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.
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Inger Furseth is Professor of Sociology and Human Geography, University of Oslo, Norway, and adjunct professor at KIFO Centre for Church Research, Norway. Some of her books include A Comparative Study of Social and Religious Movements in Norway, 1780s-1905 (2002), From Quest for Truth to Being Oneself (2006), and An Introduction to the Sociology of Religion (2006, co-author). She was the director of the research program, The Role of Religion in the Public Sphere: A Comparative Study of the Five Nordic Countries 1998-2008 (NOREL 2009-2014).
List of TablesPrefaceForewordCraig Calhoun1 Introduction Inger Furseth1.1 Why the Nordic Countries?1.2 Concepts1.3 Religious Complexity1.4 The Presence and Visibility of Religion in the Public Sphere1.5 This BookReferences2 Changing Religious Landscapes in the Nordic Countries Inger Furseth, Lars Ahlin, Kimmo Ketola, Annette Leis-Peters, and Bjarni Randver Sigurvinsson2.1 Stable Democracies and Changing Welfare States2.2 Religious Changes2.3 Declining Lutheran Majority Churches2.4 Religious Minorities2.5 Holistic Spirituality2.6 Religious Faith and Practices in the Populations2.7 Religious ComplexityNotesReferences3 Religion and State: Complexity in Change Lene Kühle, Ulla Schmidt, Brian Arly Jacobsen, and Per Pettersson3.1 Law and Religion: A Specific Nordic Way? 3.2 Public Rituals: Opening of Parliaments as an Example3.3 Religion in Public Institutions3.4 Religion in Public Schools 3.5 Religious Complexity and State-Religion RelationsNotesReferences 4 Religion on the Political Agenda Mia Lövheim, Jonas Lindberg, Pål Ketil Botvar, Henrik Reintoft Christensen, Kati Niemelä, and Anders Bäckström4.1 Religion and Politics in the Nordic Countries4.2 Political and Religious Views4.3 Religion in Political Party Platforms 4.4 Religion in Parliamentary Debates4.5 The Majority Churches in Nordic Parliamentary Debates on Same-Sex Unions4.6 Religious Complexity in Nordic Political LifeNotesReferences5 Religion and the Media: Continuity, Complexity, and Mediatization Knut Lundby, Henrik Reintoft Christensen, Ann Kristin Gresaker, Mia Lövheim, Kati Niemelä, and Sofia Sjö - with Marcus Moberg and Árni Svanur Daníelsson5.1 The Nordic Media System and its Transformations5.2 Implications of the Media Changes: Mediatization of Religion5.3 Journalism on Religion in the Daily Press 5.4 Popular Religion: Film and Lifestyle Magazines5.5 Religious Media: Broadcasting and the Internet5.6 Islam in Nordic Media5.7 Media Contributions to Religious ComplexityNotesReferences6 Faith and Worldview Communities and their Leaders - Inward or Outward Looking? Inger Furseth, Lars Ahlin, Kimmo Ketola, Annette Leis-Peters, Pål Repstad, Bjarni Randver Sigurvinsson, and Sivert Skålvoll Urstad6.1 Faith and Worldview Communities as Part of Civil Society6.2 The Development of Interfaith Infrastructures6.3 Leaders of Faith and Worldview Communities in Norway6.4 Growing Visibility of Religion in Civil SocietyNotesReferences7 Secularization, Deprivatization or Religious Complexity? Inger Furseth7.1 Religious Complexity in the Nordic Countries7.2 The Public Presence of Good, Bad, and Feelgood Religion7.3 Gender - at the Center of Controversy7.4 Interpreting and Explaining the FindingsReferencesAppendix: MethodologyIndexNotes on Contributors
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