Religion and integration: Religious organisations’ communication in a diverse city district of Oslo, Norway
In Journal of Contemporary Religion, forthcoming.
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This article asks whether and how religious organisations contribute to integration in a diverse city district of Oslo. Drawing on Niklas Luhmann’s theory of society and his work on religion, it argues that the question requires an analysis of how the religious organisations are integrated into different social systems, as well as of how people are included in them. With regards to the inclusion of people, the article suggests that not more than half of the city district’s population were members in local religious organisations and that the religious organisations may not have targeted excluded groups, as Luhmann suggested they might. Focusing on how the religious organisations were integrated into different social systems, the article finds that the religious organisations were engaged in local communities within the city district, with local public authorities and welfare service providers, and in religious networks that spanned the city, the country, and the world. The article concludes that the religious organisations in the city district were part of a global religious system and mostly communicated in non-religious ways locally. The religious organisations’ contribution to integration must be understood in relation to communication on a global scale and across the secular/religious divide.