Different countries count their population and map the religious landscape in different ways. This chapter compare and contrast the empirical ways in which population level religious adherence is recorded in Denmark and New Zealand. The purpose of this chapter is to provide a critical reflexive approach to national level religious diversity statistics by undertaking a comparison of affiliation data from Denmark and New Zealand. Where New Zealand measures adherence through its national population census and conversely, Denmark measures it through localized measurements. A clash between these ideas of uniform membership and the clear distinctions between different religions with what is a messier empirical reality is documented. It is demonstrated that the method/s chosen to collect national data have consequences for scholarship because the numbers produced both influence and construct the way in which we conceptualise religious diversity and the questions scholars ask of that data.
In the introduction to this volume, the argument for the need for a critical approach to the study of the phenomenon of religious diversity is made. The chapter begins by tracing the recent evolution of the concept of religious diversity in the sociology of religion. It notes that the term has become increasingly popular in the 2000s. It then shifts to problematize the term religious diversity, by specifically focusing on how it affects and implicitly directs the object of study. The introduction argues that the term means different things in different contexts. Consequently, it contests that a careful methodological and theoretical examination of the term is required by this volume. The editors point to one of the overall goals of the volume which aims to promote a better awareness and self-reflexivity of the necessary choices being made in religious diversity research.
The religious landscape in Asia has long been diverse, with various forms of syncretic traditions and pragmatic practices continuously having been challenged by centrifugal forces of differentiation. This anthology explores representations and managements of religious diversity in Japan, China, South Korea, Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India and diaspora religions originating in these countries, seen through the lenses of history, identity, state, ritual and geography. In addition to presenting empirical cases, the chapters also address theoretical and methodological reflections using Asia as a laboratory for further comparative research of the relevance and use of 'religious diversity'.
Religious Diversity in Asia was made possible by a framework grant from the Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation allowing the grant holder (Jørn Borup) and two colleagues (Marianne Q. Fibiger and Lene Kühle) to host a workshop at Aarhus University and to co-arrange workshops in Delhi and Nagoya. We would like to thank professors Arshad Alam and Michiaki Okuyama for hosting these latter workshops at Jawaharlal Nehru University and Nanzan University, and we would like to thank Professor Chong-Suh Kim for the invitation for Jørn Borup to visit Seoul National University. We would also like to extend our gratitude to all the scholars who participated in the workshops and to all the authors we subsequently invited to contribute to our endeavor to create this academically relevant volume.
Drawing on international and thematic case studies,
The Critical Analysis of Religious Diversity asks its readers to pay attention to the assumptions and processes by which scholars, religious practitioners and states construct religious diversity. The study has three foci: theoretical and methodological issues; religious diversity in non-Western contexts; and religious diversity in social contexts. Together, these trans-contextual studies are utilised to develop a critical analysis exploring how agency, power and language construct understandings of religious diversity. As a result, the book argues that reflexive scholarship needs to consider that the dynamics of diversification and homogenisation are fundamental to understanding social and religious life, that religious diversity is a Western concept, and that definitions of ‘religious diversity’ are often entangled by and within dynamic empirical realities.
The similarities between research in ‘new religious movements’ and radicalization has been noticed by several scholars. This article however attempt to view the entire logic of ‘radicalization controversies’ through the lens of ‘cult controveries’. With a point of departure in material from Denmark, similarities are found between the position of scholars attempting to provide nuanced understandings of complex phenomena as well as in dynamics between radical groups and counter-jihad groups. The article suggests that current understandings of processes of radicalisation, de-radicalisation and securitisation may benefit from insights from comparisons with anti-cult movements setting the agenda for public discourses on NRM movements in the 1980s.