Introduction: Media and Religious Controversy

In: Journal of Religion, Media and Digital Culture
Mona Abdel-Fadil University of Oslo,

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Helge Årsheim University of Oslo,

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The phrase “religious controversies” is blunt and evocative, and immediately brings up associations to angry mobs, flag burning and, at times, inexplicable rage at seemingly mundane matters. The capacity of religion, whether in its doctrinal, social or institutional form, to generate, propagate and exacerbate controversy appears endless. While this capacity may not be unique to religion, nor recent in origin, the last couple of decades have seen what would appear to be unprecedented levels of religious controversies around the world. This introduction provides a brief backdrop to the overarching theme of mediatized religious controversies, and identifies some cross-cutting issues that have arisen across the different contributions. We identify some general patterns among the controversies dealt with in this special issue, and ask how these patterns may inspire new research efforts.

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