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  • 1.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Religionsvetenskap.
    A wish for social cohesion: Local engagement and perspectives on inter-religious councils in contemporary Sweden2018Konferensbidrag (Refereegranskat)
    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.

  • 2.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Religionsvetenskap.
    A wish for social resilience: Local engagement and perspectives on inter-religious councils in contemporary Sweden2018Konferensbidrag (Refereegranskat)
    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.

  • 3.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Medie- och kommunikationsvetenskap.
    "After the passion is gone: American religious consequences"2007Ingår i: Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, ISSN 0021-8294, E-ISSN 1468-5906, Vol. 46, nr 1, s. 140-141Artikel, recension (Refereegranskat)
  • 4.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Religionsvetenskap.
    Apokalyptisk film och samhällsklimat: Den filmiska undergångsvisionens attraktionskraft som gestaltning och samtidskommentar2008Ingår i: Apocalypse now - fakta, ideologi och domedagsscenarior i klimatförändringarnas kölvatten / [ed] Gustafsson-Lundberg, Johanna; Gustafsson-Lundberg, Johanna, Lomma: Föreningen lärare i religionskunskap, FLR 2007 , 2008, s. 83-98Kapitel i bok, del av antologi (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
  • 5.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Religionsvetenskap.
    Audiovisual Storytelling and Ideological Horizons: Audiences, Cultural Contexts and Extra-textual Meaning Making2016Konferensbidrag (Refereegranskat)
    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.

  • 6.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Religionsvetenskap. Uppsala universitet.
    Contesting religion. The media dynamics of cultural conflicts in Scandinavia2019Ingår i: Nordic Journal of Religion and Society, ISSN 0809-7291, E-ISSN 1890-7008, Vol. 32, nr 1, s. 91-93Artikel, recension (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
  • 7.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Religionsvetenskap.
    Deeply Moved by Movies: Film viewing as a transitional space for utopian self-reflection2011Ingår i: Nordmedia 2011: Doing the right thing?, Akureyri, Iceland, 2011Konferensbidrag (Refereegranskat)
    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).

  • 8.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Religionsvetenskap.
    Den messianska hädelsen2003Ingår i: Akka - tidskrift för kultur och lärande, ISSN 1404-1871, nr 2, s. 5-17Artikel i tidskrift (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
  • 9.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Religionsvetenskap.
    Emotional condensation and moments of narrative impact in fiction film2013Ingår i: Iinternational conference on narrative June 27-29 2013: Abstracts (26/6/2013), 2013, s. 5-5Konferensbidrag (Refereegranskat)
    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.

  • 10.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Religionsvetenskap.
    Fiktionalisering av historien och filmpublikens reflexivitet2015Konferensbidrag (Refereegranskat)
  • 11.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Medie- och kommunikationsvetenskap.
    Film, livsåskådning och identitet2006Ingår i: Medier och religion / [ed] Lövheim, Mia; Larsson, Göran; Linderman, Alf, Lund: Studentlitteratur , 2006, s. s 205 - 225Kapitel i bok, del av antologi (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
  • 12.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Religionsvetenskap.
    Film och existentiell hälsa2016Ingår i: Kultur och hälsa i praktiken / [ed] Ola Sigurdson & Annica Sjölander, Göteborgs universitet, 2016, s. 247-269Kapitel i bok, del av antologi (Refereegranskat)
  • 13.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Religionsvetenskap.
    Film och existentiella frågor: En empirisk studie om betydelsen av film i människors liv med kulturkognitiv inriktning. Axplock ur ett enkätresultat och djupintervjuer.2005Ingår i: Seminariepass I: Teologi och kultur, Uppsala, 2005Konferensbidrag (Refereegranskat)
  • 14.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Medie- och kommunikationsvetenskap.
    Film och existentiella frågor: En empirisk studie om film i människors liv med sociokognitiv inriktning2005Ingår i: ACSIS Nationell forskarkonferens, Norrköping, 2005Konferensbidrag (Refereegranskat)
  • 15.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Religionsvetenskap.
    Film och mening: En receptionsstudie om spelfilm, filmpublik och existentiella frågor2008Doktorsavhandling, monografi (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
    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.

  • 16.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Medie- och kommunikationsvetenskap.
    Film som redskap för livstolkning: Exempel från vardagslivet2005Ingår i: Film och religion: Livstolkning på vita duken / [ed] Axelson, Tomas; Sigurdson, Ola, Örebro: Cordia förlag , 2005, s. s 17 - 51Kapitel i bok, del av antologi (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
  • 17.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Religionsvetenskap.
    Film som samhällskritik: En dröm om ett annat liv2013Ingår i: Svensk kyrkotidning, ISSN 0346-2153, Vol. 109, nr 4, s. 73-77Artikel i tidskrift (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
  • 18.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Religionsvetenskap. Göteborgs universitet.
    Filmen Natt (2014) och anhöriggrupper i sorg: ett exempel med komplikationer2017Ingår i: 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, , s. 20s. 1-45Kapitel i bok, del av antologi (Refereegranskat)
  • 19.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Religionsvetenskap.
    Filmengagemang, moraliskt patos och hjältedyrkan: publikens respons på filmen Gladiator2015Ingår i: Svärd, sandaler och skandaler: antiken på film och i tv / [ed] Hammar, Isak och Zander, Ulf, Lund, 2015, 1, s. 255-271Kapitel i bok, del av antologi (Refereegranskat)
  • 20.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Religionsvetenskap.
    Filmens världar och religionens - en kort historieteckning2013Ingår i: Svensk kyrkotidning, ISSN 0346-2153, Vol. 109, nr 4, s. 68-69Artikel i tidskrift (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
  • 21.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Religionsvetenskap.
    Från internationell solidaritet till pessimism och främlingsfientlighet2018Ingår i: Dala-Demokraten, ISSN 1103-9183, nr 31 julArtikel i tidskrift (Övrig (populärvetenskap, debatt, mm))
  • 22.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Religionsvetenskap.
    Försoning i nutida film: Exemplet Gudar och människor2016Ingår i: Liv i försoning: Om upprättelse i kyrka och samhälle / [ed] Göran Möller, Carl Reinhold Bråkenhielm, Stockholm: Verbum Forlag, 2016, 1, s. 259-280Kapitel i bok, del av antologi (Refereegranskat)
  • 23.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Religionsvetenskap.
    Förtätade filmögonblick: Den rörliga bildens förmåga att beröra2014Bok (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
  • 24.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Medie- och kommunikationsvetenskap.
    Jesus på vita duken. Mel Gibson och andra regissörer projicerar Jesus på film2004Ingår i: Årsbok för kristen humanism och samhällssyn 2004, ISSN 1650-0113, Vol. UNDER SAMMA HIMMEL, nr Sextiosjätte årgångenArtikel i tidskrift (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
    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.

  • 25.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Religionsvetenskap.
    Klimatförändringar på vita duken.: Passiviserande underhållning eller mobilisering.2009Ingår i: The 19th Nordic Conference for Media and Communication Research, NORDMEDIA 09 Body, Soul and Society, Karlstad, Sweden, 2009Konferensbidrag (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
    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)?

  • 26.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Religionsvetenskap.
    Klimatförändringar på vita duken.: Passiviserande underhållning eller mobilisering? En argumentation för publikstudier om film och föreställningar om jordens framtid.2010Ingår i: Nordicom Information, ISSN 0349-5949, Vol. 32, nr 4Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat)
  • 27.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Religionsvetenskap.
    Kärleksmatrisen på vita duken – drömmar och desillusioner2009Ingår i: Kärlekens förändrade landskap. Teologi om samlevnad. / [ed] Gustafsson-Lundberg, Johanna, Stockholm: Verbum , 2009, s. 147-164Kapitel i bok, del av antologi (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
  • 28.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Medie- och kommunikationsvetenskap.
    "Mel Gibson's bible: Religion, popular culture, and The Passion of the Christ"2007Ingår i: Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, ISSN 0021-8294, E-ISSN 1468-5906, Vol. 46, nr 1, s. 140-141Artikel, recension (Refereegranskat)
  • 29.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Religionsvetenskap.
    Messias med rätt att döda: Om militanta kristusgestalter i Hollywood2005Ingår i: Film och religion: Livstolkning på vita duken / [ed] Sigurdson, Ola; Axelson, Tomas, Örebro: Cordia förlag , 2005, s. s 215 - 242Kapitel i bok, del av antologi (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
  • 30.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Medie- och kommunikationsvetenskap.
    Movies and meaning: studying audience, fiction film and existential matters2008Ingår i: Participations, ISSN 1749-8716, E-ISSN 1749-8716, Vol. 5, nr 1Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat)
    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.

  • 31.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Religionsvetenskap.
    Movies and the Enchanted Mind: Emotional Comprehension and Spiritual Meaning Making Among Young Adults in Contemporary Sweden2017Ingår i: Young - Nordic Journal of Youth Research, ISSN 1103-3088, E-ISSN 1741-3222, Vol. 25, nr 1, s. 8-25Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat)
    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.

  • 32.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Medie- och kommunikationsvetenskap.
    Movies, Mind and Meaning: Studying Audience and Favourite Films2006Ingår i: Conference on Media, Religion and Culture, Sigtuna, Sweden, 2006Konferensbidrag (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
    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”.

  • 33.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Religionsvetenskap.
    Människans behov av fiktion: Den rörliga bildens förmåga att beröra människan på djupet2011Ingår i: Kulturella perspektiv - Svensk etnologisk tidskrift, ISSN 1102-7908, Vol. 2011 årgång 20, nr 2Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat)
    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).

  • 34.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Medie- och kommunikationsvetenskap.
    Narration, Visualization and Mind: Movies in everyday life as a resource for utopian self-reflection2010Ingår i: CMRC, The 7th International Conference on Media, Religion & Culture, Toronto, Canada, 2010Konferensbidrag (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
    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).

  • 35.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Medie- och kommunikationsvetenskap.
    Om militanta Kristusgestalter i Hollywood2006Ingår i: Kirke og kultur, ISSN 0023-186X, E-ISSN 1504-3002, Vol. Kunst og teologi, nr nr 4, s. 463-479Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat)
  • 36.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Religionsvetenskap.
    Palimpsestiskt tänkande: Fakta, fiktion och audiovisuell konstruktion av upplevd autenticitet2015Ingår i: En profil i profilen: Vänbok till Bo G Jansson / [ed] Catharina Nyström Höög, Charlotte Lindgren & Sverre Wide, Falun: Högskolan Dalarna, 2015, s. 165-178Kapitel i bok, del av antologi (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
  • 37.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Religionsvetenskap.
    Perceived values in contemporary Hollywood films: 309 young adults negotiating audiovisual representations of subjective life; virtues, flaws, desires & aspirations2012Konferensbidrag (Refereegranskat)
    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).

  • 38.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Religionsvetenskap.
    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, 20142016Ingår i: Historielärarnas förenings årsskrift, ISSN 0439-2434, s. 208-210Artikel, recension (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
  • 39.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Religionsvetenskap.
    Religion och meningsskapande genom film2015Ingår i: Samtidsreligion: Sociologiska perspektiv / [ed] Mia Lövheim & Magdalena Nordin, Malmö: Gleerups , 2015, 1, s. 152-156Kapitel i bok, del av antologi (Refereegranskat)
  • 40.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Religionsvetenskap.
    Religion, populärkultur och demokrati: När filmer blir utgångspunkt för moralisk reflektion och samhällskritik2012Ingår i: KHS Årsbok 2012, ISSN 2001-7421Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat)
  • 41.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Religionsvetenskap.
    Rum för eftertanke.: Likheter och skillnader mellan biografen och kyrkan som plats för existentiella frågor.2007Ingår i: Kirke og kultur, ISSN 0023-186X, E-ISSN 1504-3002, nr 2Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat)
    Abstract [sv]

    För den som reflekterar över de religiösa traditionernas försvagade roll och huruvida medier har kommit att ersätta kyrkor och församlingsliv så pekar mina resultat i riktning mot att konsumtion av spelfilm alldeles utmärkt kan innefatta gestaltningar av centrala existentiella frågor som hos individer förankrar föreställningar om livets mening, skuld och ansvar samt moraliska ideal att leva efter i sitt liv här och nu. Men när det gäller människans bearbetning av en dialogens relation till tillvaron som totalitet som den svenske religionspsykologen Hjalmar Sundén en gång uttryckte det, dvs relationen till verklighetens yttersta väsen tycks filmmediet inte utkonkurrera traditionell religion.

  • 42.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Religionsvetenskap.
    Rörliga bilder, självreflektion och moralisk mening2011Ingår i: Barn och religion / [ed] Gunner, Gunilla; Berglund, Jenny, Stockholm: Liber , 2011Kapitel i bok, del av antologi (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
    Abstract [sv]

    I ett drygt sekel har filmindustrin skapat rörliga bilder för underhållning och vi är idag mer än någonsin tidigare omgivna av berättelser i kortare och längre format som är bildbaserade. En skolklass i 7:an får i uppgift att beskriva sig själva i en lära-känna-varandra-övning. På ett A4-papper fick var och en göra fyra rutor där man skrev upp olika viktiga saker om sig själv. I en ruta skulle man uppge favoritfilm. I denna klass så skrev 20 elever av 27 filmen Avatar i sin presentationsruta. Två stycken 14-åriga flickor intervjuas i radio och reportern fråga varför berättelsen om Bella och vampyren Edvard är så bra. ”Han är perfekt. Hon är vanlig och han är perfekt!” När Sagan om konungens återkomst visades på bio vintern 2003, intervjuades unga människor i olika delar av världen om sin filmupplevelse. ”Jag gick ut från bion och kände glädje i hela kroppen. Samtidigt var jag ledsen, för nu var allt över och jag kommer inte kunna se fram emot nästa jul på samma sätt.” Bildteoretikern W. J. T. Mitchell gör gällande att vår kultur alltmer domineras av bilders budskap (2005). Teologen Sigurd Bergmann understryker detta och menar att villkoren för människans kunskap om världen förändras genom dominansen av ett ökande massmedierat flöde av bilder (2003). Seendet som kunskapsform blir allt viktigare i ett samhälle som långsamt genomgår en kulturell omställning till ett alltmer bildorienterat samhälle. Jag vill i detta kapitel reflektera över medievanor och hur barn och unga hanterar flödet av bilder och den växande mängden bildberättelser som unga väljer att se på bio, på TV, hyr eller köper som DVD, eller laddar ner och ser i hemmabiosoffan. Jag vill diskutera det djupa engagemanget i rörliga bilders berättelser som vi ser i vårt samhälle och som kommer till uttryck i de tre exemplen ovan med ett särskilt intresse för hur individer tar hjälp av bildberättelser för konstruktion av sin egen identitet och självuppfattning. I denna antologi som sammanställer en mångfald perspektiv på barn och religion, menar jag att det är av ett särskilt intresse att utveckla en djupare förståelse av på vilket sätt filmkonsumtion kan vara en resurs för barn och ungas moraliska självreflexivitet, d.v.s. hur filmberättelser kan bidra till barn och ungas moraliska identitet och kan förstärka en etisk dimension i ungas sökande efter en egen identitet. Mot slutet av kapitlet sätter jag in denna process av pågående självreflexivitet i en diskussion om religionen förändrade plats i samhället och den roll som rörliga bilder kan spela för konstruktionen av grundläggande värderingar.

  • 43.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Religionsvetenskap.
    Samtal om film i en framväxande bildepok2008Ingår i: Kultur och kyrka. På väg mot en kulturteologi / [ed] Larsson, Mikael, Stockholm: Verbum , 2008, s. 137-144Kapitel i bok, del av antologi (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
  • 44.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Religionsvetenskap.
    Sofia Sjö: Spelar kön någon roll när man räddar världen?: Kvinnor, kvinnligheter och messiasmyter i SF-film.2010Ingår i: Temenos, ISSN 0497-1817, E-ISSN 2342-7256, Vol. 45, s. 133-135Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat)
  • 45.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Religionsvetenskap.
    The Dark Night of the Soul: Art Film, Bereavement and Unsatisfied Audience Responses2018Ingår i: Journal of Religion, Media and Digital Culture, ISSN 2165-9214, Vol. 7, nr 2, s. 137-157Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat)
    Abstract [en]

    Moving images are more and more in the centre of culture, providing individuals with stories by which reality is maintained and by which humans construct ordered micro-universes for themselves. There is a growing field of research evolving around the idea that culture and art could act as a catalyst for experiences of deeper meaning. In this article, a case study is described and analysed. A contemplative short art film was presented to a group of women as a possible asset for processing fundamental existential life issues. The women did not respond in line with expectations and their impressions of the short film were essentially negative, with expressions of impatience, irritation and even hostility towards the film’s appeal. Two problematic aspects of the film Night are outlined: (1) the meaning of the imagery used was too open and (2) as a piece of art, the film was not in tune with participants’ grieving processes.

  • 46.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Religionsvetenskap.
    The soft side of mediatization: fiction as a symbolic inventory for vernacular meaning making challenging the 'banal' notion in mediatization theory2014Konferensbidrag (Refereegranskat)
    Abstract [en]

    Abstract The outcome of a case study about contemporary viewing habits in a Swedish audience will support claims about viewers as active and playful (Höijer 1998, Hoover 2006, Plantinga 2009). In line with mediatization theory it is argued that spiritual meaning making is taking place through mediated experiences and supports perspectives that media has become the primary source of religious ideas (Lynch 2007, Hjarvard 2008, 2012). The soft side of mediatization processes is illustrated where results from in-depth interviews show how adults are developing moral and metaphysical ideas by reflecting on themes developed in fiction films (Zillman 2005, Partridge 2008, Oliver & Hartmann 2010).  Vernacular meaning making beyond institutionalized religion, embedded in everyday life, such as viewer’s dealing with fiction narratives such as Pulp Fiction, Love Actually or Gladiator, highlights the need for a more complex understanding of elevated enchantment experiences.  An overly cognitive understanding of these processes is challenged, questioning the ‘banal’ notion in mediatization theory (Hjarvard 2008, 2012, Lövheim 2011, Nybro Petersen 2012). Instead of sticking to the ‘banal’ notion adopted in the mediatization theoretical framework, indicating something predictable, trivial or even dull, the paper strongly argues for a less pejorative concept, giving a more adequate and nuanced description of the interplay between cognition and affects creating emotional response in the audience. The presentation contributes to a development of concepts which combines aesthetic, affective and cognitive components in an investigation of spectator’s moves from emotional evaluation of intra-text narration to extra-textual systems of beliefs and moral assessments (Marsh 2007, Johnston 2007, Axelson 2011). It calls for new ways of understanding audiovisual cinematic input as a form of ‘film thinking’, not equivalent to illustrated philosophy (Frampton 2006, Brodén & Noheden 2013), providing symbolic narratives stirring cognition, powered by affect. 

    Tomas Axelson, ThD

    Assistant Professor Religious Studies, School of Humanities & Media,

    Högskolan Dalarna University, Sweden

    Project: Spectator engagement in film and utopian self-reflexivity. Moving Images and Moved Minds. (The Swedish Research Council)

    http://www.du.se/sv/AVM/Personal/Tomas-Axelson

  • 47.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Religionsvetenskap. 1960.
    Thick Viewing : Movies, Ethics and Utopian Dreams of a Better World2019Ingår i: Interdisciplinary Reflections on the Interplay between Religion, Film and Youth / [ed] Anita Cloete, Stellenbosch South Africa: AFRICAN SUN MeDIA, 2019, s. 51-64Kapitel i bok, del av antologi (Refereegranskat)
  • 48.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Religionsvetenskap.
    Thick viewing: emotional condensation and moments of narrative impact in fiction film2013Ingår i: INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON NARRATIVE JUNE 27-29 2013 : ABSTRACTS, 2013, s. 1-21Konferensbidrag (Refereegranskat)
    Abstract [en]

    Thick Viewing. Emotional condensation and moments of narrative impact in fiction film

    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.

    Tomas Axelson

    Assistant Professor, Religious Studies

    School of Education and Humanities

    Högskolan Dalarna University, 791 88 Falun, Sweden

  • 49.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Religionsvetenskap.
    Thick viewing: empirical examples of condensed moments of narrative impact in fiction film developing theoretical concepts for intensified engagements2014Konferensbidrag (Refereegranskat)
    Abstract [en]

    Abstract  In a case study about viewing habits in a Swedish audience I sampled 309 questionnaires; interviews with five focus group were conducted together with ten in-depth individual interviews discussing altogether fifteen favorite films exploring specific scenes of idiosyncratic relevance.  The outcome supports claims about viewers as active and playful (cf. Höijer 1998, Frampton 2006, Hoover 2006, Plantinga 2009). In line with mediatization theory I also argue that spiritual meaning making takes place through mediated experiences and I support theories about fiction films as important sources for moral and spiritual reflection (Partridge 2004, Zillman 2005, Lynch 2007, Plantinga 2009). What Hjarvard calls the soft side of mediatization processes (2008) is illustrated showing adults experiencing enchantment through favorite films (Jerslev 2006, Partridge 2008, Klinger 2008, Oliver & Hartmann 2010).  Vernacular meaning making embedded in everyday life and spectators dealing with fiction narratives such as Gladiator, Amelie from Montmartre or Avatar highlights the need for a more nuanced understanding of elevated cinematic experiences. The reported impact of specific movies is analyzed through theories where cognition and affect are central aspects of spectators’ engagements with a film (Tan 1996, Caroll 1999, Grodal 2009). Crucially important are theories of meaning-making where viewers’ detailed interpretation of specific scenes are embedded in high-level meaning-making where world view issues and spectators’ moral frameworks are activated (Zillman 2005, Andersson & Andersson 2005, Frampton 2006, Lynch 2007, Avila 2007, Axelson 2008, Plantinga 2009).  Also results from a growing body of empirical oriented research in film studies are relevant with an interest in what happens with the flesh and blood spectator exposed to filmic narratives (Jerslev 2006, Klinger 2008, Barker 2009, Suckfüll 2010, Oliver & Hartmann 2010). Analyzing the qualitative results of my case study, I want to challenge the claim that the viewer has to suspend higher order reflective cognitive structures in order to experience suture (Butler & Palesh 2004). What I find in my empirical examples is responses related to spectators’ highest levels of mental activity, all anchored in the sensual-emotional apparatus (Grodal 2009). My 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, Sückfull 2010, Oliver & Hartmann 2010, Axelson forthcoming). The presentation contributes to a development of concepts which combines aesthetic, affective and cognitive components in an investigation of spectator’s moves from emotional evaluation of intra-text narration to extra-textual assessments, testing the narrative for larger significance in idiosyncratic ways (Bordwell & Thompson 1997, Marsh 2007, Johnston 2007, Bruun Vaage 2009, Axelson 2011).

    There are a several profitable concepts suggested to embrace the complex interplay between affects, cognition and emotions when individuals respond to fictional narratives. Robert K. Johnston label it “deepening gaze” (2007: 307) and “transformative viewing” (2007: 305). Philosopher Mitch Avila proposes “high cognition” (2007: 228) and Casper Thybjerg ”higher meaning” (2008: 60). Torben Grodal talks about “feelings of deep meaning” (Grodal 2009: 149). With a nod to Clifford Geertz, Craig Detweiler adopts “thick description” (2007: 47) as do Kutter Callaway altering it to ”thick interpretations” (Callaway 2013: 203).  Frampton states it in a paradox; ”affective intelligence” (Frampton 2006: 166).

    As a result of the empirical investigation, inspired by Geertz, Detweiler & Callaway, I advocate thick viewing for capturing the viewing process of these specific moments of film experience when profound and intensified emotional interpretations take place.

    The author

    As a sociologist of religion, Tomas Axelsons research deals with people’s use of mediated narratives to make sense of reality in a society characterized by individualization, mediatization and pluralized world views.  He explores uses of fiction film as a resource in every day life and he is currently finishing his three year project funded by the Swedish Research Council: Spectator engagement in film and utopian self-reflexivity. Moving Images and Moved Minds.

    http://www.du.se/sv/AVM/Personal/Tomas-Axelson

    Bibliography

    • Axelson, T. (Forthcoming 2014). Den rörliga bildens förmåga att beröra.[1] Stockholm: Liber
    • Axelson, T. (In peer review). Vernacular Meaning Making. Examples of narrative impact in fiction film questioning the ’banal’ notion in mediatization theory. Nordicom Review. Nordicom Göteborg.
    • Axelson, T. (2011). Människans behov av fiktion. Den rörliga bildens förmåga att beröra människan på djupet.[2]Kulturella perspektiv. Volume 2. Article retrieved from

    www.kultmed.umu.se/digitalAssets/74/74304_axelson-22011.pdf

    • Axelson, Tomas (2010) “Narration, Visualization and Mind. Movies in everyday life as a resource for utopian self-reflection.” Paper presentation at CMRC, 7th Conference of Media, Religion & Culture in Toronto, Canada 9 – 13th August 2010.
    • Axelson, Tomas (2008) Movies and Meaning. Studying Audience, Favourite Films and Existential Matters. Particip@tions : Journal of Audience and Reception Studies. Volume 5, (1). Doctoral dissertation summary. ACTA UNIVERSITATIS UPSALIENSIS. Article retrieved from

    http://www.participations.org/Volume%205/Issue%201%20-%20special/5_01_axelson.htm

     [1] English translation: Moving Images and Moved Minds.

    [2] English translation: Our need for fiction. Deeply Moved by Moving Images. Cultural Perspectives.

  • 50.
    Axelson, Tomas
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Religionsvetenskap.
    Thick viewing: empirical examples of condensed moments of narrative impact in fiction film developing theoretical concepts of intensified engagement2014Konferensbidrag (Refereegranskat)
    Abstract [en]

    In a case study about viewing habits in a Swedish audience I sampled 309 questionnaires; interviews with five focus group were conducted together with ten in-depth individual interviews discussing altogether fifteen favorite films exploring specific scenes of idiosyncratic relevance.  The outcome supports claims about viewers as active and playful (cf. Höijer 1998, Frampton 2006, Hoover 2006, Plantinga 2009). In line with mediatization theory I will also argue that spiritual meaning making takes place through mediated experiences and I support theories about fiction films as important sources for moral and spiritual reflection (Partridge 2004, Zillman 2005, Lynch 2007, Plantinga 2009). What Hjarvard calls the soft side of mediatization processes (2008) is illustrated showing adults experiencing enchantment through favorite films (Jerslev 2006, Partridge 2008, Klinger 2008, Oliver & Hartmann 2010).  Vernacular meaning making embedded in everyday life and spectators dealing with fiction narratives such as Gladiator, Amelie from Montmartre or Avatar highlights the need for a more nuanced understanding of elevated cinematic experiences. The reported impact of specific movies is analyzed through theories where cognition and affect are pivotal aspects of spectators’ engagements with a film (Tan 1996, Caroll 1999, Grodal 2009). Crucially important are theories of meaning-making where viewers’ detailed interpretation of specific scenes are embedded in high-level meaning-making where world view issues and spectators’ moral frameworks are activated (Zillman 2005, Andersson & Andersson 2005, Frampton 2006, Lynch 2007, Avila 2007, Axelson 2008, Plantinga 2009).  Also results from a growing body of empirical oriented research in film studies are relevant with an interest in what happens with the flesh and blood spectator exposed to filmic narratives (Jerslev 2006, Klinger 2008, Suckfüll 2010, Oliver & Hartmann 2010). Analyzing the qualitative results of my case study, I want to challenge the claim that the viewer has to suspend higher order reflective cognitive structures in order to experience suture (Butler & Palesh 2004). What I find in my empirical examples is responses related to spectators’ highest levels of mental activity, all anchored in the sensual-emotional apparatus (Grodal 2009). My outcome support a growing number of empirical case studies which support conclusions that both thinking and behavior are affected by film watching (Marsh 2007, Barker 2009, Sückfull 2010, Oliver & Hartmann 2010, Axelson forthcoming). The presentation contributes to a development of concepts which combines aesthetic, affective and cognitive components in an investigation of spectator’s moves from emotional evaluation of intra-text narration to extra-textual assessments, testing the narrative for larger significance in idiosyncratic ways (Bordwell & Thompson 1997, Marsh 2007, Johnston 2007, Bruun Vaage 2009, Axelson 2011).

    There are a several profitable concepts suggested to embrace the complex interplay between affects, cognition and emotions when individuals respond to fictional narratives. Robert K. Johnston label it “deepening gaze” (2007: 307) and “transformative viewing” (2007: 305). Philosopher Mitch Avila proposes “high cognition” (2007: 228) and Casper Thybjerg ”higher meaning” (2008: 60). Torben Grodal talks about “feelings of deep meaning” (Grodal 2009: 149). With a nod to Clifford Geertz, Craig Detweiler adopts “thick description” (2007: 47) as do Kutter Callaway altering it to ”thick interpretations” (Callaway 2013: 203).  Frampton states it in a paradox; ”affective intelligence” (Frampton 2006: 166).

    As a result of the empirical investigation, inspired by Geertz, Detweiler & Callaway, I advocate thick viewing for capturing the viewing process of these specific moments of film experience when profound and intensified emotional interpretations take place.

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