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“This is the Face of an Atheist”: Performing Private Truths in Precarious Publics
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Theology, Department of Theology.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4218-7806
2019 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Description
Abstract [en]

The primary aim of this dissertation is to gain a greater understanding of the particular vulnerabilities attached to wo/men publicly performing atheist selves on YouTube. The purpose is to examine lived non-religion as a performance of a personal and stigmatized identity in a digitally mediated public. I thus examine 60 vloggers’ videos and comment sections in relation to their experiences of, on the one hand, publicly performing atheist identity in the US context – a culture that strongly ties the idea of good citizenship to religiosity – and on the other hand, to what it means to speak out as a woman, agendered, or gender queer person in a minority discourse dominated by men. By use of qualitative feminist intertextual analysis, this study focuses three empirical questions: What characterizes the process of the performances of selves in videos made by non-religious wo/men in the US context? What socio-technological affordances are made visible in the videos, and how do they structure the performances? What characterizes vloggers’ interactions with commenters, and how does this process shape the construction of a space for their self-performances? The findings and their significance for sociology of religion – more precisely the subfields of digital religion and nonreligious and secular studies – is discussed through the fourth and fifth research questions: How can theories of self-performance, counterpublics, and third spaces in digital religion help us understand what is happening in these types of spaces? What theoretical implications follow from these results for understanding visibility of religion as a public phenomenon in current sociology of religion? The study finds that vloggers co-effect third spaces of emotive resonance that enable a precarious counterpublicness of performing atheist visibility. This dissertation can thereby open up a new intellectual space within sociology of religion and digital media studies for engaging with non-religious identity in a mediatized society. Further, it provides novel understandings of the visibility and publicness of atheist identity and the socio-technological conditions that both afford and constrain them.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Department of Theology, Uppsala University , 2019. , p. 278
Keywords [en]
atheism, non-religion, nonreligion, non-religious, nonreligious, deconversion, deconverts, YouTube, social media, media, performativity, publics, mediatization, re-publicization, gender
National Category
Religious Studies
Research subject
Sociology of Religion; Media and Communication Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-366401OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-366401DiVA, id: diva2:1267882
Public defence
2019-02-01, Sal IV, Universitetshuset, 753 10, Uppsala, 14:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
The Impact of Religion, Challenges for Society, Law and DemocracyAvailable from: 2019-01-10 Created: 2018-12-04 Last updated: 2019-01-10

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Lundmark, Evelina

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