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‘Forced’ Online Religion: Religious Minority and Majority Communities’ Media Usage during the COVID-19 Lockdown

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On 11 March 2020, the Danish Prime Minister announced a forthcoming lockdown of Danish society due to the COVID-19 pandemic and shut down all public institutions, including the national church. Instructions for the lockdown of religious minority communities were issued a week later. The total lockdown of the Danish religious landscape is both historically unprecedented and radical in a global context, and it raises questions about mediatized religion and religion–state relations in a postsecular society. Building on quantitative and qualitative data collected during the lockdown and the gradual opening of society in 2020, this article examines the media usage of the Danish national church and of the 28 recognized Muslim communities. It reevaluates Heidi A. Camp-bell’s ‘religious-social shaping approach to technology’ by examining how religious communities sought to establish continuity between their offline and online practices to maintain authority and community cohesion. We conclude (1) that the willingness of religious communities to cooperate with authorities was high, (2) that the crisis affected religious communities’ organizational framework and societal position, and (3) that Campbell’s approach needs to pay further attention to the conflict-producing aspects of negotiations on digitalized rituals, the importance of transnationalism, and differences between minority and majority religion.

StatusUdgivet - jul. 2021

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© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

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