ProjectKasualien als Familienfeste. Zur Konzeptualisierung von familiären Lebensgemeinschaften anlässlich von…

Basic data

Kasualien als Familienfeste. Zur Konzeptualisierung von familiären Lebensgemeinschaften anlässlich von Passageriten
4/1/2015 to 3/31/2019
Abstract / short description:
DFG-PAK 876: Rites of passage as family celebrations

Rites of passage are family celebrations. Baptisms, weddings, confirmations and funerals address not only biographical passages, which affect individuals or couples, but they also deal with the complex changes in the family system which is affected by the rite. Family members and friends constitute the larger part of the congregation gathered on the occasion of rites of passage; they significantly inform the familial part of the ceremony that follows the liturgical act of blessing.

The meaning of 'family' for rites of passage has been pointed out when aspects relating to socialization theory, history or religion of the family have been named. However, 'family' usually rubricates as a social variable which we attribute to the private, other than 'congregation' which has been object to theorizations by the church; the societal-institutional character of 'family', however, remains unconsidered. What 'family' is, in which ways it constitutes itself, and how it understands itself, is orchestrated and symbolized on the occasion of rites of passage. On the one hand, these questions concern the empirical evidence of the celebratory families who gather for celebrating the rite of passage. On the other hand, they aim at the symbolizing capacity of rites of passage for familial cohabitations. It is our aim to survey the capacity for meaning-making of the rites for the concept of familial cohabitations against the backdrop of pluralizing lifestyles.

So far, the church support of rites of passage has essentially orientated itself towards marriage as a subsystem. The issue of pluralizing lifestyles is therefore left blank in the theory of rites of passage; in the awareness of the church, it has been described foremost as abandoned traditions. The social change reflected in factual pluralization - foremost in a change of awareness and the value system - poses questions for theology and church; these can be specified using the example of church support of rites of passage.

The central question of our research is which (religious) interpretations rites of passage provide for familial cohabitations. The meaning of family shall be focused on in several aspects:
1. On the one hand, we will empirically describe the familial group which gathers on the occasion of a rite of passage in its social relations.
2. On the other hand, we will document the family celebrations following the services and describe the self-presentations of the family.
3. Eventually, we will analyze the concepts of family and their religious interpretation in the service. Our focus will be on reciprocal communicative referential contexts between the service embedding the rite of passage and the family celebration. Our aim is to be able to describe the capacity for meaning-making of the church rite of passage for the familial cohabitation.

Involved staff


Protestant Seminary
Faculty of Protestant Theology

Other staff

Fronek, Fabienne
Protestant Seminary
Faculty of Protestant Theology

Local organizational units

Faculty of Protestant Theology
University of Tübingen


Bonn, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany

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