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Lynn Schofield Clark and Angel Hinzo

To explore the role of contestation in mediatization processes, this article utilizes digital and visual methods to analyze instances of Indigenous digital survivance. Focusing on recent examples at the heart of the #NoDAPL movement allows us to flesh out and argue for a decolonizing approach to the study of mediatization, which we define, following Clark (2011), as the process by which collective uses of communication media (1) extend the development of independent media industries and their circulation of narratives, (2) contribute to new forms of action and interaction in the social world, and (3) give shape to how we think of humanity and our place in the world. The article therefore concludes with suggestions regarding the further development of methodological approaches to studying processes of mediatization in relation to contestations over normative claims and pragmatic concerns regarding the role of media systems in our collective future.

Mona Abdel-Fadil

Affect theory often overlooks decades of anthropological, feminist, queer, and postcolonial scholarship on emotion. I build on this extensive scholarship of emotion and use my online ethnography of a Facebook group that promotes the public visibility of Christianity as a springboard to build a conceptual framework of the politics of affect. I address three theoretical gaps: 1) the lack of distinction between different emotions, 2) how affect is often performed for someone, and 3) the varying intensities of emotion. I delve into the intricate ways in which emotions fuel identities, worldviews, and their contestations, and how fake news may come to be perceived as affectively factual. This article deepens our understanding of the role of affect in polemic and mediatized conflicts. The role of emotion in religious conflicts and identity politics is not simply analytically useful, but is, at times, the very fabric of which political ideas are made.

Jeroen Temperman

Article 20(2) of the un’s International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (iccpr) is an odd human rights clause. It provides that “[a]ny advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law.” Accordingly, this provision does not appear to codify a fundamental right but rather a sui generis state obligation. The present article aims at providing a legal taxonomy of this international incitement clause, ultimately also answering the question as to whether, despite its unique formulation as speech prohibition, it contains a justiciable right to protection from incitement.

Arif A. Jamal and Jaclyn L. Neo

This essay introduces the Special Issue of the Journal. It discusses how changing religious demographics and heightened religious plurality are challenging existing thinking about, and patterns of, state-religion relations and the nature of the ‘secular state’. The essay briefly surveys each of the papers in the Special Issue and highlights that one of the key lessons that emerges from the papers is the importance of context. As the contexts evolve, fresh thinking and new arrangements would be needed.

Series:

John-Kåre Vederhus and Magnhild Høie

Abstract

Health policy organizations recommend that health professionals refer patients with a substance use disorder to addiction-related self-help groups. However, the most common groups, the 12-step groups (e.g., Narcotics Anonymous [NA]) have religious wording (e.g., God, Higher Power, prayer) in their program that may cause potential participants to be sceptical, especially in secular cultures. From seven interviews with seasoned members of NA in Norway, we explored how the Higher Power concept of NA’s 12-step program is understood, how the respondents relate to their Higher Power in daily life, and whether they describe it as helpful in their recovery. A cross-case thematic analysis with systematic text condensation was used to analyze the data. Even the highly integrated NA members recounted an initial problem with the Higher Power concept. Eventually, the respondents realized that it was up to them to define the nature of their Higher Power. The respondents also defined the concept in secular or pseudo-religious ways. They were pragmatic believers; from early on they practised the recommended spiritual principles in NA (e.g., honesty and altruism), and dogmatism was considered unnecessary. The respondents presented relating to their Higher Power as vital for recovery, as they found motivation and strength to cope with the everyday process of staying clean and to continue in a recovery process. The present study sheds light on how secular and/or pragmatic, pseudo-religious worldviews can function similarly to specific religious views by helping people cope with demanding life experiences. The openness in NA toward diverse worldviews facilitates mutual support between members in a recovery process, despite differences in religious or spiritual persuasions. Health professionals should help potential participants overcome initial scepticism towards 12-step groups in order to gain access to the abstinence-based support obtainable in these fellowships.

Yoko Hayami

Abstract

The success story of nineteenth-century Baptist missionary work among minority ethnic groups in Burma was one well-known facet of the early beginnings of modern Protestant missions. Behind this success was the extensive travel and evangelizing work done by native Karen Christians. In the face of the unexpected speed and zeal with which the Karen converts spread the gospel, to which I apply the term “culture of evangelism”, the Baptist mission in Burma was formed through an interactive process of continual self-reformulation, negotiation, and compromise on crucial matters such as baptism, ordination, self-support, division of roles, and language use. This has had far-reaching effects in shaping the Baptist churches in Myanmar today.

Benno van den Toren and Klaas L. Bom

Abstract

This article explores the importance of “action research” and “participatory research” (ar and pr) for intercultural theology. After introducing these research strategies, it provides a theological rationale for their use in intercultural theology: (1) they move beyond false dichotomies between theoretical and practical theology; (2) they understand professional theologians as part of communities of believers; and (3) they allow for intercultural encounters which approach “the other” as partners in research rather than merely objects of research. Using the example of a research project which studies attitudes to the interface between science and Christian faith among African university students and academics, the article considers three crucial issues for the value and use of ar and pr in intercultural theology: (1) the intrinsic motivation of the partners for intercultural research projects, (2) the role of shared visions of change and (3) the question of truth implied in visions of human flourishing.1

Mona Abdel-Fadil

The Norwegian Facebook page Yes to Wearing the Cross Whenever and Wherever I Choose was initially created to protest the prohibition of the cross for nrk news anchors. Yet, many of the discussions and audience interactions transpired into heated religio-political debates with strong elements of anti-Muslim, xenophobic, anti-secular, and anti-atheist sentiments. This study aims to contribute to a more nuanced understanding of the interplay between media and religion by providing new insights on the variety of ways in which media audiences may ‘add a series of dynamics to conflicts, namely, amplification, framing and performative agency, and co-structuring’ and ‘perform conflict’, as formulated by Hjarvard et al. It is argued that mediatized conflicts with inherent trigger themes, which tug at core religio-political identity issues, also tend to evoke emotional responses, which, in turn, inspire social media users to perform the conflict in ways that multiply the conflict(s).

Knut Lundby, Stig Hjarvard, Mia Lövheim and Haakon H. Jernsletten

Based on a comparative project on media and religion across Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, this article analyzes relationships between religiosity and political attitudes in Scandinavia and how these connect with attitudes regarding the representation of Islam in various media. Data comes from population-wide surveys conducted in the three countries in April 2015. Most Scandinavians relate ‘religion’ with conflict, and half of the population perceives Islam as a threat to their national culture. Scandinavians thus perceive religion in terms of political tensions and predominantly feel that news media should serve a critical function towards Islam and religious conflicts. Finally, the results of the empirical analysis are discussed in view of the intertwined processes of politicization of Islam and mediatization of religion.

Effie Fokas

Abstract

This contribution considers the impact of Kokkinakis at the grassroots level: to what extent do grassroots level actors know about the case of Kokkinakis and see in it an opportunity to further their own religion-related rights claims? To what extent has the case inspired social actors such as rights activists, cause lawyers or faith group members to mobilise for their own religion-related rights, whether in court, in the halls of government, or in the streets? Has Kokkinakis left a mark on the individual citizen with concerns to do with religious freedoms? These questions are addressed through empirical research conducted on the indirect effects of ECtHR religion-related case law, including Kokkinakis, at the grassroots level in Greece.