God Bless BritainReligion, spirituality and national identity in factualBritish television                                ...
God Bless Britain• PhD Research: religion/spirituality on  mainstream factual British TV 2000-09• Presentation themes:  – ...
Context• Britain: a Secular, Christian or Multi-faith  country?• Theoretical concerns (sociology): Secularisation,  new sp...
Britain - a secular country?Ours is said to be a godless age. Yet billions remainfaithful to religions thousands of years ...
Britain - a secular country?
Britain - a secular country?Each of those selected had his ownparticular reason for being here. All haveagreed to leave be...
A very British religion?A Brief History of Disbelief (BBC Four, 2004)   The English Church (Channel 4, 2002) When we feel ...
A very British religion?I believe many are possessed of views which are atodds with mainstream, liberal Britain about free...
The threat of other culturesBritish, but with a different skin colour, food,language, religion... governments celebrated t...
The threat of other culturesDispatches: The New Fundamentalists (2006)   Dispatches: In Gods Name (2008)The hidden and sub...
The threat of other culturesEnemies of Reason (Channel 4, 2007)   Gary: Young, Psychic and Possessed (BBC Three,          ...
Gazing upon other culturesThe Fundamentalists (Channel 4, 2006)   Mel B: Voodoo Princess (Channel 4, 2001)I come much more...
Gazing upon other culturesReligious fervour and an often unquestioning acceptance of the Bibleare combined with an histori...
Conclusion• Britain: a Secular, Christian or Multi-faith  country?• Theoretical concerns (sociology): Secularisation,  new...
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God bless britain

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  • Explain PhD research, context, approachExplain types of programmeExplain Religion/SpiritualityOutline three key themes of presentation
  • Literature from sociology and rel studies (amongst other disciplines) long wrestled with questions about Britain, Europe, The West and religion/spirituality. Differing surveys/stats offer a complicated picture of British faith - even last week with Dawkins' study of 'Christianity'. 2001 Census - 70%. Grace Davie - believing not belonging. Secularisation thesis - what is it? Allied with industrial rev/tech progress but also in some views (e.g. Callum Brown) close connections with 60s. Argument it's a W Europe thing - America is 'exceptional' - or according to some, WE is 'exceptional'. Other potential trends - NRMs, new spiritualties - no time to explore but this is not a big finding in programmes and mention interviews with prog makers here. Re-enchantment, re-emergence, renewed visibility - emergence of 'fundamentalisms', postmodern approaches etc.Media approaches - interplay between audiences, texts, institutions - look at things like encoding/decoding as part of approach, representation key issue also drawing on things like Orientalism, textually; CDA/semiotics/narrative etc.Backdrop of decade: various news events - often caused journalists, academics and religious figures to speculate - e.g. Diana, Pope, millennium, Sharia Law, Jerry Springer, Behzti - key events - 9/11 and 7/7.PSBs - all four broadcasters have PSB commitments to diversity, certain codes about what can and can't say in regards to religion/spirituality, role of Ofcom - not the focus todayProliferation of online environments, encouragement by broadcasters to interact, specialist channels etc.
  • Common opening to many programmes - we're secular but maybe there's still something of importance or significance about religion/spirituality. In documentary, or even popular science, often uses imagery of 7/7 bus and other recent news stories (e.g. hijabs, JSTO) to illustrate. Juxtaposition with trad images: churches in countryside, candles, stained glass. Sometimes mosques in inner cities (rarely other rel sites), Atheist bus - all against busy streets to be 'contemporary' Britain. Funny that progs seem to be saying something 'new' when they all say the same thing.
  • MMAC is exactly the same, almost word for word.
  • God bless britain

    1. 1. God Bless BritainReligion, spirituality and national identity in factualBritish television Ruth A. Deller r.a.deller@shu.ac.uk @ruthdeller
    2. 2. God Bless Britain• PhD Research: religion/spirituality on mainstream factual British TV 2000-09• Presentation themes: – Construction of a British spiritual/religious identity – The threat of other cultures to British values – Gazing upon other cultures
    3. 3. Context• Britain: a Secular, Christian or Multi-faith country?• Theoretical concerns (sociology): Secularisation, new spiritualities, re-emergence of faith...• Theoretical concerns (media studies): Representation, audiences, interaction...• Global and national events/news• Public Service Broadcasting• The age of multiple channels and the internet
    4. 4. Britain - a secular country?Ours is said to be a godless age. Yet billions remainfaithful to religions thousands of years old...whether we are believers or we are not...[Christianity] continues to exert the profoundestinfluence on the world in which we live(Christianity: A History, Channel 4 2009)
    5. 5. Britain - a secular country?
    6. 6. Britain - a secular country?Each of those selected had his ownparticular reason for being here. All haveagreed to leave behind friends, family,careers, whilst they go in search of life’s No Sex Please, Were Teenagersdeeper meaning. For the duration of theirstay, they will be forced to abandon thedesires and temptations of the outside world.Perhaps for the first time, they’ll have thespace to really question their values and Make Me a Christianpriorities and discover if what they learn herecan sustain them in their lives outside (TheMonastery, BBC Two, 2005) The Retreat
    7. 7. A very British religion?A Brief History of Disbelief (BBC Four, 2004) The English Church (Channel 4, 2002) When we feel the pull of the past, thats our Pagan past calling us (Pagans, Channel 4, 2004) [In the Dark Ages] the peoples of Britain created a new idea of themselves: a Christian identity which made us what we are today (Christianity: A History)
    8. 8. A very British religion?I believe many are possessed of views which are atodds with mainstream, liberal Britain about freedom ofspeech, education and homosexuality... No rock music,no waving of hands in the air, and not much in the wayof tongues so far as I can remember... I like this side ofAnglicanism. Doubt, rather than certainty is its definingcharacteristic. It mirrors the rest of our culture, a placewhere debate is encouragedDispatches: The NewFundamentalists (2006)
    9. 9. The threat of other culturesBritish, but with a different skin colour, food,language, religion... governments celebrated thesedifferences and called it multiculturalism... theyvechanged their tune (Panorama: True Brits, BBCOne 2008)
    10. 10. The threat of other culturesDispatches: The New Fundamentalists (2006) Dispatches: In Gods Name (2008)The hidden and subversive tactics used by someAmerican evangelicals... divorced women are atarget... children are most susceptible (DispatchesUnholy War, Channel 4 2007)
    11. 11. The threat of other culturesEnemies of Reason (Channel 4, 2007) Gary: Young, Psychic and Possessed (BBC Three, 2009)The strange world of shamans, therapists, bizarrepractices and ancient texts (Alternative Medicines,BBC Two 2007)
    12. 12. Gazing upon other culturesThe Fundamentalists (Channel 4, 2006) Mel B: Voodoo Princess (Channel 4, 2001)I come much more from the still, small voice of calmschool and I don’t really like being shouted at, yelled at,preached at… I think it’s fair to say tonight I didn’t see anymiracles. But what I did see was a very strong God savingAmerica and there is no room for any other religion withinthat (Around the World in 80 Faiths, BBC Two, 2009).
    13. 13. Gazing upon other culturesReligious fervour and an often unquestioning acceptance of the Bibleare combined with an historic deep-rooted belief in sorcery andwitchcraft (Dispatches: Saving Africas Witch Children, Channel 4,2008).Such was the impact of Dispatches first report that much haschanged for Africas witch children. Apart from the introduction ofthe Child Rights Act, some churches that branded children witcheshave been closed (Return to Africas Witch Children, 2009).
    14. 14. Conclusion• Britain: a Secular, Christian or Multi-faith country?• Theoretical concerns (sociology): Secularisation, new spiritualities, re-emergence of faith...• Theoretical concerns (media studies): Representation, audiences, interaction...• Global and national events/news• Public Service Broadcasting• The age of multiple channels and the internet

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