Institut of Sociology University of Hamburg Germany,
This paper argues that emotions play a central role in the process of constructing space which again is of high significance for the construction of identity and interpretations of the world (spatial turn). To neglect the emotional attachments to space is to miss out on or misunderstand much of the processes and forces of social life. An example is given by the great deal of attention to church buildings in East Germany as a widely secularised society where over 70% of the people are without religious affiliation. The reconstruction of the Dresdner Frauenkirche or the high civic engagement for the preservation of village churches in East Germany lie beyond the realm of rationality. To develop a notion of church buildings as emotional spaces it will be questioned what kind of emotions are attached to church buildings and what are the modes of construction? It will be drawn on an empirical study, including a standardised questioning of about 2.000 churchgoers (parish, citizens, tourists) and with a focus on five 13th century church buildings, two of them in Western Germany (Kiel, Lübeck) and two in Eastern Germany (Wismar, Stralsund). The crucial question is how such emotionally-charged spaces, variously conceived, hold potentials for well-being, commemoration, identification etc. and facilitate the development of civic society or can also be a trigger of exclusion, social conflict (as the discussions about major building projects of mosques in Germany reveal).