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Negotiating "Religion": Discursive Practices on reddit.com/r/atheism
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Theology, Department of Theology, The Social Sciences of Religion, Sociology of Religions.
2013 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

How individuals negotiate religion as a category in positioning themselves as atheists is a question that is garnering interest in the sociology of religion. In difference to much research in the burgeoning field of non-religious studies, this study focuses on an online space with no official ties to atheist or humanist organizations; a subforum on the hubforum reddit called /r/atheism. The purpose is to trace discursive practices of individuals positioning themselves as atheists, asking how discourse is structured, regulated, and negotiated on /r/atheism. In order to make it more comprehensive the research question has been divided into three parts: (1) what is the structure of discourse on /r/atheism, (2) what are the conventions regulating negotiation of the discursive structure of /r/atheism, and (3) how do subjects negotiate the conventions in order to relate to the structure of discourse on /r/atheism? The method of approach will be discourse analysis in the vein of Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe, this will also be the main theoretical lens used in this study. The thesis also relates to discussions of religion as a category within the sociology and anthropology of religion, as well as online ethnographical studies, and media studies. This thesis argues that discourse on /r/atheism is structured, regulated, and negotiated through an othering process; it primarily functions by constructing religious people as irrational in their relating to authority. This construction presupposes that this irrational relating leads religious people to un-reflexively perpetuate religion as a vehicle for abnormal irrationality. Religion is thus perceived as abnormal in the sense that it corrupts the inherent rationality of the human mind, and it is as a community that manifests such inherent rationality that an atheist we is imagined.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. , 63 p.
Keyword [en]
atheism, reddit, discourse, Internet, religion, sociology of religion
National Category
Religious Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-208868OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-208868DiVA: diva2:655220
Subject / course
Sociology of Religion
Educational program
Master Programme in Theology and Religious Studies
Available from: 2013-10-11 Created: 2013-10-09 Last updated: 2013-10-11Bibliographically approved

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