Dr Mark Jennings
BA (Tabor), BTh (Murdoch), PhD (Murdoch)


About me

My research is primarily in the Sociology of Religion. I have a continuing interest in Pentecostal spirituality and the development of Pentecostalism as a phenomenon in the twenty-first century. I have also written on the relationship between secularisation and religion in the twentieth and early twenty-first century. I also have an interest and expertise in qualitative methods, and the sociology of popular culture. My research continues to explore the interaction between theology and sociology, particularly as it relates to popular culture and religion. I am an early career researcher, and very much enjoying the process of writing and teaching in the beginning stages of my career.

My monograph, entitled  Exaltation: Ecstatic Experience in Pentecostalism and Popular Music - will be in print in January 2014.

Research areas


Popular Culture

Proto-religious phenomena

Interaction between sociology and theology

Religious studies

Current projects

  • Research Monograph — Exaltation: Ecstatic Experience in Pentecostalism and Popular Music. Pending publication by Peter Lang in January 2014.
  • “The Bogan Project: The Evolution of Bogans and CUBs in Australian society.”
    • Abstract (accepted for presentation at The Australian Sociological Association (TASA) conference, Monash University, Melbourne, November 25–28 2013): There has been an increasing interest, both at the popular and academic level, in the phenomenon of bogans. Formerly a moniker for poorer sections of the Australian working class, recently the phenomenon of the ‘cashed-up bogan’ (CUBs) has left some members of this group with more economic agency and mobility. While there has been some academic and popular level writing on this (see particularly Pini, McDonald and Mayes 2012; Nichols 2011), there is a gap in the empirical work. In particular, there has been little qualitative interview data with those who self-identify as bogans or CUBs. This project seeks to remedy this, addressing the following aims:
    1. Definition of the terms ‘bogan’ and ‘CUB’ – characteristics, traits, significance, consumption patterns.
    2. Exploring changes in attitudes toward bogans and cubs among people from a variety of socio-economic and cultural backgrounds.
    3. Locating bogans and CUBs within wider discourses on youth studies and class in Australia, and also within wider academic studies on working class subcultures and class warfare (e.g. the burgeoning work on ‘chavs’ in the UK)
    4. Investigating the phenomenon of self-identifying bogans: maintaining working class identity, or cashing in on an lucrative market?
  • Provisional title of paper — “Concert for the Kimberley: The ethics of spectatorship in live music performance.”
    • Abstract: The charismatic performer can inspire spectators and convince them of the rightness of a cause through performance. In the aftermath of the performance, spectators may experience ambivalence about the cause. This ambivalence may be because of the following:
    1. The spectator may not know how to act in accordance with the conviction they experienced during the performance.
    2. The spectator may not want to act in accordance with the conviction they experienced during the performance.
    3. The spectator may discover that a response to the cause advocated by the charismatic performer may not be as straightforward as he or she was led to believe by the performer (i.e. they were taken in by the performer or performance).

    Anticipated completion: December 2013.

  • “Pentecostalism and Secularization: investigating the success of a religious phenomenon in secular modernity.” Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) application in current round for funding from 2014.

Doctoral and masters supervisions

Doctoral students: Naomi Sharin “The dance of Dakini in an ordinary woman’s life: A creative-critical conversation between Vajrayana Buddhism and Feminism.” Secondary supervisor (40%) (principal supervisor – Nado Aveling 60%).



  • Jennings, M., (2014),Exaltation: Ecstatic Experience in Pentecostalism and Popular Culture,Peter Lang Bern.


  • Jennings, M., (2010),Collective Effervescence, Numinous Experience or Proto-Religious Phenomena? Moshing with Durkheim, Schleiermacher and Otto,In: Philosophical and Cultural Theories of Music, Koninklijke Brill NV, pages 107 - 128.


  • Jennings, M., (2014), Imagining Jesus doing a Whole Lotta Shakin': Pentecostal worship, popular music and the politics of experience, Culture and Religion, 15, 2, pages 211 - 226.
  • Jennings, M., (2014), Breaking Free to the Limit: Foucault, Otto and Pentecostal Experience., Journal of Contemporary Religion, 29, 1, pages 33 - 45.
  • Jennings, M., (2013), The Fourth Gospels Reversal of Mark in John 13,3114,3, Biblica, 94, 2, pages 210 - 236.
  • Jennings, M., (2010), Realms of re-enchantment: socio-cultural investigations of festival music space., Perfect Beat, 11, 1, pages 67 - 83.
  • Jennings, M., (2010), Ive got a spirit coming through me: music as hierophany and musicians as shamans., Australian Religion Studies Review, 23, 2, pages 210 - 228.
  • Jennings, M., (2008), 'Won't you break free?' An ethnography of music and the divine-human encounter at an Australian Pentecostal church., Culture and Religion, 9, 2, pages 161 - 174.


  • Jennings, Mark. 2012. ‘Unlikely comrades: The joys and challenges of community agencies working together in partnership, managing a shared project.’ Evaluation report commissioned by CLAN WA and Murdoch University, Western Australia.

Conference Presentations

  • 2007. ‘Won’t you break free?’ An ethnography of music and the divine-human encounter at an Australian Pentecostal church. TASA & SAANZ joint conference, University of Auckland.
  • 2008. That Feeling of Exaltation: An Ethnography of Music and Religious Experience at a Music Festival. Music, Culture and Society Conference, Monash University.
  • 2012. Elementary forms, Pentecostalism and the demise of Secularisation theory. Durkheim Symposium, Flinders University.
  • 2012. Music as Hierophany and Musicians as Shamans. IASPM conference, University of Tasmania.
  • 2013. An Extraordinary Degree of Exaltation: Durkheim, Effervescence and Pentecostalism’s defeat of Secularization. Reflections, Intersections and Aspirations: 50 years of Australian Sociology TASA Conference, Monash University.


Journal articles:

  • Jennings, M. (Pending publication —Accepted June 2014). ‘An Extraordinary Degree of Exaltation: Durkheim, Effervescence and Pentecostalism’s defeat of Secularization.’ Social Compass.
  • Jennings, M. (Under review —Submitted September 2014). Defusing the Horizons? Content Analysis and Hermeneutics. Sociology.

Media Outputs:

  • Jennings M. (Pending publication — Submitted June 2014). ‘Pentecostal, Pearl Jam – Music brings Ecstasy to us all.’ The Conversation.