale und Ritualisierungen in Familien: Religiöse Dimensionen und intergenerationelle Bezüge

English title Rituals and Ritualizations in Families: Religious dimensions and intergenerational references
Applicant Morgenthaler Christoph
Number 68978
Funding scheme NRP 52 Childhood, Youth and Intergenerational Relationships in a Changing Society
Research institution Institut für Praktische Theologie Evangelisch-theologische Fakultät Universität Bern
Institution of higher education University of Berne - BE
Main discipline Religious studies, Theology
Start/End 01.04.2003 - 30.09.2007
Approved amount 531'631.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Religious studies, Theology
Psychology

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary
Goodnight stories and more? Families need rituals.

This project is looking at the ways in which families with small children develop rituals and, in doing so, live out and transmit religiosity.
- How do young families celebrate Christmas?
- What prompts parents to have children baptised?
- What bedtime rituals do parents create?

Background
The family has become a place where people find meaning and orientation in life, and rituals often contribute to this. This study will investigate how rituals bind the generations, how they contribute to meaningful daily life and help people cope with difficulties, how they link public life and the private sphere and how families draw on religious traditions in these rituals or develop their own approaches.

Objectives
By investigating the rituals that families of various backgrounds develop, the project aims to contribute towards a deeper understanding of family environments in Switzerland. From this, the researchers hope to gain a multifaceted picture not only of family rituals, but also of the religiosity that parents and children are increasingly developing independently, outside any organized religious context, and practising in everyday life. In this context, particular attention will be focused on children’s active contributions to the development of their family and religious environments. The findings will be used in a targeted way to provide supportive assistance to children and their families.

Methods/approach
Preliminary studies have indicated that family rituals emerge through adaptation of rituals from parents’ families of origin, that rituals take on gender and milieu-specific forms and that children contribute actively to their creation. These assumptions will be investigated in greater depth by means of two larger quantitative surveys and three qualitative subprojects that examine rituals that are embedded in a daily cycle (bedtime rituals), an annual cycle (Christmas) and the life cycle (baptism). The studies will be interlinked and conducted in interdisciplinary collaboration.

Significance
Understanding how children experience and contribute to the creation of rituals and religiosity in their families is pertinent, because it influences their well-being and their development of meaningful life perspectives. The project will also show how practised religiosity and the Christian tradition are connected in today’s families. Better knowledge of these connections will provide an important basis not only for targeted support of children and their families, but also for theology as a life-affirming field of study.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

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