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  • 1.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Dalarna University, School of Humanities and Media Studies, Religious Studies.
    A wish for social cohesion: Local engagement and perspectives on inter-religious councils in contemporary Sweden2018Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    During the 20th century, Sweden developed into a mainly secularized society with low key institutional religious presence on the political scene. Church and state separated in year 2000, as a result of a long term development separating religion and politics in Sweden. But a new development has been taking place in the last decade in Sweden on municipality levels. Being a society with less the 5% of the population born abroad in the beginning of the 1960s, contemporary Sweden is today a cultural multi-diverse society with close to 20% of its population born abroad. As a result of migration Sweden has rather rapidly developed into a cultural diverse and multi-religious society. Starting in the year 2006 on a municipality level, representatives of religious organizations have in Sweden become invited participants in a growing number of Swedish cities through involvement in inter-religious councils. Often political local authorities has decided to take a leading role in the councils, seemingly out of a growing awareness of faith-based organizations crucial role in promoting social cohesion in local settings.

    This paper presents a case study where the formation of an inter-religious council is taking place in a mid-sized Swedish town. The paper presentation outlines the result of interviews with three kinds of actors; (1) elected politicians responsible for strategic policymaking in local community, (2) civil servants responsible for carrying out these policies and (3) representatives of Christian and Moslem faith-based organizations active in the local community.

    Main research questions are the following: What are the key expectations on the council from the different actors’ point of view? What kind of challenges are perceived to be crucial by different actors which should be dealt with in the short and long run?

    Analyses are made comparing similarities and disagreements in various respondents’ views.The answers from the participants are also discussed through the lens of problematizing the overarching aim of the interreligious council. Does it promote a wished for social cohesion or does it involuntarily strengthen group conflict in pluralistic Sweden? The outcome of the empirical data will also be put in a European context about the consequences on local level when interreligious dialogue is established as part of municipalities’ inter-cultural strategies.

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  • 2.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Dalarna University, School of Humanities and Media Studies, Religious Studies.
    A wish for social resilience: Local engagement and perspectives on inter-religious councils in contemporary Sweden2018Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Swedish society is characterized by secularization but as a result of migration during the last decades Sweden has developed into a more pluralistic society. On local level this is also detectable through a development of inter-religious councils in a growing number of Swedish cities. Often local political authorities has decided to play a crucial part in the councils, seemingly out of a growing awareness of faith-based organizations vital role in promoting social cohesion in local settings. This paper presents a case study where the formation of an inter-religious council is taking place in a mid-sized Swedish town. It presents the result of interviews with three kind of actors; (1) elected politicians responsible for strategic policymaking in local community, (2) civil servants responsible carrying out these policies and (3) representatives of participatory Christian and Moslem faith-based organizations active in the local community. Main research questions: What are the key expectations on the council from the different actors’ point of view? What kind of challenges should be dealt with in the short and long perspective from different actors’ point of view? Analysis will be made comparing similarities and disagreements in various views.

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  • 3.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Dalarna University, School of Humanities and Media Studies, Media and Communication Studies.
    "After the passion is gone: American religious consequences"2007In: Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, ISSN 0021-8294, E-ISSN 1468-5906, Vol. 46, no 1, p. 140-141Article, book review (Refereed)
  • 4.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Dalarna University, School of Culture and Society, Religious Studies.
    Agonism på vita duken2022Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 5.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Dalarna University, School of Humanities and Media Studies, Religious Studies.
    Apokalyptisk film och samhällsklimat: Den filmiska undergångsvisionens attraktionskraft som gestaltning och samtidskommentar2008In: Apocalypse now - fakta, ideologi och domedagsscenarior i klimatförändringarnas kölvatten / [ed] Gustafsson-Lundberg, Johanna; Gustafsson-Lundberg, Johanna, Lomma: Föreningen lärare i religionskunskap, FLR 2007 , 2008, p. 83-98Chapter in book (Other academic)
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  • 6.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Dalarna University, School of Humanities and Media Studies, Religious Studies.
    Audiovisual Storytelling and Ideological Horizons: Audiences, Cultural Contexts and Extra-textual Meaning Making2016Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Abstract: Audiovisual Storytelling and Ideological Horizons: Audiences, Cultural Contexts and Extra-textual Meaning Making

    In a society characterized by mediatization people are to an increasing degree dependent on mediated narratives as a primary means by which we make sense of our experience through time and our place in society (Hoover 2006, Lynch 2007, Hjarvard 2008, Hjarvard & Lövheim 2012). American media scholar Stewart Hoover points to symbols and scripts available in the media environment, what he call the “symbolic inventory” out of which individuals make religious or spiritual meaning (Hoover 2006: 55). Vernacular meaning-making embedded in everyday life among viewers’ dealing with fiction narratives in films and tv-series highlight a need for a more nuanced understanding of complex audiovisual storytelling. Moving images provide individuals with stories by which reality is maintained and by which humans construct ordered micro-universes for themselves using film as a resource for moral assessment and ideological judgments about life (Plantinga 2009, Johnston 2010, Axelson 2015). Important in this theoretical context are perspectives on viewers’ moral frameworks (Zillman 2005, Andersson & Andersson 2005, Frampton 2006, Avila 2007).This paper presentation will focus on ideological contested meaning making where audiences of different cultural background engage emotionally with filmic narratives, possibly eliciting ideological and spiritual meaning-making related to viewers’ personal world views. Through the example of the Homeland tv-series I want to discuss how spectators’ cultural, religious, political and ideological identities could be understood playing a role in the interpretative process of decoding content. Is it possible to trace patterns of different receptions of the multilayered and ambiguous story depicted in Homeland by religiously engaged Christians and Moslems as well as non-believers, in America, Europe and Middle East? How is the fiction narrative dealt with by spectators in the audience in different cultural contexts and how is it interpreted through the process of extra-text evaluation and real world2understanding in a global era preoccupied with war on terror? The presentation will also discuss methodological considerations about how to reach out to audiences anchored in different cultural context.

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  • 7.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Dalarna University, School of Culture and Society, Religious Studies.
    Baghdad in my Shadow (2019): A political thriller in a multireligious Europe. Gender Emancipation and Fundamentalism in a Fictive Iraqi Diaspora Community in London2022In: Journal of Religion, Media and Digital Culture, ISSN 2165-9214, Vol. 11, no 2, p. 149-170Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article presents the Swiss-Iraqi director Samir Jamal Aldin and his thriller Baghdad in My Shadow (2019) and puts it into a context of the re-negotiation of identities in a culturally diverse Europe. The director’s intention is presented as a wish to deal with taboo issues related to gay rights, women’s emancipation, and religious fundamentalism within an Iraqi community in contemporary London.

    The film is analysed with the help of (1) theories analysing tensions between liberal-secular and religious-fundamentalist standpoints, and (2) theories about film viewers’ engagement, amplifying audiences’ emotions and thoughts about complex societal issues.

    The film could be said to advocate a standpoint of dynamic secularism promoting individual rights. The article argues, furthermore, that Samir as a Swiss-Iraqi filmmaker encourages thick viewing through his thriller format and invites the audience to a deeper emotional and intellectual understanding of liberal principles, honour culture, and hybrid identity positions in contemporary Europe.

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  • 8.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Dalarna University, School of Culture and Society, Religious Studies.
    Baghdad in my Shadow (2019): A political thriller in a multireligious Europe. Gender emancipation and fundamentalism in a fictive Iraqi diaspora community in London2021Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Abstract 

    The new millennium's migration movements have created increasingly pluralistic European societies, displaying a high level of both religious and ethnic diversity (Castles et al. 2014, Pew Research Center 2017, Furseth et al. 2019, Illman, Martikainen & Nynäs 2018, Körs 2018, Axelson & Stier, 2020). Scholars from different fields describe how tensions in culturally diverse societies are played out and how different groups with religious and secular world views are sometimes in dialogue, sometimes in conflict (Lundby 2018, De Kadt 2018, Pratt 2018, Göndör 2017).

    Also, film directors get themselves engaged in these issues and try to capture how life looks in the age of migration (Castles, Haas & Miller 2014, Trifonova 2020). One of the more recent and interesting films on this topic was made by a Swiss-Iraqi director Samir Jamal Aldin. The director presented his film Baghdad in my Shadow (2019) at the international film festival in Locarno, Switzerland, in August 2019. In this fiction film, the director invites us to a group of people with a multicultural background, rooted in various geographical areas, embodying a mixed cultural heritage, including religious traditions of different kinds. In a thriller format, he describes a family story with roots in Saddam Hussain’s Iraq during the 1980s and the 1990s, loosely based on his own Iraqi background. 

    The aim is to analyse Baghdad in my Shadow (2019) through theoretical perspectives on the re-negotiation of identities and migrant experiences in contemporary, multi-religious Europe. The director address charged matters and discusses issues related to tensions between diverse identity positions within a migrant family in a minority community. He shows characters taking on liberal gay rights and female emancipative positions as well as characters leaning towards traditional gender roles anchored in socio-centric world views. He also shows generational tension between secularized Muslim identities in the elderly generation in struggle with young relatives attracted to conservative Salafism.

    The aim is furthermore to analyze audiovisual storytelling through theories on media as framing and amplifying complex issues in contemporary society, including religious affiliations. I will especially dwell on aspects on storytelling’s capacity to engage its audience through emotional engagement. Finally I will also tap in to the film’s capacity to stir up emotions in real-life dialogue between the director and the film’s audience, exemplified by situations taking place during the screening of the film at Malmö Arab Film Festival (MAFF) on 9th of October 2020.

  • 9.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Dalarna University, School of Culture and Society, Religious Studies.
    Baghdad in my Shadow (2019): Film, migration och nya identiteter i ett multireligiöst Europa2022In: Den nya människan: Om mänsklighetens ständiga strävan att omskapa sig själv / [ed] Axelson, Tomas & Hylén, Torsten, Möklinta: Gidlunds förlag, 2022, 1, p. 151-174Chapter in book (Refereed)
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  • 10.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Dalarna University, School of Culture and Society, Religious Studies.
    Book Review: Dissertation Linnea Jensdotter. Religion and politics in hybrid media spaces : An analysis of comments on news about The Green Party, The Christian Democrats and the Swedish Democrats on Facebook.2022In: Nordic Journal of Religion and Society, ISSN 0809-7291, E-ISSN 1890-7008, Vol. 35, no 1, p. 61-63Article, book review (Other academic)
  • 11.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Dalarna University, School of Culture and Society, Religious Studies.
    Book Review for Linnea Jensdotter: Religion och politik i hybrida mediemiljöer. En analys av kommentarer till nyheter om Miljöpartiet, Kristdemokraterna och Sverigedemokraterna på Facebook. Diss. Uppsala : Uppsala universitet.2022In: Nordic Journal of Religion and Society, ISSN 0809-7291, E-ISSN 1890-7008, Vol. 35, no 1, p. 61-63Article, book review (Other academic)
  • 12.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Dalarna University, School of Humanities and Media Studies, Religious Studies. Uppsala universitet.
    Contesting religion. The media dynamics of cultural conflicts in Scandinavia2019In: Nordic Journal of Religion and Society, ISSN 0809-7291, E-ISSN 1890-7008, Vol. 32, no 1, p. 91-93Article, book review (Other academic)
  • 13.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Dalarna University, School of Humanities and Media Studies, Religious Studies.
    Deeply Moved by Movies: Film viewing as a transitional space for utopian self-reflection2011In: Nordmedia 2011: Doing the right thing?, Akureyri, Iceland, 2011Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article analyzes how people in late modern society characterized by de¬traditionalization and individualization use moving images as a cultural resource for the construction of meaningful subjective world views. With a critical focus on ‘the self’ as a core aspect in contemporary media society, Eric W. Rothenbuhler labels the individual self as one of ‘the sacred objects of modern culture’ (Rothenbuhler 2006: 31). The article makes use of empirical data to illustrate and theoretically develop perspectives on how the audience uses fiction film in everyday life to elicit self-reflection and how film engagement is interconnected to spectator´s creation of self images (Giddens 1991, Axelson 2008b, Vaage 2008), but also how cinematic experiences could be a resource for the spectators’ construction of more profound and long-lasting ideas of being part of a moral community (Brereton 2005, Jerslev 2006, Klinger 2008, Barker 2009, Vaage 2009). Some empirical findings support a conclusion that moving images create a transitional space for the human mind, with the capacity of transporting the spectator from real life to fiction and back to real life again, helping the individual with an ongoing process of transforming the self, dealing with who you actually are, and who you want to become (Axelson 2008a, Vaage 2009). Other case studies show how the audience experience meaning in watching films, providing insights about meaning in life and general lessons of life value (Oliver and Hartmann 2010).

  • 14.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Dalarna University, School of Humanities and Media Studies, Religious Studies.
    Den messianska hädelsen2003In: Akka - tidskrift för kultur och lärande, ISSN 1404-1871, no 2, p. 5-17Article in journal (Other academic)
  • 15.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Dalarna University, School of Humanities and Media Studies, Religious Studies.
    Emotional condensation and moments of narrative impact in fiction film2013In: Iinternational conference on narrative June 27-29 2013: Abstracts (26/6/2013), 2013, p. 5-5Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In an audience study empirical examples of narrative impact is presented when specific fiction film scenes condensate spectators’ emotional lives, identities, and beliefs. The outcome of conducted in-depth interviews with film viewers in Sweden 2012, discussing favorite films, will support theories about stories as a primary mean by which we make sense of our experience through time. It calls for a development of theories which in more detail explores spectator’s narrative competence when being absorbed by fiction. It challenges theories of fiction emotions and proposes a more complex analysis of the passionate viewer. A conclusion is that narrative impact is partly related to fiction emotions but most importantly when spectators are testing the narrative for a larger significance beyond the media, connecting diegetical fiction experiences with spectator’s profound aspirations in life and experienced conflicts of human existence in extra-diegetical world.

  • 16.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Dalarna University, School of Humanities and Media Studies, Religious Studies.
    Fiktionalisering av historien och filmpublikens reflexivitet2015Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 17.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Dalarna University, School of Humanities and Media Studies, Media and Communication Studies.
    Film, livsåskådning och identitet2006In: Medier och religion / [ed] Lövheim, Mia; Larsson, Göran; Linderman, Alf, Lund: Studentlitteratur , 2006, p. s 205 - 225Chapter in book (Other academic)
  • 18.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Dalarna University, School of Humanities and Media Studies, Religious Studies.
    Film och existentiell hälsa2016In: Kultur och hälsa i praktiken / [ed] Ola Sigurdson & Annica Sjölander, Göteborgs universitet, 2016, p. 247-269Chapter in book (Refereed)
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  • 19.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Dalarna University, School of Humanities and Media Studies, Religious Studies.
    Film och existentiella frågor: En empirisk studie om betydelsen av film i människors liv med kulturkognitiv inriktning. Axplock ur ett enkätresultat och djupintervjuer.2005In: Seminariepass I: Teologi och kultur, Uppsala, 2005Conference paper (Refereed)
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  • 20.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Dalarna University, School of Humanities and Media Studies, Media and Communication Studies.
    Film och existentiella frågor: En empirisk studie om film i människors liv med sociokognitiv inriktning2005In: ACSIS Nationell forskarkonferens, Norrköping, 2005Conference paper (Refereed)
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  • 21.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Dalarna University, School of Humanities and Media Studies, Religious Studies.
    Film och mening: En receptionsstudie om spelfilm, filmpublik och existentiella frågor2008Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
    Abstract [sv]

    In what ways and under what circumstances can a movie be a resource for individuals and their thoughts about existential matters? This central research question has been investigated using a both quantitative and qualitative approach. First, a questionnaire was distributed amongst 179 Swedish students to provide a preliminary overview of film habits. The questionnaire was also used as a tool for selecting respondents to individual interviews. Second, thirteen interviews were conducted, with viewers choosing their favourite movie of all time. In the study socio-cognitive theory and a schema-based theoretical tool is adopted to analyze how different viewers make use of movies as cultural products in an interplay between culture and cognition in three contexts; a socio-historic process, a socio-cultural interaction with the world and inner psychological processes. Summarizing the interviews some existential matters dominated. Matters of immanent orientation were in the foreground. Transcendental questions received much less attention. Summarizing the schema-based theoretical question, assessing which cognitive schema structures the narratives were processed through, the study found an emphasis on a combination of two main cognitive structures, person schema and self schema. Detailed person schematic cognitive processes about fictitious characters on the screen and their role model behaviour were combined by the respondents with dynamic cross-references to detailed self schematic introspections about their own characteristics, related to existential matters at some very specific moments in their lives. The viewers in the study seem to be inspired by movies as a mediated cultural resource, promoting the development of a personal moral framework with references to values deeply fostered by a humanistic tradition. It is argued that these findings support theories discussing individualised meaning making, developing ‘self-expression values’ and ‘altruistic individualism’ in contemporary western society.

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  • 22.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Dalarna University, School of Humanities and Media Studies, Media and Communication Studies.
    Film som redskap för livstolkning: Exempel från vardagslivet2005In: Film och religion: Livstolkning på vita duken / [ed] Axelson, Tomas; Sigurdson, Ola, Örebro: Cordia förlag , 2005, p. s 17 - 51Chapter in book (Other academic)
  • 23.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Dalarna University, School of Humanities and Media Studies, Religious Studies.
    Film som samhällskritik: En dröm om ett annat liv2013In: Svensk kyrkotidning, ISSN 0346-2153, Vol. 109, no 4, p. 73-77Article in journal (Other academic)
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  • 24.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Dalarna University, School of Humanities and Media Studies, Religious Studies. Göteborgs universitet.
    Filmen Natt (2014) och anhöriggrupper i sorg: ett exempel med komplikationer2017In: Filmen Natt - anhöriggrupper i sorg: En rapport från Centrum för kultur och hälsa Göteborgs universitet / [ed] Annica Sjölander & Marianne Strand, Göteborg: Göteborgs universitet , 2017, 1, , p. 20p. 1-45Chapter in book (Refereed)
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  • 25.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Dalarna University, School of Humanities and Media Studies, Religious Studies.
    Filmengagemang, moraliskt patos och hjältedyrkan: publikens respons på filmen Gladiator2015In: Svärd, sandaler och skandaler: antiken på film och i tv / [ed] Hammar, Isak och Zander, Ulf, Lund, 2015, 1, p. 255-271Chapter in book (Refereed)
  • 26.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Dalarna University, School of Humanities and Media Studies, Religious Studies.
    Filmens världar och religionens - en kort historieteckning2013In: Svensk kyrkotidning, ISSN 0346-2153, Vol. 109, no 4, p. 68-69Article in journal (Other academic)
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  • 27.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Dalarna University, School of Humanities and Media Studies, Religious Studies.
    Från internationell solidaritet till pessimism och främlingsfientlighet2018In: Dala-Demokraten, ISSN 1103-9183, no 31 julArticle in journal (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
  • 28.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Dalarna University, School of Culture and Society, Religious Studies.
    FÖRORD: Att besöka ett av världens svåraste konfliktområden - Jerusalem - och försöka tolka och förstå människors motstridiga berättelser2023In: Jerusalem - en väv av berättelser: Tio resenärers möten med en konfliktfylld plats / [ed] Gull Törnegren, Maria Deldén och Mikael Berg, Borlänge: Förlags AB Björnen , 2023, 1, p. 5-12Chapter in book (Other academic)
  • 29.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Dalarna University, School of Humanities and Media Studies, Religious Studies.
    Försoning i nutida film: Exemplet Gudar och människor2016In: Liv i försoning: Om upprättelse i kyrka och samhälle / [ed] Göran Möller, Carl Reinhold Bråkenhielm, Stockholm: Verbum Forlag, 2016, 1, p. 259-280Chapter in book (Refereed)
  • 30.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Dalarna University, School of Humanities and Media Studies, Religious Studies.
    Förtätade filmögonblick: Den rörliga bildens förmåga att beröra2014Book (Other academic)
  • 31.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Dalarna University, School of Culture and Society, Religious Studies.
    Ja till yttrandefrihet innebär inte moralisk rätt att förödmjuka2022In: Dala-Demokraten, ISSN 1403-9303, article id 2022-04-29Article in journal (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
  • 32.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Dalarna University, School of Humanities and Media Studies, Media and Communication Studies.
    Jesus på vita duken. Mel Gibson och andra regissörer projicerar Jesus på film2004In: Årsbok för kristen humanism och samhällssyn 2004, ISSN 1650-0113, Vol. UNDER SAMMA HIMMEL, no Sextiosjätte årgångenArticle in journal (Other academic)
    Abstract [sv]

    Det har gjort många filmatiseringar av Jesu liv under 1900-talet men ingen har haft samma exempellösa kommersiella framgång som Mel Gibsons senaste Jesusfilm, The Passion of the Christ från år 2004. Artikeln gör en jämförelse mellan en rad Jesusfilmer från olika epoker och sätter in dessa i sin samhällshistoriska kontext i en kritisk diskussion om vad som skiljer och förenar dessa tidigare filmatiseringar jämfört med Mel Gibsons film. Artikeln analyserar också respektive films kristologiska tendens.

  • 33.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Dalarna University, School of Humanities and Media Studies, Religious Studies.
    Klimatförändringar på vita duken.: Passiviserande underhållning eller mobilisering.2009In: The 19th Nordic Conference for Media and Communication Research, NORDMEDIA 09 Body, Soul and Society, Karlstad, Sweden, 2009Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [sv]

    Vid en tillbakablick på de senaste 25 års spelfilmer kan man se hur ett växande klimathot funnits med som en berättelseingrediens i ett antal spelfilmer från Hollywood mainstreamfåra. (Axelson 2008). År 2004 kom katastroffilmen The Day after Tomorrow som gjordes till objekt för en brittisk publikstudie. I denna studie analyserar forskargruppen hur The Day After Tomorrow påverkade publikens tankar kring klimatförändringar (Lowe et al. 2006). Den irländske forskaren Pat Brereton har initierat ett projekt inom HERA (Humanities in the European Research Area) med ett forskningsfokus på hur medier och film bidragit till ett ekologiskt paradigm som enligt Brereton, långsamt växer sig allt starkare hos den europeiska allmänheten (Brereton 2008). I mitt paper vill jag diskutera Breretons hypotes om ett ökande ekologiskt sentiment under framväxt hos en europeisk allmänhet över tid och hur denna hypotes bör underkastas en kritisk diskussion utifrån ett receptionsperspektiv. Vad säger existerande publikorienterad receptionsforskning om på vilket sätt klimatförändringar gestaltade på film kan ha förmågan att beröra processer relaterade till människors teoretiska övertygelser om tillvaron, grundläggande värderingar samt en livsåskådningsmässig grundhållning (Lowe et al. 2006, Axelson 2008)?

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  • 34.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Dalarna University, School of Humanities and Media Studies, Religious Studies.
    Klimatförändringar på vita duken.: Passiviserande underhållning eller mobilisering? En argumentation för publikstudier om film och föreställningar om jordens framtid.2010In: Nordicom Information, ISSN 0349-5949, Vol. 32, no 4Article in journal (Refereed)
  • 35.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Dalarna University, School of Humanities and Media Studies, Religious Studies.
    Kärleksmatrisen på vita duken – drömmar och desillusioner2009In: Kärlekens förändrade landskap. Teologi om samlevnad. / [ed] Gustafsson-Lundberg, Johanna, Stockholm: Verbum , 2009, p. 147-164Chapter in book (Other academic)
  • 36.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Dalarna University, School of Humanities and Media Studies, Media and Communication Studies.
    "Mel Gibson's bible: Religion, popular culture, and The Passion of the Christ"2007In: Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, ISSN 0021-8294, E-ISSN 1468-5906, Vol. 46, no 1, p. 140-141Article, book review (Refereed)
  • 37.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Dalarna University, School of Humanities and Media Studies, Religious Studies.
    Messias med rätt att döda: Om militanta kristusgestalter i Hollywood2005In: Film och religion: Livstolkning på vita duken / [ed] Sigurdson, Ola; Axelson, Tomas, Örebro: Cordia förlag , 2005, p. s 215 - 242Chapter in book (Other academic)
  • 38.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Dalarna University, School of Humanities and Media Studies, Media and Communication Studies.
    Movies and meaning: studying audience, fiction film and existential matters2008In: Participations, ISSN 1749-8716, E-ISSN 1749-8716, Vol. 5, no 1Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In what ways and under what circumstances can a movie be a resource for individuals and their thoughts about existential matters? This central research question has been investigated using a both quantitative and qualitative approach. First, a questionnaire was distributed amongst 179 Swedish students to provide a preliminary overview of film habits. The questionnaire was also used as a tool for selecting respondents to individual interviews. Second, focus group and individual interviews were conducted, with viewers choosing their favourite movie of all time. In the study socio-cognitive theory and a schema-based theoretical tool is adopted to analyze how different viewers make use of movies as cultural products in an interplay between culture and cognition in three contexts; a socio-historic process, a socio-cultural interaction with the world and inner psychological processes. The viewers in the study seem to be inspired by movies as a mediated cultural resource, promoting the development of a personal moral framework with references to values deeply fostered by a humanistic tradition. It is argued that these findings support theories discussing individualised meaning making, developing ‘self-expression values’ and ‘altruistic individualism’ in contemporary western society.

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  • 39.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Dalarna University, School of Humanities and Media Studies, Religious Studies.
    Movies and the Enchanted Mind: Emotional Comprehension and Spiritual Meaning Making Among Young Adults in Contemporary Sweden2017In: Young - Nordic Journal of Youth Research, ISSN 1103-3088, E-ISSN 1741-3222, Vol. 25, no 1, p. 8-25Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The outcome of an empirical audience study in Sweden including questionnaires, focus groups and ten in-depth individual interviews discussing favorite films supports claims about viewers as active and playful (cf. Frampton 2006, Hoover 2006, Plantinga 2009). The soft side of mediatization processes is illustrated showing young adults experiencing enchantment through films (Jerslev 2006, Partridge 2008, Klinger 2008, Oliver & Hartmann 2010). The outcome is in line with a growing number of empirical case studies which support conclusions that both thinking and behavior are affected by film watching (Marsh 2007, Suckfüll 2010, Oliver & Hartmann 2010, Axelson 2014). The results of the interviews exploring specific scenes of idiosyncratic relevance support theories about fiction films as important sources for moral and spiritual reflection (Partridge 2004, Zillman 2005, Lynch 2007, Plantinga 2009).  The concept thick viewing is proposed for capturing these moments of film experience when profound and enchanted emotional interpretations take place.

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  • 40.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Dalarna University, School of Humanities and Media Studies, Media and Communication Studies.
    Movies, Mind and Meaning: Studying Audience and Favourite Films2006In: Conference on Media, Religion and Culture, Sigtuna, Sweden, 2006Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Construction of identity and meaning is becoming increasingly important in both media studies and religion scholarship. (Lövheim, 2004) Meaning construction outside traditional religion has become more interesting for religious studies and what individuals in the audience do with all messages circulated through media in everyday life has attended increasing interest within media studies (Stout and Buddenbaum, 2001). Motion pictures, soap operas and advertising are all examples of media contents which generate ideas among its audience which to a various degree are used as resources within the construction of identity (Jansson, 2001). The investigation of what modern humankind’s world views look like and what components they are composed of, in this context seems to be an important topic of investigation (Holm and Björkqvist, 1996). The ways in which the development of media has effected the daily lives of individuals is interest as is the nature of the self and the ways in which the process of self-formation is affected by the profusion of mediated materials (Thompson, 1995). Film and religion are my interest within this larger frame. The topic is not exactly new but the combination of film and religion has during the last ten years resulted in a rapidly growing number of books by scholars interested in this field (Lyden, 2003). One growing focus is on the role that films can and do play within the emerging and developing valuesystem of people in the West today (Marsh, 2004). The British theologian Clive Marsh’s point of departure is very similar to my own. Viewers bring to a film life-experience, immediate concerns and worldviews and the exploration of this interplay between movies and the interpreting process of meaning making is the very focus in this paper. Theoretically, the semeiological model of Alf Linderman is combined with cultural cognitive approaches used by a number of Scandinavian media scholars developing perspectives in audience theory (Linderman, 1996, Höijer and Werner, 1998). 13 individuals, their favourite movie and what it means to them in their life My aim is to examine how individuals comprehend film and what the meaning process look like. In this paper I present the outcome of 13 interviews with young people about their favourite film. I suggest how it is possible to interpret how they interrelate film comprehension with their personal beliefs and their culturally constructed worldview from a sociocognitive point of view. Examples of films chosen range from Disneys Lion King (1994), sciencefiction and fantasy successes like The Matrix (1999) and Lord of the Rings (2001) or the next best movie ever according to www.IMdb.com The Shawshank Redemption (1994) as well as the Swedish blockbuster Så som i himmelen (2004), aka “As in Heaven”.

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  • 41.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Dalarna University, School of Culture and Society, Religious Studies.
    Muslimer på vita duken.: Från fientliga stereotyper till nyfikenhet och nyansrikedom2024In: Gudsbilder i förändring / [ed] Axelson, Tomas, Essunger, Maria, Nausner, Michael och Wigorts Yngvesson, Susanne, Stockholm: Verbum Akademisk, 2024Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [sv]

    Muslimer på film har en lång historia fylld av stereotypa klichéer utifrån ett i huvudsak fientligt och fördomsfullt berättande. Det finns dock tecken på att filmskildringar bryter ny mark och skapar nya berättelser och förändrade bilder av muslimsk religiositet (Alhassen2018, Petersen 2021b, Axelson 2022). Det huvudsakliga intresset i följande kapitel ägnas åt ett antal filmer som lagt stor möda på att inte trampa på i en upplöjd fåra av islamfientlighet. I denna del behandlas filmer som Cecil B. DeMilles skildring av Mose liv i The Ten Commandments (1956), Ridley Scotts hantering av korsfarartiden i Kingdom of Heaven (2005), den mauretanska regissören Abderrahmane Sissako och hans berättelse om jihadismens inbrytande i Timbuktu (2014) och slutligen den svenske regissören Tarik Salehs uppmärksammade film Boy from Heaven (2022) om konflikter mellan sekulära och religiösa makteliter i dagens Egypten. Kapitlet syftar ytterst sett till att lyfta fram filmberättande som bidrar till nyansrikedom i skildringar av muslimsk tro på film, dvs, filmer som bidrar till det som journalisten och medieforskaren Maytha Alhassen kallar cultural change, “to challenge hegemonic cultural narratives and hopefully also change behavior” (2018; 45).

  • 42.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Dalarna University, School of Humanities and Media Studies, Religious Studies.
    Människans behov av fiktion: Den rörliga bildens förmåga att beröra människan på djupet2011In: Kulturella perspektiv - Svensk etnologisk tidskrift, ISSN 1102-7908, Vol. 2011 årgång 20, no 2Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [sv]

    The article analyzes how people in late modern society charactarized by de-traditionalization and individualization, use moving images as a cultural resource for the construction of meaningful subjective world views. The article makes use of empirical data to illustrate and theoretically develop perspectives on how the audience uses fiction film in every-day life to elicit self-reflection and how film engagement is interconnected to spectator's creation of self images (Giddens 1991, Axelson 2008, Vaage 2009), but also how cinematic experiences could be a resource for the construction of more profound and long-lasting ideas of being part of a moral community (Brereton 2005, Jerslev 2006, Klinger 2008, Vaage 2009). Some empirical findings support a conclusion that moving images create a transitional space for the human mind helping the individual with an ongoing process ot transforming the self, dealing with who you actually are, and who you want to become (Axelson 2008, Vaage 2009). Other case studies show how the audience experience meaning in watching films, providing insights about meaning in life and general lessons of life value (Oliver & Hartmann 2010).

  • 43.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Dalarna University, School of Humanities and Media Studies, Media and Communication Studies.
    Narration, Visualization and Mind: Movies in everyday life as a resource for utopian self-reflection2010In: CMRC, The 7th International Conference on Media, Religion & Culture, Toronto, Canada, 2010Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    The paper is analyzing how people in late modern society characterized by de-traditionalization, use moving images as a cultural resource for the construction of meaningful subjective world views. As a theoretical concept with several dimensions, “sacralization of the self” (Woodhead & Heelas 2000: 344), is related to media theory. With a critical focus on ‘the self’, as a core aspect in contemporary media society Eric W. Rothenbuhler labels the individual self as one of “the sacred objects of modern culture” (Rothenbuhler 2006: 31). I want to emphasize the need for case studies in order to undertake a critical investigation about ‘the self’ and how consumption of fiction film is interconnected to spectator´s creation of self images, but also to understand how film engagement elicits self-reflection (Giddens 1991, Axelson 2008, Vaage 2009a). The paper make use of empirical data to illustrate and theoretically develop perspectives on how the audience uses fiction film in every-day life for the construction of the self, as well for the construction of more profound and long-lasting ideas of being part of a moral community (Brereton 2005, Jerslev 2006, Klinger 2008, Mikkola et al. 2007, Vaage 2009b). Some empirical findings support a conclusion that moving images creates a transitional space for the human mind, with the capacity of transporting the spectator from real life to fiction and back to real life again, helping the individual with an ongoing process of transforming the self, dealing with who you actually are, and who you want to become (Axelson 2008, Vaage 2009b).

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  • 44.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Dalarna University, School of Humanities and Media Studies, Media and Communication Studies.
    Om militanta Kristusgestalter i Hollywood2006In: Kirke og kultur, ISSN 0023-186X, E-ISSN 1504-3002, Vol. Kunst og teologi, no nr 4, p. 463-479Article in journal (Refereed)
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  • 45.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Dalarna University, School of Humanities and Media Studies, Religious Studies.
    Palimpsestiskt tänkande: Fakta, fiktion och audiovisuell konstruktion av upplevd autenticitet2015In: En profil i profilen: Vänbok till Bo G Jansson / [ed] Catharina Nyström Höög, Charlotte Lindgren & Sverre Wide, Falun: Högskolan Dalarna, 2015, p. 165-178Chapter in book (Other academic)
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  • 46.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Dalarna University, School of Culture and Society, Religious Studies.
    Perceived ambivalence of Muslims in public space through a cinematic lens2022Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Perceived ambivalence of Muslims in public space through a cinematic lens 

     

    Research lately displays existing ambivalence towards the phenomenon of religion and increased diversity of convictions. Signs of heated worldview conflicts especially between political and religious discourses are more and more discussed among scholars related to gender equality, liberal rights, security, cultural heritage, and secularism. In media debates a general anti-religious secularistic discourse is detectable as well as a long tradition of anti-Arab sentiments in movies, expressed as hostile notions of Islam and Muslims as perceived threats to modern society and secular liberal values. Also, scriptwriters and directors are engaged in these topics. In this paper I want to discuss how religious and liberal-secular worldview conflicts are played lately in fictional formats such as tv-series like Kalifat (2020) or movies like Baghdad in My Shadow (2019) or Kingdom of Heaven (2005). Through audiovisual storytelling theories of mediatization can be illustrated as well as used as theoretical concepts for analysis of fiction as vehicle for amplification of emotions in contemporary society. The paper will relate to the overarching topic of how a public may apprehend Islam/Muslims in a stereotypical manner but also how fiction could be used to increase more nuanced imagery of Muslim positions. 

  • 47.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Dalarna University, School of Humanities and Media Studies, Religious Studies.
    Perceived values in contemporary Hollywood films: 309 young adults negotiating audiovisual representations of subjective life; virtues, flaws, desires & aspirations2012Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In this paper I present empirical findings from an ongoing project, “Spectator Engagement in film and utopian self-reflexivity. Moving images and moved minds” (The Swedish Research Council, 2011 – 2013). During 2011, 30910 questionnaires is were sampled 2011, among from students in of education, nursing, social care as well asand media.  In open ended questions these young adults in their twenties  give gave examples of contemporary film of personal importance dealing with life issues.  and sSome movies, such as Pulp Fiction (1994),  Shawshank Redemption (1994), Avatar (2009), Gladiator (2000) and Amelie from Montmartre (2001), attract a collective interest.  such as Donnie Darko, Amelie from Montmartre and Pulp Fiction. Examples of therespondentsrespondent’s statements about the kind of struggles in life these and other films evoke are dealt with from different theoretical perspectives.

     

    The reported impact of specific movies is analyzed  throughanalyzed through theories about cognitive psychology (Plantinga 2011) as well as visual rethoricsrhetoric’s and the responding chord (Elmelund Kjeldsen 2008) where cognition and emotion are important aspects of the spectator’s’ relation to a film. Theseese analyszees of audiences responses of reading a film are put into the context of ‘the subjective turn’ in the sociology of religion as well as the changing conditions for the reflexive self in late modernity (Giddens 1991, McAdams 1993, Lynch 2007). Also how film viewing is able to elicit self-reflexive transformation processes (Bruun Vaage 2009, Plantinga 2009).

  • 48.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Dalarna University, School of Culture and Society, Religious Studies.
    Pious protagonists: Using the screen to expand images of Muslim faith beyond the dichotomy of "good" and "bad"2023In: Media kultura komunikacja spolecna, ISSN 1734-3801, no 19, p. 9-22Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article analyzes how movies have been reproducing a pejorative and stereotypical storytelling regarding Muslims and Arabs for more than a century, mainly along a narrow-minded dichotomy between “bad” fanatic religious extremists or “good” non-religious secularized Muslims. The aim has moreover been to explore alternative storytelling combined with applying a model to discuss emotional engagement among movie goers. The conclusion is that mainstream movie culture is still indebted to stereotypical images of Islam/Muslims. But things are changing. More nuanced storytelling has been taking place lately, giving room for a broader spectrum of Muslim religious identity positions, including examples of religious wisdom and spiritual integrity, offering the audience imagery beyond the stereotypical “good” and “bad” dichotomy. Looking outside Hollywood and European mainstream films, new voices are heard, making way for a larger spectrum of positions.

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  • 49.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Dalarna University, School of Humanities and Media Studies, Religious Studies.
    Playtime!: Recension av Hultkrantz, Catharina (2014). Playtime!: en studie av lärares syn på film som pedagogiskt hjälpmedel i historieämnet på gymnasiet. Lic.-avh. Umeå : Umeå universitet, 20142016In: Historielärarnas förenings årsskrift, ISSN 0439-2434, p. 208-210Article, book review (Other academic)
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  • 50.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Dalarna University, School of Culture and Society, Religious Studies.
    Religion och medier2022In: Sociologiska perspektiv på religion i Sverige / [ed] Mia Lövheim & Magdalena Nordin, Malmö: Gleerups Utbildning AB, 2022, 2, p. 155-175Chapter in book (Other academic)
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