Bad religion/good spirituality? Explorations of religion in contemporary Scandinavian films

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The focus of this article is on the many Scandinavian films produced in the last decade that address religious topics. The main thesis of the study is that insights from the field of sociology of religion can help contextualize contemporary Scandinavian films dealing with religion, deepening our understanding of both the inspiration for these films and their reception. Five common ways of representing religion are presented, illustrated by five films. Discussion focuses on the ways in which religion is both criticized and affirmed; the depiction of specific kinds of religion; and three theories of religious and cultural change - secularization, detraditionalization and post-secularization - that can illuminate the cinematic representation of religion.

Keywords: Scandinavian film; detraditionalization; post-secularization; religion; secularization; spirituality

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Åbo Akademi University

Publication date: January 31, 2012

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  • The Journal of Scandinavian Cinema is a new scholarly journal devoted to film in the Scandinavian countries. It aims to become the prime site for excellent research and engaging discussions on cinema in Scandinavia, both within the national context of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, and as a region existing in a globalized world.
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