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Program: Social Psychology of Religion - Università Milano Bicocca - a.a. 2014-2015

Docente: Prof. Germano Rossi

Learning Objectives

The purpose of the psychology of religion is to try to understand the different ways in which an individual's beliefs affects his world (by studying the behaviour, attitudes and, more generally, the general processes of mental functioning). Many psychological mechanisms of religiosity (or non-religious beliefs) are common to other forms of beliefs as they result from social and cultural processes. Furthermore, "religion" as an institutional organisation, promotes the forming of opinions, representations, prejudices, gender relations, and communication styles.

Program:

The course, through lectures, introduces students to the main topics of psychology of religion with particular emphasis on the social and organisational aspects. In the beginning we will address the current debate about "religion" and "spirituality" to continue with the empirical foundations of the subject. Through the study of religious processes in childhood, adolescence and adulthood we will address the manner in which socialisation influences the creation, development and maintenance of religious and/or spiritual beliefs. We will discuss the various social forms of religious organisations (denominations and new religious movements) and the dynamics of association, conversion and un-conversion. Finally, we will address religious experience in the individual and its relationship to social and moral issues, as well as prejudice and stereotypes.

Prerequisites:

Basic course in psychology, research methodology, data analysis.

Learning assessments:

The exam consists of a written exam with open questions followed by an oral examination. The written exam may be replaced by a little essay (approximately 15 pages) on a topic of your choice (with teacher approval) that it is a deepening of the textbook. The oral exam will focus on both the written exam (or your essay) and the course topics.

Bibliography:

M. Hood, R.W., Hill, P.C. & Spilka, B. (2009). The psychology of religion: an empirical approach.. New York: Guilford. (ch. 1-2, 4-6, 8-10, 12).

CFU: 8

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