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Mia Lövheim and Stig Hjarvard

During the last decade the framework of mediatization theory has been introduced in the field of media, religion and culture as a parallel perspective to the “mediation of religion” approach, allowing new questions to be posed that align with religious change within Europe. This article provides a critical review of existing research applying mediatization of religion theory, focusing on key issues raised by its critics as well as how the theory have moved the research field forward. These issues concern the concept of religion, institution and social change, religious authority, and the application of mediatization theory outside the North-Western European context where it originated. The article argues that an institutional approach to mediatization is a relevant tool for analyzing change as a dynamic process in which the logics of particular forms of media influence practices, values and relations within particular manifestations of religion across various levels of analysis.

Adriaan van Klinken and Nella van den Brandt

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.


John-Kåre Vederhus and Magnhild Høie


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.

Mauricio Albarracín and Mauricio Albarracín

In 2011 the Colombian Constitutional Court laid the groundwork for gay marriage, ruling it unconstitutional to exclude same-sex couples from the benefits of legal marriage. Instead of extending marriage to same-sex couples, however, the Court’s decision left it to Congress to pass a law regulating such unions. Sharply divided on the issue, Congress failed to act. The then-Inspector General, a conservative Catholic, launched a wide-ranging legal and moral attack on marriage rights for same-sex couples, an attack which lasted until the Constitutional Court in 2016 expressly authorized these weddings. The attack included not only briefs and legal actions but also disciplinary action against public officials that celebrated same-sex weddings. This article seeks to unpack both the subtle and overt ways in which religious homophobia reflects and is reflected in popular culture and argues for a complex understanding of the relationship between homophobia in popular culture, religious definition of homosexuality as sinful, and the recourse to Constitutional Law by advocates for and against same-sex marriage.

José Manuel Morán Faúndes

In Latin America, the agenda of sexual and reproductive rights advocated by the feminist and LGBTI movements has challenged the hegemony of the sexual order held by traditionalist sectors, especially the hierarchy of the Catholic Church and conservative evangelical churches. These religious groups have reacted, in turn, to arrest the advance of feminist and LGBTI agendas. Beyond conservative Catholic and evangelical hierarchies, opposition activists also include religious academic institutions, politicians, Christian lay movements, and civil society groups, among others, all committed to a more restrictive view of sexuality. One important strategy of this ‘Pro-Life’ activism in recent years has been the conformation of non-governmental organizations (NGOs). This article offers an analysis of the emergence and development of ‘Pro-Life’ NGOs in Argentina. Using both quantitative and qualitative data, it examines three strategic movements made by these NGOs from the 1980s to the present: a state-political turn that favored strategies aimed to colonize the state and to impact sexual policies and the law; a blurring of religious identities; and a process of federalization and civil ecumenism.