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Values and Veils in Danish and Norwegian Parliamentary Debates and the Absence of Gender
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Theology, The Centre for the Study of Religion and Society. (Impact of Religion)
2015 (English)In: Religion and Gender, ISSN 1878-5417, E-ISSN 1878-5417, Vol. 5, no 2, 135-149 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This is a case study on the kinds of values that were invoked in the parliamentary debates in 2009 on whether or not Danish judges and Norwegian policewomen should be allowed to wear veils for religious reasons in their line of duty. The case marks a shift and the limits of the until-then fairly liberal religious accommodation by the two states. Despite the high esteem of gender equality in Denmark and Norway, gender values are less referred to in these debates and the most common values are instead secularism, secular progress and neutrality or, more explicitly, the impartiality and credibility of the state. The findings are understood as a sign of the adaptive character of symbolic politics to focus on different values depending on the issue, as the underlying purpose is to distinguish between the majority population and (religious) minorities through the use of a narrative of secular progress. A secularism based on such narrative is used to express a clash between values associated with secularity, freedom and modernity and religion, oppression and tradition, here symbolised by the wearing of veils.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 5, no 2, 135-149 p.
Keyword [en]
Gender, Scandinavia, secularism, values, veil
National Category
Religious Studies
Research subject
Sociology of Religion
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-241249DOI: doi.org/10.18352/rg.10121OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-241249DiVA: diva2:777983
Projects
Impact of religion
Available from: 2015-01-09 Created: 2015-01-09 Last updated: 2017-12-05
In thesis
1. Religion in Nordic Politics as a Means to Societal Cohesion: An Empirical Study on Party Platforms and Parliamentary Debates 1988–2012
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Religion in Nordic Politics as a Means to Societal Cohesion: An Empirical Study on Party Platforms and Parliamentary Debates 1988–2012
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In this study, I address the relationship between religion and politics in the Nordic countries, 1988–2012, against a background of increasing religious diversity alongside more or less continuous relationships between church and state. My aim is to analyse possible changes in the way religion is referred to by Nordic parliamentary parties, and in the way these parties use religion as a means to societal cohesion. I use theories on religious change and on the motives for using religion in politics to discuss a possible re-emergence of religion in politics, with the help of concepts such as functional differentiation, glocalisation and politicisation. I apply different forms of content analysis in a mixed-methods approach, using both substantial and functional definitions of religion. The thesis is based on four articles published or accepted for publication in peer-reviewed international journals: First, a study on religion in Nordic party platforms from around 1988, 1998 and 2008. Second, a study on religion in Danish, Norwegian and Swedish parliamentary debates, 1988/89, 1998/99 and 2008/09. Third, a study on the role of the majority churches in the final Nordic parliamentary debates on same-sex unions 1989–2012. Fourth, a study on Danish and Norwegian parliamentary debates on the wearing of veils among judges and policewomen in 2009. The major findings are that the references to religious diversity in party platforms and parliamentary debates have increased, which leads to a more complex understanding of the religious cleavage in politics, and that right-wing populist parties in particular politicise religion to achieve political influence. Furthermore, human rights have been increasingly used to address religious diversity as a political issue. I interpret these findings as continuous use of religion for societal cohesion in Nordic politics, through a model of different forms of politicisation using the concepts civil religion, human rights and nationalism. The thesis contributes to a better understanding of the religious cleavage, politicisation of religion, the impact of globalisation on the political debate about religion and changes as well as continuity regarding the use of religion in Nordic politics.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2015. 143 p.
Series
Studies in Religion and Society, ISSN 1654-630X ; 13
Keyword
Religion, politics, Nordic, Scandinavia, church, diversity, secularisation, globalisation, politicisation, cleavage, civil religion, human rights, nationalism, right-wing populist, privatised religion, content analysis, mixed methods
National Category
Religious Studies
Research subject
Sociology of Religion
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-241250 (URN)978-91-554-9146-8 (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-03-06, Ihresalen, Campus Engelska parken, Thunbergsvägen 3H, Uppsala, 14:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Projects
NORELImpact of Religion
Funder
Nordic Council of Ministers
Note

Cover photography: Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt (chairman of The Moderate Party) debates with Member of Parliament Jimmie Åkesson (chairman of The Sweden Democrats) in the Swedish parliament Riksdagen on 19 January 2011. Photographer: Melker Dahlstrand/Riksdagsförvaltningen.

Available from: 2015-02-13 Created: 2015-01-09 Last updated: 2015-07-23Bibliographically approved

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Publisher's full texthttps://www.religionandgender.org/articles/abstract/10.18352/rg.10121/

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Lindberg, Jonas

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