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God bless britain

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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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