NCSR 2018: The 24th Nordic Conference in the Sociology of Religion.

Welcome to the 24th Nordic Conference in the Sociology of Religion ( NCSR 2018) in Oslo, Norway: Religion, politics and boundaries.

Practical information

Growing religious diversity characterizes most countries across the world, often linked to the globalization of migration, politics, economies, and the media. The diversity offers new challenges of managing religion in countries that previously were more religiously homogenous. As many countries are characterized by complex patterns of both increasing public visibility of religion and secularization, religion is often at the center of political contestations. On the one hand, politicians struggle to develop public policies that balance human rights, equal opportunities for religious minorities, and the continuation of older religious traditions. On the other hand, various groups and political parties use religion to draw social, political, and symbolic boundaries – and some take extreme measures and use violence strategically to make themselves visible and enact their policies.

The 24th Nordic Conference for Sociology of Religion seeks a more thorough understanding, theoretically as well as empirically, of religion, politics, and boundaries. While sociologists often have attempted to understand these developments in terms of single dimension theories, we would like to find out how this complexity is part of processes of change and continuity in contemporary society. Contributions addressing these and other topics in the sociology of religion are welcome!

Key notes

Mark Juergensmeyer, Professor of Sociology and Global Studies, Kundan Kaur Kapany Chair of Global and Sikh Studies, Fellow and Founding Director, Orfalea Center for Global & Int'l Studies, University of California at Santa Barbara.

The Global Rise of Religious Violence

In the global era, the quest for identity and certainty has given rise to new religious movements, some with strident and violent political agenda. This presentation explores the origins and future of movements as varied as ISIS and Hamas, Jewish extremists in Israel, Buddhist activism in Southeast Asia, and right-wing Christian militants in Europe and the US, based on interviews and case studies around the world. (Photo:

Line Nyhagen, Reader in sociology, Loughborough University, UK

Contestations of Feminism, Secularism and Religion

Secular and religious women have a history of fighting for women’s rights and gender equality. Yet, feminist and women’s movements in the West are largely understood as secular and as rejecting religion, while ‘religion’ is often perceived as the antithesis of empowerment and emancipation. This talk problematizes the boundaries between feminism, secularism and religion by examining different secular feminist views on religion and contrasting views on feminism among religious women. Nyhagen argues normatively for a feminist political stance that defends both religious and secular women’s voices and their participation in democratic deliberation. (Photo: Loughborough University)

Lorne Dawson, Professor of Sociology and Legal Studies at University of Waterloo, Canada and  Director of Canadian Network for Research On Terrorism, Security and Society (TSAS)

Understanding the Role of Religion in the Radicalization of Foreign Fighters in Syria and Iraq

This talk examines key insights gleaned into the process of radicalization leading to violence from three years of research involving interviews with jihadist foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq, and the families and friends of such fighters. Particular attention is given to the ongoing debates about the nature and relative significance of social and ideological factors in determining whether someone commits to becoming a fighter and potential martyr. Interpretive misconceptions about the role of religion in this regard are specifically addressed with an eye to counteracting pervasive religious and secular biases that may be handicapping programs to prevent violent extremism. (Photo: private)

 Please contact professor Inger Furseth for more information.

Published May 19, 2017 12:57 PM - Last modified Apr. 25, 2018 12:34 PM