1.1. Media and religious change

The projects that make up this work package shares a common aim of exploring representations of religion in various forms of media, how media shape the place and significance of religion in Swedish society, and how media can become a platform for the performance of identities where religious themes and values consist an important part. Is religion treated as a resource or as a threat to the formation of modern society and identity – or both? These questions are of increasing importance in a society where media has become a central arena for the formation of values and identities. Studies include content analysis of programs about religion in public service-media, opinion material in Swedish daily press, themes of wellbeing and spirituality in women’s magazines, commercial texts and You-Tube videos.

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

This project studies the interaction between media and religion with regard to conflicts and tensions related to the presence of religion in the public sphere, in Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Three case studies analyze how religion is representation and thematized in public service-media and further negotiated through debates in social media, in public schools and in two religiously diverse local communities. The project is funded by the Norwegian Research Council (SAMKUL) and hosted by the University of Oslo. The project runs between 2014 – 2017. http://www.hf.uio.no/imk/english/research/projects/comrel/index.html

Three Swedish case studies are conducted within the Impact of religion programme:

  • Two new formats for public service television that attempt to present a dialogue rather tha conflict oriented model for depicting religion – the programs Runda Bordet: religion (SVT2 November 2014) and Jag är muslim (SV2 October – November 2016).

  • The representation of Muslims and Islam in the current affairs radio program Människor och tro (SR, P1), as expressed in choice of topics, guests and through the interactive formats of phone-in sessions and Facebook.

  • Uses of media material about religion in Religious Education in a selection of Swedish secondary high schools. This case study is a cooperation with the project ”Teaching Religion in Late Modern Sweden” (http://www.crs.uu.se/Forskning/aktuella-forskningsprojekt/Religionsundervisning+i+senmoderna+Sverige/)

Participating researchers: Mia Lövheim, Linnea Jensdotter, Maximilian Broberg

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

This project aims to give a multidisciplinary analysis of the construction of boundaries between “religious” and “secular” in three cases from the Swedish public debate. Previous research within the Impact Program, as well as from the US and France, indicate a need for a deeper analysis of the implications of such boundaries for the construction of Swedish identity. Researchers from the Faculty of Theology (theme 1 and 6) and the Faculty of Law (theme 2) cooperate in the project.

Research questions:

  • How are boundaries between ‘religious’ and ‘secular’ constructed in three cases within contemporary Swedish public debate: Freedom of speech and religion, discrimination and equality, and the status and rights of faith based communities?

  • What norms and values are attributed to ‘religious’ and ‘secular’?

  • Who are the main participants in these debates and in what contexts are they situated?

  • What are the implications of these distinctions for conceptions of the public role of ‘religion’ and how do they shape conceptions of national identity, minority identity, and religious pluralism?

The Missionary Church of Kopimism

A completed case study concerns the Missionary Church of Kopimism (see Nilsson, P., Enqvist, V.

(2016) Techniques of religion-making in Sweden: The case of the Missionary Church of Kopimism. Critical Research on Religion, vol. 4). The Church is built on the idea that copying and the spreading of information is an ethical right, and was recognized as a faith based community (trossamfund) in 2011. As a registered faith based community the Church qualifies as an organized and by the state approved religion, as such it is protected by Swedish constitutional law where it is stated that freedom of religion is absolute. The overarching question asked in this project is how the category of religion enables the state apparatus to produce legitimate and illegitimate subject positions and what the consequences of this production are in relation to power and ideology.

Participating researchers: Per-Erik Nilsson, Victoria Enkvist, Mia Lövheim, Ulf Zackariasson

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

This PhD project examines how self-positioned atheists perform identity in relation to their non-religious narratives on the socio-technological platform YouTube. Looking at these narratives as memory artefacts, this research further examines how these inform current identity performances in the research participant’s lives, as well as their ongoing negotiation of non-religious identity. This qualitative (n)ethnographic study will consist of video material and interviews. Actor Network Theory will be used to reflect back on theories of mediatization, technology and embodiment, and performativity. The purpose is to examine the new visibility of atheism and non-religion in a sphere that blurs private and public, especially highlighting the experience of women atheists.

Participating researcher: Evelina Lundmark

Mia Lövheim
Mia Lövheim
Linnea Jensdotter
Maximillian Broberg
Maximilian Broberg
Per-Erik Eriksson
Per-Erik Nilsson
Victoria Enkvist
Victoria Enkvist
Ulf Zackariasson
Ulf Zackariasson
Evelina Lundmark
Evelina Lundmark