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'Stay Awhile and Listen': Understanding the Dynamics of Mediatization, Authority, and Literacy in Swedish Religious Education
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Theology, Department of Theology.
2019 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Description
Abstract [en]

The aim of this article-based dissertation is to explore the role media play in Swedish Religious Education (RE). The purpose is to study Swedish RE teachers’ practices and how these can be related to various dynamics of mediatization, authority, and literacy. Conducted within the Teaching Religion in Late Modern Sweden project at Uppsala University, this study draws on a national survey, as well as semi-structured interviews and classroom observations with 22 RE teachers. Four specific research questions are posed, each addressed separately in four articles. (1) What kinds of media materials do Swedish RE teachers use in their teaching? (2) What kinds of media dynamics are present in RE classrooms where media materials are used? (3) How can RE teachers’ and students’ engagements with mediated religion be analysed from a multiple media literacies perspective? And, (4) how do RE teachers construct authority on religion in a mediatized situation? The first question is approached through a quantitative analysis of survey material, while the three remaining questions were analysed by the use of qualitative thematic analysis of the observations and interviews. The study finds that RE teachers in Sweden use and relate to various forms of media to a large extent in their daily teaching practices, and that these engagements with mediated religion illustrate the complex balance between the individual agency of the teacher on the one hand, and the media dynamics of amplification, framing and performative agency, and co-structuring, on the other. The teachers’ practices in relation to this are in the study viewed as a form of institutional work that is both caused by, and a contributing factor to, an increased mediatization of contemporary Swedish RE. The findings of the four articles are discussed in light of previous research on mediatization of religion in a Nordic context, specifically with regard to literacy and authority. The author argues that by studying these processes within an educational setting – a context that until recently has been under-explored within mediatization of religion research – the study provides new empirical as well as theoretical knowledge not only to the field of sociology of religion, but also to research on authority and religious education.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2019. , p. 84
Series
Studies in Religion and Society, ISSN 1654-630X ; 17
National Category
Religious Studies
Research subject
Sociology of Religion
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-395675ISBN: 978-91-513-0800-5 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-395675DiVA, id: diva2:1364972
Public defence
2019-12-13, Hall IV, Universitetshuset, Biskopsgatan 3, Uppsala, 14:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2019-11-22 Created: 2019-10-23 Last updated: 2019-11-22
List of papers
1. The Use of Teaching Materials in Religious Education in Sweden: A quantitative analysis of Swedish religious education teachers’ reported use of teaching materials in RE classrooms
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Use of Teaching Materials in Religious Education in Sweden: A quantitative analysis of Swedish religious education teachers’ reported use of teaching materials in RE classrooms
2017 (English)In: British Journal of Religious Education, ISSN 0141-6200, E-ISSN 1740-7931Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Recent studies show that religious education (RE) and various media outlets serve as increasingly important arenas for religious socialisation among Swedish youths. At the same time it has been shown that media material, for example in the form of various news media, often make their way into RE classrooms to be used as materials alongside the more traditional textbooks. However, little quantitative research has been conducted in order to map RE teachers’ selection and use of materials in their classrooms, and what factors are involved in this selection. A nationally representative survey among 1292 RE teachers was conducted, and the results clearly show that textbooks are the most popular form of material, followed by pictures, sacred texts, documentaries, television news and news articles. Out of the relevant background variables it was primarily school form, age, gender and religiosity that seemed to influence the teachers’ choices of material. The author concludes that familiarity with a certain form of material through personal experiences is a likely explanation for many of the correlations found, and that further research is needed in order to explore the potential complexities that arise in the juxtaposition of classroom and media logics.

Keywords
religious education; religious socialisation; teachers; teaching materials
National Category
Religious Studies
Research subject
Sociology of Religion
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-395671 (URN)
Available from: 2019-10-23 Created: 2019-10-23 Last updated: 2019-10-23
2. Perspectives: Mediatized Religious Education
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Perspectives: Mediatized Religious Education
2018 (English)In: Contesting Religion: The Dynamics of Cultural Conflicts in Scandinavia / [ed] Knut Lundby, Walter de Gruyter, 2018Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This chapter presents two empirical case studies of religious education (RE) in Norway and in Sweden. In addition to introducing the Upper Secondary School section of the present volume, the chapter explores how media materials and discourses are being extensively used in a similar fashion as part of RE in both countries. Media materials and discourses serve to both contextualize the content of the subject and to legitimize RE by showing why religion is relevant for contemporary Norwegian and Swedish society; thus, they form an important part of the RE lessons. Applying a mediatization perspective, we argue that this use of media impacts both the choice of topics addressed and the way they are presented, as it inserts various media dynamics into the pedagogical practice of religious education.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Walter de Gruyter, 2018
Keywords
Mediatization – religious education – representations of religion – media materials
National Category
Religious Studies
Research subject
Sociology of Religion
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-395672 (URN)978-3-11-050171-1 (ISBN)
Available from: 2019-10-23 Created: 2019-10-23 Last updated: 2019-10-23
3. Multiple Media Literacy in Religious Education
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Multiple Media Literacy in Religious Education
(English)In: Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
Abstract [en]

This article takes as its point of departure the view that, in Sweden, media in various forms act as one of the main settings where young people encounter religion, both in schools and elsewhere. With a seemingly ever-expanding development of communication technology, researchers and politicians alike are arguing for the need to educate our citizens in media literacy. By applying the concept of multiple media literacy, the authors of this article argue that depending on if media is viewed as (1) conduits, (2) languages, or (3) environments, the skills needed to critically engage with various kinds of media differs. Using Swedish religious education (RE) as an illustrative example, the authors conclude that increased focus within RE on the production variables, and on the complex nature of social media, would likely result in a richer media literacy for students and teachers alike.

Keywords
religious education; multiple media literacy; mediatization; media materials; Sweden
National Category
Religious Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-395673 (URN)
Available from: 2019-10-23 Created: 2019-10-23 Last updated: 2019-10-23
4. Authority on Religion in Mediatized Classrooms
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Authority on Religion in Mediatized Classrooms
(English)In: Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
Abstract [en]

This article explores how teachers of religious education in Sweden construct their authority on religion. Employing the conceptual understanding of teachers of religious education as co-authors, and their authority as relational, the author discusses how authority on religion can be gained and maintained in a society characterized by the intersection of secularization, multiculturalism and media saturation. Through an analysis of a particular case, the author concludes that various media play an integral part in the construction of the teacher’s authority on religion, and that the concepts of co-structuring, amplification, and framing and performative agency are well suited for exploring the relationship between authority and media in this context. In exploring a setting often overlooked in previous research on the interplay between media, religion and authority, this article contributes to the field by adding an empirically informed discussion on shifting authority on religion outside religious institutions or organizations.

Keywords
religious education, authority, mediatization, media dynamics, Sweden
National Category
Religious Studies
Research subject
Sociology of Religion
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-395674 (URN)
Available from: 2019-10-23 Created: 2019-10-23 Last updated: 2019-10-23

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