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This book is an empirical comparative study of the complexity of religion in the public spheres of the five Nordic countries. The result of a five-year collaborative research project, the work examines how increasingly religiously diverse Nordic societies regulate, debate, and negotiate religion in the state, the polity, the media, and civil society. The project finds that there are seemingly contradictory religious trends at different social levels: a growing secularization at the individual level, and a deprivatization of religion in politics, the media, and civil society. It offers a critique of the current theories of secularization and the return of religion, introducing religious complexity as an alternative concept to understand these paradoxes. This book is for scholars, students, and readers with an interest in understanding the public role of religion in the West.
The main focus of the book is institutional change in the Scandinavian model, with special emphasis on Norway. There are many reasons to pay closer attention to the Norwegian case when it comes to analyses of changes in the public sphere. In the country’s political history, the arts and the media played a particular role in the processes towards sovereignty at the beginning of the 20th century. On a par with the other Scandinavian countries, Norway is in the forefront in the world in the distribution and uses of Internet technology. As an extreme case, the most corporatist society within the family of the “Nordic Model”, it offers an opportunity both for intriguing case studies and for challenging and refining existing theory on processes of institutional change in media policy and cultural policy. It supplements two recent, important books on political economy in Scandinavia: Varieties of Liberalization and the New Politics of Social Solidarity (Kathleen Thelen, 2014), and The Political Construction of Business Interests (Cathie Jo Martin and Duane Swank, 2013). There are further reasons to pay particular attention to the Scandinavian, and more specifically the Norwegian cases: (i) They are to varying degrees neo-corporatist societies, characterized by ongoing bargaining over social and political reform processes. From a theoretical perspective this invites reflections which, to some extent, are at odds with the dominant conceptions of institutional change. Neither models of path dependency nor models of aggregate, incremental change focus on the continuous social bargaining over institutional change. (ii) Despite recent processes of liberalization, common to the Western world as a whole, corporatism implies a close connection between state, public sphere, cultural life, and religion. This also means that institutions are closely bundled, in an even stronger way than assumed for example in the Varieties of Capitalism literature. Furthermore, we only have scarce insight in the way the different spheres of corporatism are connected and interact. In the proposed edited volume we have collected historical-institutional case studies from a broad set of social fields (a detailed outline of contents and contributors is attached): • Critical assessments of Jürgen Habermas’ theory of the public sphere • Can the public sphere be considered an institution? • The central position of the public sphere in social and political change in Norway • Digital transformations and effects of the growing PR industry on the public sphere • Institutionalization of social media in local politics and voluntary organizations • Legitimation work in the public sphere • freedom of expression and warning in the workplace • “Return of religion” to the public sphere, and its effects
The need to reimagine religion and belief is precipitated by their greater visibility in public life. Meanwhile, social policy responses often see them from a problem-based, rather than an asset-based, approach. However, with growing diversity of religion and belief in every sector comes the potential for new dialogues across previously impermeable policy and disciplinary silos. This volume brings together leading international authors to critically consider these challenges within legal and policy frameworks, including security and cohesion, welfare, law, health and social care, inequality, cohesion, extremism, migration and abuse. It challenges policy makers to re-imagine religion and belief as an integral part of public life that contains resources, practices, forms of knowledge and experience that are essential to a coherent policy approach to diversity, enhanced democracy and participation.
As Scandinavian societies experience increased ethno-religious diversity, their Christian-Lutheran heritage and strong traditions of welfare and solidarity are being challenged and contested. This book explores conflicts related to religion as they play out in public broadcasting, social media, local civic settings, and schools. It examines how the mediatization of these controversies influences people's engagement with contested issues about religion, and redraws the boundaries between inclusion and exclusion. FEATURED CONTRIBUTORS Lynn Schofield Clark, Professor of Media, Film, and Journalism at the University of Denver, Colorado, USA Marie Gillespie, Professor of Sociology at the Open University, UK Birgit Meyer, Professor of Religious Studies at Utrecht University, the Netherlands
The increasing significance and visibility of relationships between religion and public arenas and institutions following the fall of communism in Europe provide the core focus of this fascinating book. Leading international scholars consider the religious and political role of Christian Orthodoxy in the Russian Federation, Romania, Georgia and Ukraine alongside the revival of old, indigenous religions, often referred to as 'shamanistic' and look at how, despite Islam’s long history and many adherents in the south, Islamophobic attitudes have increasingly been added to traditional anti-Semitic, anti-Western or anti-liberal elements of Russian nationalism. Contrasts between the church’s position in the post-communist nation building process of secular Estonia with its role in predominantly Catholic Poland are also explored. Religion, Politics and Nation-Building in Post-Communist Countries gives a broad overview of the political importance of religion in the Post-Soviet space but its interest and relevance extends far beyond the geographical focus, providing examples of the challenges in the spheres of public, religious and social policy for all transitional countries.
Is it true that religion is weakening in modern times, or are we facing religious resurgence? What is fundamentalism? How does it emerge and grow? What role does religion play in ethnic and national conflicts? Is religion a fundamental driving force or do political leaders use religion for their own purposes? Do all religions oppress women? These are some of the questions addressed in this book. An Introduction to the Sociology of Religion provides an overview of sociological theories of contemporary religious life. Some chapters are organized according to topic. Others offer brief presentations of classical and contemporary sociologists from Karl Marx to Zygmunt Bauman and their perspectives on social life, including religion. Throughout the book, illustrations and examples are taken from several religious traditions.
This study includes three social movements: the Lofthus revolt, the Thrane movement, and the early labor movement; and two religious movements: the Hauge movement and Norwegian Methodism. The analysis examines how they mobilized resources to reach their goals, the external and internal factors that influenced their degrees of success and failure, and the interactions and exchanges between them. It uses a combination of resource mobilization theory and political process theory for analysis.

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