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I’m a Believer – But I’ll Be Damned if I’m Religious : Belief and Religion in the Greater Copenhagen Area : A Focus Group Study

Rosen, Ina LU (2009) In Lund Studies in Sociology of Religion 8.
Abstract
This book is a contribution to the discussion about religion in contemporary Western society, characterized by the privatization of religion. The concept religion is not easily operational and does not carry meaning or implications that remain valid or consistent over time. It must be re-substantiated in order to remain descriptive and operational. This book’s ambition is to explore a means of re-substantiating the concept of religion. Data created in focus groups on 1) What does it mean to be a believer today, and 2) Can one be more or less religious shows that religion as a concept pertains to five distinct aspects; belief, routinized religion, religion-as-heritage, practice and tradition. While these aspects are in themselves not novel,... (More)
This book is a contribution to the discussion about religion in contemporary Western society, characterized by the privatization of religion. The concept religion is not easily operational and does not carry meaning or implications that remain valid or consistent over time. It must be re-substantiated in order to remain descriptive and operational. This book’s ambition is to explore a means of re-substantiating the concept of religion. Data created in focus groups on 1) What does it mean to be a believer today, and 2) Can one be more or less religious shows that religion as a concept pertains to five distinct aspects; belief, routinized religion, religion-as-heritage, practice and tradition. While these aspects are in themselves not novel, it is interesting that these aspects do not pertain directly to a common core.

Beliefs emerge as highly personal emotions and reflections that reside in the inner life of each individual and are developed cognitively through life experiences. Beliefs are actualized ad-hoc in respect to context. Routinized religion pertains to the religious system and institution, the organization to which one can belong. Certain practices also belong in this domain, such as sermons, the Eucharist, etc. These practices are perceived as alien by most focus group participants. There are practices that are embraced by all participants, namely traditions. They are acknowledged to have originated in a routinized religious context but have become devoid of religious content to most of the people, who participate in them. They are upheld for the affirmation of social life and shared heritage. This is where the wider religion-as-heritage comes in. It signifies the cultural history, the norms, values, perceptions, etc. that are shared by people, whose heritage lies in that given church or religious organization.

Indeed the processes of privatization are conducive to segregating belief from religion. Belief is relegated into the inner minds of individuals, whereas religion is entrenched in institutions and denominations in a pluralized market. The increasing gap between these two spheres gives rise to a social domain in which traditions and heritage become shared ways of establishing bonds and affinities and staging belonging in respect to other kinds of traditions and heritages. For this reason it is assuredly the case that religion in the conventional mode, what this book calls packaged religion, is bound to decline, whereas unpacked religion, where several aspects perform different functions in respect to the individual and society is more descriptive of the norm in Danish society. (Less)
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author
supervisor
opponent
  • Professor Repstad, Pål, Universitetet i Agder, Norge
organization
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
focus groups, theory, privatization, society., Copenhagen, Denmark, methodology, sociology, anthropology, belief, religion
in
Lund Studies in Sociology of Religion
volume
8
pages
196 pages
publisher
Centrum för teologi och religionsvetenskap, Lunds universitet
defense location
Sal 118, Centrum för teologi och religionsvetenskap, Allhelgona kyrkogata 8, Lund
defense date
2009-09-07 14:15
ISSN
1651-4432
ISBN
91-974760-5-6
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
aa32c71a-1af3-434b-b554-4932287cc040 (old id 1389781)
date added to LUP
2009-05-25 10:55:06
date last changed
2016-09-19 08:44:48
@phdthesis{aa32c71a-1af3-434b-b554-4932287cc040,
  abstract     = {This book is a contribution to the discussion about religion in contemporary Western society, characterized by the privatization of religion. The concept religion is not easily operational and does not carry meaning or implications that remain valid or consistent over time. It must be re-substantiated in order to remain descriptive and operational. This book’s ambition is to explore a means of re-substantiating the concept of religion. Data created in focus groups on 1) What does it mean to be a believer today, and 2) Can one be more or less religious shows that religion as a concept pertains to five distinct aspects; belief, routinized religion, religion-as-heritage, practice and tradition. While these aspects are in themselves not novel, it is interesting that these aspects do not pertain directly to a common core. <br/><br>
Beliefs emerge as highly personal emotions and reflections that reside in the inner life of each individual and are developed cognitively through life experiences. Beliefs are actualized ad-hoc in respect to context. Routinized religion pertains to the religious system and institution, the organization to which one can belong. Certain practices also belong in this domain, such as sermons, the Eucharist, etc. These practices are perceived as alien by most focus group participants. There are practices that are embraced by all participants, namely traditions. They are acknowledged to have originated in a routinized religious context but have become devoid of religious content to most of the people, who participate in them. They are upheld for the affirmation of social life and shared heritage. This is where the wider religion-as-heritage comes in. It signifies the cultural history, the norms, values, perceptions, etc. that are shared by people, whose heritage lies in that given church or religious organization. <br/><br>
Indeed the processes of privatization are conducive to segregating belief from religion. Belief is relegated into the inner minds of individuals, whereas religion is entrenched in institutions and denominations in a pluralized market. The increasing gap between these two spheres gives rise to a social domain in which traditions and heritage become shared ways of establishing bonds and affinities and staging belonging in respect to other kinds of traditions and heritages. For this reason it is assuredly the case that religion in the conventional mode, what this book calls packaged religion, is bound to decline, whereas unpacked religion, where several aspects perform different functions in respect to the individual and society is more descriptive of the norm in Danish society.},
  author       = {Rosen, Ina},
  isbn         = {91-974760-5-6},
  issn         = {1651-4432},
  keyword      = {focus groups,theory,privatization,society.,Copenhagen,Denmark,methodology,sociology,anthropology,belief,religion},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {196},
  publisher    = {Centrum för teologi och religionsvetenskap, Lunds universitet},
  school       = {Lund University},
  series       = {Lund Studies in Sociology of Religion},
  title        = {I’m a Believer – But I’ll Be Damned if I’m Religious : Belief and Religion in the Greater Copenhagen Area : A Focus Group Study},
  volume       = {8},
  year         = {2009},
}