6 June 2014

MEF in Scandinavian project on mediatization of religion

The Norwegian research council has granted 9 million NOK for the project “Engaging with Conflicts in Mediatized Religious Environments. A Comparative Scandinavian Study” from 2014-17. The project is headed by professor Knut Lundby in Oslo. Professor Stig Hjarvard from MEF is responsible for the Danish part of the project.

The project addresses the intertwined role of media and religion in contemporary conflicts and tensions. The main aim of the project is to examine how religion in public spaces becomes thematised and enacted through the media and further articulated in social interaction, both as objects of conflict and resources to handle tensions. Through this, the project develops knowledge about the changing patterns of social interaction and communication during times of conflict in Norway and the other Scandinavian societies The conflicts that are addressed are around the legitimate uses of public spaces. The empirical studies relate to three arenas where people engage with conflicts over religious symbols, artefacts and claims made visible through the media:

1) contested media voices in the main public service broadcasters in Scandinavia

2) local communities with mixed religious population and a large segment of Muslim citizens

3) classrooms in public schools with pupils from varied religious backgrounds.

Researchers from Uppsala and Copenhagen contribute to the international comparison. The project is theoretically informed by research on the mediatization of religion. This concerns the restructuring of culture and social relations following the intensification of mediated communication in contemporary society, including the moulding of religious imaginations and interactions.