Theme 1: Religious and Social Change

The aim of the theme is to provide a nuanced and critical analysis of the forms and conditions through which religion becomes visible in contemporary Sweden. How can this increased visibility of religion in public spheres such as the media and politics be explained, and what are the implications for handling social diversity, forming social identities and developing democracy? Studies of youth and gender are key to understanding changes in values and religiosity, as well as negotiations of boundaries between religious and secular, private and public spheres and identities. Comparative studies across Northern Europe are an important part of this analysis.

For most of the 20th century religion has been marginalized as a research topic in social sciences, like sociology, media studies and political science. However, the increased religious diversity and political and media interest in religion in Europe refutes the assumption that increased modernisation would lead to the disappearance of religion as a socially significant factor.

Even though Sweden is considered to be one of the most secularised countries in the world, religion persists as an issue of social and political importance, albeit in new arenas and under different circumstances than earlier in history.

Religious beliefs, values and practices are a key part of individual and social identity and instrumental in the articulation of cultural and political values. Bringing religion back into studies of social change is crucial for understanding current challenges of cultural and religious complexity, the intensified mediatization of social interaction, and the implications of the ongoing shift from hierarchical forms of government to new modes of “bottom-up” governance.

Theme leaders: Mia Lövheim and Karin Borevi

Work packages

1.1 Media and religious change

1.1 a Engaging with Conflicts in Mediatized Religious Environments. A Comparative Scandinavian Study (CoMRel)

1.1.b Constructions of Religion and the Secular in Contemporary Swedish Public Debate. An Analysis of Three Case Studies.

1.1.c Coming Out as an Atheist: Local and Embodied Self-Performance on YouTube

1.2 Religion in Sweden (RISE)

1.3 Religion and Young People in Sweden

1.3.a Youth and Religion. A survey of the role of religion for young people’s living conditions in Sweden.

1.3.b YARG: Young adults and religion in a global perspective

1.4 Gender, Religion and Secularity

1.4.a Life stories at the intersection of religion and gender: transgender with a Jewish Orthodox background

1.4.b The reluctant reformists of Islam – an ethnographic study of Muslim feminist in Scandinavia

1.5 Politics and Religion

1.5.a Commercial advertising and collective action

1.5.b Religion and politics in hybrid media spaces

Publications Theme 1
The list contains publications by researchers active in the Impact programme

Completed projects