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Looking at Change: Perspectives on Mapping and Measuring Religion in Local, Regional and National Settings (1/2)

A114
Panel Chair: Marie Vejrup Nielsen | Thursday, August 27, 1:30-3 p.m. | Venue

The session will include papers from members of the international CARD-network (Critical Analysis of Religious Diversity) and representatives of the Danish Pluralism Study-research group. The panel will in two sessions examine the issue of how we study change and continuity in contemporary religion through projects that map religion through quantitative and/or qualitative approaches in relation to a specific city, region or nation. What is the role of understanding religion and/or religions, when we examine change? How does Hinduism change in a Northern European context? How does Christianity transform in response to modern, western consumer society? And what are the challenges to our concepts of religion, when boundaries between religion and wellness-cultures become blurred? How can we examine the question of religious diversity from a scholarly perspective? We are interested in perspectives on both theoretical and methodological dimensions of mapping projects.

Andrew Dawson

Religious Diversity and the Shifting Sands of Political Prioritisation: Reflections on the UK Context

This paper examines religious diversity in the UK by relating organisational developments on the ground with overarching changes in political prioritisation. The paper identifies four key components which influence typically late-modern socio-political engagements with religious diversity. Two of these components, societal diversification and universal rights, form a general backdrop to such engagements; while the other two are specific state emphases respectively comprising a ‘soft’ agenda of social cohesion and civic inclusion and a ‘hard’ agenda concerned with the delivery of goods and services through non-state media. Taking the state-sponsored Inter Faith Network (IFN) as a case, it explicates the impact of the progressive prioritisation of a ‘hard’ agenda upon organisations originally established to pursue ‘soft’ aims through ‘religious diversity’ practices. The paper concludes by suggesting that IFN’s recent relaxation of full-membership criteria reflects not so much a victory for previously excluded minority groups as indication of a diminishing strategic importance within a changing UK context.

Marie Vejrup Nielsen

Mapping motivations – new activities and old churches

This paper examines one case of a historical church responding to societal changes and thereby focuses on how historical church religion is changing in a contemporary setting. The paper will present a study of the motivations of the participants in new church activities in light of current theories of individualization, patterns of consumption of religious activities, and religious socialization. This will enable a discussion of the motivations of both the organizers and the participants in the activity in light of questions of how institutional religion is being transformed in this context. Through the last 10 year new initiatives have emerged in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark (Folkekirken), such as Baby hymn singing. The paper will present the development of this specific initiative in a process from a bottom-up activity in the hands of music professionals to a top-down activity in the hands of pastors or other church professionals.

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Thematic Outline

University Map (pdf, 192 KB)