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Religion and Popular Music in Europe: New Expressions of Sacred and Secular Identity

Religion and Popular Music in Europe: New Expressions of Sacred and Secular Identity

Edited by: Thomas Bossius, Andreas Hager, Keith Kahn-Harris

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Music and religion have, throughout history, walked hand in hand. In the rites and rituals of small tribal religions, great world religions, and more recent New-Age and neo-heathen movements, different kinds of music have been used to celebrate the gods, express belief and help believers get in contact with the divine. This innovative book focuses on how mainstream and counter-cultural groups use religion and music to negotiate the challenges of modernisation and globalisation in the European context: a region under-explored by existing literature on the subject. With its internal ethnic diversity, ever-expanding borders and increasing differentiation, Europe has undergone massive dislocation in recent years. The authors show that, in the midst of such change, rock, pop and dance music may in their various forms be used by their practitioners as resources for new kinds of spiritual and religious identification, even as these forms are used as symbols of the deficiencies of secular society.

Focusing on Christianity, Judaism, Islam and New Religious Movements, the book explores such topics as Norwegian Black Metal and Neo-paganism, contemporary Jewish Music in the UK, the French hip hop scene, the musical thinking of Muslim convert Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam and European dance music culture. It offers an ideal introduction to leading-edge thinking at the exciting interface of 'music and religion'.

Author Info

Thomas Bossius is Lecturer in Cultural Studies at the University of Gothenburg. Andreas Hager is Docent in Sociology of Religion at Abo Akademi University, Turku. Keith Kahn-Harris is a Research Associate at the Centre for Urban and Community Research, Goldsmiths College, London, and author of Extreme Metal: Music and Culture on the Edge (2006).


'Within the growing literature on religion, media and culture, comparatively little attention has been given to popular music, and even less to the ways in which religious groups use popular music to re-negotiate their traditions in the modern world. Drawing on a wide range of well-informed case studies, 'Religion and Popular Music in Europe' helps to address this gap, and will be an important resource for tutors, students and researchers.'
Gordon Lynch, Michael Ramsey Professor of Modern Theology, University of Kent; "

Religion and Popular Music in Europe' is an excellent example of scholarship at the interface of Religious Studies and Popular Music Studies. Its various perspectives provide thought-provoking analysis of the ways in which religions and alternative spiritualities use popular music in their engagement with the modern world. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book and enthusiastically commend it as a significant contribution to the study of religion and popular music.'
Christopher Partridge, Professor of Religious Studies, Lancaster University

Bibliographic Info

Imprint: I.B.Tauris
Publisher: I.B.Tauris & Co. Ltd.
Series: Library of Modern Religion

ISBN: 9781848858091
Publication Date: 29 Jun 2011
Number of Pages: 208
Height: 234
Width: 156

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