Effervescent Atheism

Embodiment and Collective Identity at the Global Atheist Convention


  • Cale Leslie Hubble The University of Sydney




atheism, collective effervescence, collective identity, New Atheism, embodiment


The Global Atheist Convention (GAC) held in Melbourne, Australia on 13-15 April 2012 gave participants an opportunity to instantiate their atheist identities in the context of embodied, shared activity. The existence of “experiential atheism” – the embodied, collective, physical realization of the ideological position – has been proposed but not widely studied. This article uses the interaction ritual model of Randall Collins to understand the Global Atheist Convention as an example of experiential atheism. Being surrounded by a crowd of like identifying bodies, sharing a mood, behaviours and a focus of attention with them and having a boundary to outsiders created the conditions for collective effervescence at the convention. This ratified attendees’ shared representations of the atheist collective and emotively affirmed their affiliation with those representations.


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Author Biography

Cale Leslie Hubble, The University of Sydney

Cale Leslie Hubble has studied in the departments of Psychology and Studies in Religion at the University of Sydney. He is interested in the social construction of identities and ideologies.


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How to Cite

Hubble, C. (2015). Effervescent Atheism: Embodiment and Collective Identity at the Global Atheist Convention. Fieldwork in Religion, 9(2), 124–146. https://doi.org/10.1558/firn.v9i2.17523