This essay examines what a seemingly trivial bodily reaction such as goose bumps tells us about the relation between spirituality, technology, and voice. Based on ethnographic research, the article examines the media ministry of a Brazilian priest named Padre Marcelo Rossi. In particular, it addresses Padre Marcelo's popular “aerobics of Jesus,” a regime of embodied prayer techniques that combines contemporary music with mediaeval Byzantine prayer techniques as means to awaken the spirit in practitioners. To make the point concrete, the essay examines how a popular hit, “Luz Divina” (“Divine Light”), is used in religious practice by Marcelo and his followers, who by singing along with the tune and regulating the intake and outtake of breath give rise to the magic-like, yet scientifically explained, somatic reaction of goose bumps. Examining this affective, bodily response, the paper attempts to examine the interpenetration between mysticism, immediacy, and spontaneity and technology, mediation, and rehearsal.
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Maria José A. de Abreu; Goose Bumps All Over: Breath, Media, and Tremor. Social Text 1 September 2008; 26 (3 (96)): 59–78. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/01642472-2008-004
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