(Updated August 2, 2016)

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Helsinki, August 17-19, 2016
Preliminary timetable

19:00-21:00 Registration and Pre-conference reception (Crypt of the Helsinki Cathedral, Kirkkokatu 18)
Organized in collaboration with the Parish Union of Helsinki

9:00-10:15 Arrival, registration (University Main Building, Fabianinkatu 33)
10:15 Welcome and opening
Kati Tervo-Niemelä and Jenni Spännäri
10:30-12:30 Plenary session I

Against wellbeing?

Courtney Bender: Individual religious authority in an era of subjective well being – is it time to “study up?”
Anne Birgitta Pessi: Dazed and Amazed by Moonlight: exploring the entanglements of sense of meaning & well-being    

Chair: Kati Tervo-Niemelä
12.30-13:30 Lunch

13:30-15:30 Parallel sessions I

Session 5: Challenging ideas, negotiating authority: Immigrant youth and ways of being religious in Europe

Martin Bauman (University of Lucerne, Switzerland),
Andreas Tunger (University of Lucerne, Switzerland)

Chair: Martin Bauman

Package customers or cherry-pickers? Strategies for religious self-management among Muslim youths in Switzerland
Andreas Tunger-Zanetti, University of Lucerne
Silvia Martens, University of Lucerne

 Religiousness among young Vietnamese Buddhists in Germany and Switzerland
Rebekka Khaliefi, Lucerne University

Shifts and Changes of Religion among Immigrant Youth: A Comparative Theoretical
Martin Baumann, University of Lucerne, Switzerland

 “Coming out,” speaking up – discussions with Muslim feminists in Sweden on their struggle for equal rights as women and Muslims
Vanja Mosbach  

Session 6: Problems and prospects of religious aspects of extremism and radicalism research
Organizers: Inger Furseth (University of Oslo),
Brian Arly Jacobsen (University of Copenhagen),

Chair: Brian Arly Jacobsen

The role of religion in the New European Right the use of religion as identity
Brian Arly Jacobsen, University of Copenhagen

Contesting radicalization and extremism among Muslim youth in Norway
Sindre Bangstad, KIFO, Oslo, Norway

Repertoire Identities in Radical Religious Movements
Ismail Demirezen, Istanbul University

Definitions of Religion as they emerged from Australia’s 2014 and 2015 domestic terror events
William Hoverd, Massey University

Session 12: Pentecostal, Charismatic and other Evangelical communities and identities in local and transnational spaces

Maija Penttilä (University of Helsinki),
Chair: Maija Penttilä

“She sees the smallest ones” – Children´s construction of love and longing for the charismatic leader in Knutby Filadelfia congregation
Sanja Nilsson, Dalarna University

Determinants of religious commitment among Dutch evangelicals
Paul Vermeer, Radboud University

Pentecostalism and Women’s Wellbeing: a New Look at the Changing Roles of Nigerian Women in Church and Society
Christian Onyenaucheya Uchegbue, University of Calabar, Nigeria

Session 15: Religious groups and leaders in a changing society: wellbeing, leadership and the life-span

Kati Tervo-Niemelä (University of Helsinki),
Aura Nortomaa (University of Helsinki),

Chair: Kati Tervo-Niemelä

United by Faith? Three directions of interpretation of beliefs among priests in the Church
Erika Willander, The Church of Sweden

Recruitment of clergy in the new religious landscape: which features to favour?
Aura Nortomaa, University of Helsinki

Heading for Priesthood? Professionally Indefinite Students of Theology
Anna Kasvinen, University of Helsinki

 Church organizational culture
Olli Viljakainen, University of Helsinki

Session 16/1: The Impact of Religion: Challenges for Law and Democracy I

Organizer and chair:
Per Pettersson (Uppsala University),

Chair: Per Pettersson

An Invisible Church in a Visible Culture of Trust
Anders Bäckström, Uppsala Religion and Society Research Centre

World view dialogues for peace?
Ånund Brottveit, KIFO

The Hobby Lobby case: testing the space for religious moralism in American law
David Huisjen, University of Helsinki

 Environmentalism and Faith Based Organizations in Lebanon
Laura Wikström, Abo Akademi University

15:30-16:00 Coffee break

16:00-18:00 Parallel sessions II

Session 4 & 17 (combined): The Role of Religion in Welfare and Care

Josephine Sundqvist (Uppsala Religion and Society Research Centre)
Anna Salonen (University of Helsinki),
Jenni Spännäri (University of Helsinki),
Anne Birgitta Pessi (University of Helsinki,

Chair: Josephine Sundqvist

Families Experiencing Austerity: A Time for Religious Support?
Elisabeth Arweck, University of Warwick

Religion as a model for welfare
Muukkonen Martti, University of Eastern Finland

Orthodox Christian parish social worker in Russia: tension between charity and profession
Daria Oreshina, St. Tikhon’s Orthodox University
Elena Prutskova, St. Tikhon’s Orthodox University

Food for soul or soul for food? Charitable food assistance at the interface between
Anna Sofia Salonen, University of Helsinki

The care and support for the young adults with cancer
Suvi-Maria Saarelainen, University of Helsinki

Session 7/1: Religion and migration I
Anders Aschim (Volda University College),
Olav Hovdelien (Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences),

Chair: Anders Aschim

Religion, migration and social capital
Pål Ketil Botvar, KIFO, Institute for Church, Religion, and Worldview Research

A World Church in Miniature – The Catholic Church of Norway as Migrant Church
Olav Hovdelien, Oslo and Akershus University College

Refugees and asylum seekers – a topic on the Norwegian Christian grass-roots?
Pål Repstad, University of Agder, Norway

Transnational Russian-speaking Evangelicalism in the Helsinki metropolitan area
Maija Penttilä, University of Helsinki


Organizer: Teemu T. Mantsinen (University of Turku),

Chair: Teemu Mantsinen

Who are leaving the Lutheran Church in Finland?
Kimmo Ketola, Church Research Institute

Can the theory of intergenerational religious momentum explain the growing issue of church leaving among Protestant youth in Europe?
Kati Tervo-Niemelä, University of Helsinki

Leaving Pentecostal community
Sanja Fält, University of Helsinki

Apostasy – personal experience and failure of religion
Teemu T. Mantsinen, University of Turku

Session 16/2: The Impact of Religion: Challenges for Law and Democracy

Organizer and chair: Per Pettersson (Uppsala University),

Preferences for religion-state relationships among Muslims and Christians
Sterkens Carl, Radboud University, Nijmegen

The sacred as a justifying tool
Aida Arosoaie, RSIS, NTU, Singapore

Advocacy of the mission organizations and FCA for refugee policy in Finland
Minttu Väisänen, University of Helsinki

Gender Equality in Different Readings of Islam
Marziyeh Bakhshizadeh, Ruhr-Universität Bochum

Session 18: majority churches and changing religious climate

Organizers: Jenni Spännäri (University of Helsinki)
Kati Tervo-Niemelä (University of Helsinki)

Chair: Jenni Spännäri

Comparing the financial situation of seven majority churches in Northern Europe
Sidsel Kjems, Copenhagen University

 “Theories of the middle range” – approach to Nordic church statistics
Erika Willander, The Church of Sweden

Do churches matter? A quantitative study of religious attitudes and generation
Jes Heise Rasmussen, University of Copenhagen

To baptize or not to baptize?
Tore Witsø Rafoss, KIFO


18:15 Reception: Reception by the University of Helsinki, hosted by the dean of the Faculty of Theology Ismo Dunderberg (at the Teachers’ lounge, University Main Building)




9:00-11:00 Parallel sessions III


Kati Tervo-Niemelä (University of Helsinki),
Maija Penttilä (University of Helsinki)

 Chair: Kati Tervo-Niemelä

 Catholic Commitment around the Globe: A 45 Country Analysis
Brian Conway, Maynooth University, Ireland
Bram Spruyt, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium

Religion, Spirituality and “Ageing Well”
Jenni Spännäri, University of Helsinki

Life Force: vitality, wellbeing, the existential Paul Heelas, Visiting Professor, University of Tartu

Is ‘Islam’ becoming more individualised too? The customisation of ‘religion’ in the context of Iran
Hossein Godazgar, Al-Maktoum College of Higher Education, Dundee, UK
Shiva Velayati, Nabi Akram University, Tabriz, Iran

Session 7/2: Religion and Migration II

Anders Aschim (Volda University College),
Olav Hovdelien (Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences),

Chair: Olav Hovdelien

 Our Lady in Sunnmøre. Migration and Change in a Local Catholic Parish
Anders Aschim, Volda University College
Lars Julius Halvorsen, Møreforsking Research Institute

Norwegianness in the Seamen’s Churches
Lars Laird Iversen, MF – Norwegian School of Theology

Islamic religious professionals; brokering into or closing of from society?
Niels Valdemar Vinding, University of Copenhagen

 From Generation to Generation: Strategies in the Terminal Phases of Migrant Congregations
Margit Warburg, University of Copenhagen

Session 10: Death, Bereavement and Memory

Organizer: Tim Hutchings, Stockholm University,
Chair: Suvi-Maria Saarelainen

 Death, Digital Media and the Question of “Religion”
Tim Hutchings, Stockholm University

Cholera – A voice from God.
Michael Perlt, University of Copenhagen

The Dark Night of the Soul. Art Film, Bereavement and Complicated Audience Response
Tomas Axelson, Dalarna University

Session 14: The transnational circulation of ideas, gurus and practices between East and West

Marianne Qvortrup Fibiger (Aarhus University),
Jacob Hartvig Sandager Hansen (Aarhus University),

Chair: Jacob Hartvig Sandager Hansen

Hugging Amma from Kerala – A Eastern guru or a Western Saint?
Marianne Fibiger, Aarhus University

Westernization of eastern religious techniques
Lars Ahlin, University of Aarhus

Doors of hope – Baha’i western-women pilgrimage to the Holy Land
Shay Rozen, University of Haifa

Kalachakra for Peace: Western Rebranding of Old Buddhist Tantra
Andrei Znamenski, University of Memphis

New answers to old questions? Popular culture and a renewed search for meaning
Anna Clot-Garrell, ISOR, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Session 16/3: The Impact of Religion: Challenges for Law and Democracy

Organizer: Per Pettersson (Uppsala University),
Chair: Anders Bäckström

The increasing problem of defining religion and the governance of freedom of religion
Per Pettersson, Karlstad University and Uppsala University

Sociology of Human Rights in Religious Communities
Emir Kaya, Yildirim Beyazit University

Defining Faith-Based Organizations (FBOs) in Swedish society
Linnea Lundgren, Ersta Sköndal University College

How Yrsani define their religion in Sweden
Behnaz Hosseini, University of Vienna


11:30-14:00 Lunch cruise in the Archipelago of Helsinki
Leaving at 11:10 from the Reception  


14:30-15:30 Plenary session II
Jörg Stolz: (Un)believing in a Modern Society
Chair: Lene Kühle


15:30-16:00 Coffee break


16:00-18:00 Parallel sessions IV

Session 1/1. RELIGIOSITY IN PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS i: Religion in schools and secular space

Magdalena Nordin (Lund University),
Lene Kühle (Aarhus University),

Chair: Lene Kühle

U.S. Public Schoolteachers and Religious Free Exercise in the Classroom
Laura R. Olson, Clemson University
Suzanne N. Rosenblith, Clemson University

Creating and Navigating Boundaries in a London Catholic School
Rachel Hanemann, University of Kent

Speaking of the elephant? Dealing with religious diversity through the eyes of Swedish RE teachers
Anders Sjöborg, Uppsala University
Maximilian Broberg, Uppsala University Malin Löfstedt, Uppsala University

Bifurcated Temple: Maintaining Religious Purpose While Navigating Secular Space
Gwendolyn Yvonne Alexis, Monmouth University


Kati Tervo-Niemelä (University of Helsinki),
Maija Penttilä (University of Helsinki)

Chair: Maija Penttilä

Body as territory: Religious and secular practices related to unwanted pregnancy
Astrid Krabbe Trolle, University of Copenhagen

Lived religion of Sami women
Ronja Iso-Heiko, University of Helsinki

Spirituality in the loops. Handicraft making as an everyday religion of women
Riikka Myllys, University of Helsinki, Faculty of Theology

What happens when women turn towards God/dess?
Elizabeth Cloe Erdmann, Study of Religions Department

SESSION 3: Media and the customization of religious beliefs and individual wellbeing

Mia Lövheim (Uppsala University),
Henrik Reintoft Christensen (Aarhus University),

Chair: Mia Lövheim

 Embodied and Disembodied Religion in Danish Newspapers since 1980s
Henrik Reintoft Christensen, Aarhus University

Women’s Magazines, Wellbeing and Everyday Religion
Anneli Winell, Department of Theology, Uppsala University

Negotiating Boundaries of Public Religion: Islam in Swedish Public Service Radio
Mia Lövheim, Uppsala University
Linnea Jensdotter, Uppsala University

Women’s magazine discourses on celebrity and religion
Ann Kristin Gresaker, KIFO Institute for Church, Religion and Worldview Research

A “Cowgirl” or a Suicide Bomber – Deconstructing Phantasies and Fears around Religion in the Digital Media
Johanna Sumiala, University of Helsinki

SESSION 9: Interactions of Religious, Spiritual, and Secular Coping        

Organizer: Suvi-Maria Saarelainen (University of Helsinki),
Chair: Tim Hutchings

Religious, spiritual, and secular coping in the cancer narratives
Suvi-Maria Saarelainen, University of Helsinki

Life in Bethlehem – Spiritual Coping in Occupied Palestinian Territory
Mari Parkkinen, University of Eastern Finland

Freedom to choose? The spouses and partners of the mentally ill narrate
Jonna Ojalammi, University of Helsinki

The dimension of spirituality in coping with divorce
Kalle Leppälä, University of Helsinki

Session 11/1: Youth and Religion I
Anders Sjöborg, Uppsala University,
Ida Marie Høeg, University of Agder,

Chair: Ida Marie Høeg

Does confirmation prepare young people to be productive citizens?
Ida Marie Høeg, University of Agder

The YMCA – A Pioneer of Youth Work
Martti Muukkonen, University of Eastern Finland

Raising a Christian or an Orthodox Christian?
Pekka Metso, University of Eastern Finland

Young people at a summer gathering of revivalist movement
Paula Nissilä, University of Tampere


19:00 Conference dinner at Sipuli Winter Garden (address: Kanavanranta 7) Supported by Church Research Institute




9:15-11:15 Parallel sessions V

Session 1/2: Religion in public institutions II

Magdalena Nordin (Lund University),
Lene Kühle (Aarhus University),

Chair: Magdalena Nordin

Understanding Chaplaincy in Late Modernity: The Growth of Religion in Public Institutions
Lene Kühle, School of Culture and Society, Aarhus University
Henrik Reintoft Christensen, School of Culture and Society, Aarhus University

Trust influences preference for religious politicians
Peter B. Andersen, University of Copenhagen
Andreas Baumann, Municipality of Copenhagen

Multi-faith rooms and the representation of religious pluralism in hospitals
Anna Clot-Garrell, ISOR, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Mar Griera, ISOR, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Religion and Sprituality in Finland’s Prisons
Sami Puumala, University of Eastern Finland

Session 2/3: RELIGIOUS CHANGE, WELLBEING AND GENERATIONS III: Religion, music and meaning-making

Kati Tervo-Niemelä (University of Helsinki),
Maija Penttilä (University of Helsinki)

Chair: Tapani Innanen

 Transmission of religion through new ritualized learning environments
Aino-Elina Kilpeläinen, University of Helsinki
Marie Vejrup Nielsen, University of Aarhus

Drumming activities in Finland: Between spirituality and entertainment
Linda Annunen, Åbo Akademi University

 “Most Beautiful Christmas Songs” in Finland, emotions and sequential generations
Tapani Innanen, University of Helsinki

The meaning of Christian music in constructing the communal forms of religiousness
Sari Murtonen, University of Eastern Finland

The significance of Divine Services for Secularized Christians in Finland
Olavi Rissanen, University of Helsinki

Session 11/2: Youth and Religion II 

Anders Sjöborg, Uppsala University,
Ida Marie Høeg, University of Agder,

Chair: Anders Sjöborg

A comparative view on young adults and religion
Sofia Sjö, Åbo Akademi University
Marcus Moberg, Åbo Akademi University

Xers and Yers as theological re-formers
Marjukka Laiho, University of Helsinki

Believing and belonging among Protestant youth in Europe
Kati Tervo-Niemelä, University of Helsinki

Apocalyptic popular religion and teenagers in the age of global media.
Nina Maskulin, University of Helsinki

 Session 13: In Search of Meaning and Purpose! A Current Trend in Sociology of Religion

Anne Birgitta Pessi (University of Helsinki),
Tii Syrjänen (University of Helsinki),

Chair: Anne Birgitta Pessi

Corporate mindfulness as spiritual labour in post-secular society
Mira Karjalainen, University of Helsinki

Finding meaning through charity work? The role of religion reconsidered
Veli-Matti Salminen, Church Research Institute

Conceptions and Experiences of the Sacred in Finland Today
Henrietta Grönlund, University of Helsinki
Anne Birgitta Pessi, University of Helsinki
Mette Ranta, University of Helsinki

The role of values and religion in Finns’ perspectives on compassion
Henrietta Grönlund, University of Helsinki
Anna Seppänen, University of Helsinki
Tii Syrjänen, University of Helsinki

In Search of Meaning and Purpose! A Current Trend in Sociology of Religion
Tii Syrjänen, University of Helsinki
Jenni Spännäri, University of Helsinki Anna Seppänen, University of Helsinki

11:15-11:45 Coffee break


11:45-13:00 Plenary Session III
Nancy Ammerman: Religion in Everyday Life: Individuals, Institutions and How We Study Them

13:00-13:15 Final comments and the closing of the conference Next conference


13:15 Lunch

Conference ends