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Reassembling Democracy: Ritual as Cultural Resource (REDO)

Ritual acts construct, reveal and mobilize pervasive cultural resources. However, ritual is not merely a mobilizer, constructed by the social.

Odd Andersen/AFP/NTB Scanpix

Reassembling Democracy? Ritual as Resource

Final REDO conference, 22-25 February 2017, Oslo

22 February at "Professorboligen", University of Oslo

23-25 February at Soria Moria Hotel and Conference Center, Oslo

Places are limited, advance registration required. Registration opens 12 December 2016, and closes 21 February 2017. 


REDO publications

Verden med Trump: Muren "America First"

Ronald Grimes' film on July 22​

Women's March, 2017, signs from around the world - A film by Ronald Grimes

July 22​ Examined - film from Multi-workshop at DogA


September 17-19, 2015

REDO France

April 22-26, 2015

REDO London

Sept 28-Oct 2, 2015

Conference Program

Video: House of Literature

Read papers & responses:

House of Literature


22 July Center

Workshop Program  

Framework (.pdf)




Workshop Program

Framework & Abstracts (.pdf)




REDO workshop DogA, Oslo

October 20-22, 2014   

REDO Berkeley

October 21-23, 2016

w/Peder Sather Center, UC Berkeley and

Graduate Theological Union

REDO Final Conference Oslo

22-25 February, 2017

Multiworkshop Program

Website (in Norwegian)

About (w/ pictures) 




Topics and participants

Upcoming event

About the project

Ritual actions reveal and mobilize society's cultural values. Can rituals also contribute to how societies change? In REDO we ask what religious and cultural rituals mean, both to individuals and to their collectives, and we examine how rituals are effective in society today. Can new rituals create arenas for cross-cultural encounters, democracy and social change for the benefit of all? We are particularly interested in new forms of participatory democracy, where respect for individual differences and the need for community are negotiated in new ways. Select cases are Occupy movements in London and Hong Kong, Inter-rituality in Turkey, Radical Environmentalists’ protest rituals in USA, ritual performance at Indigenous Festivals like Riddu Riddu and Origins.

The REDO project’s main case is the significance of the terrorist attack on Oslo and Utøya July 22, 2011, including ritual responses (trial against Breivik), memory work and public democracy debates, as well as analysis of the religious-extremist parts of Breivik's writings and statements. We are particularly concerned with young people’s opinions and experiences, but also with how people in general have come together to create new ritualized forms and expressions to commemorate July 22, and what this does to them and society. You can read more about the individual REDO projects on our website.


Multi-workshop 2014 and 2015: Data-collection for the “Significance of July 22, 2011” project

In October 2014 REDO arranged a multi-workshop for young adults (18-30 years) at DogA in Oslo. They were invited as informants to our project, and participated with reflection, debate and narratives in different formatted groups that all had 22 July 2011 as the main theme. The forms were inspired by the direct democracy practices in the new social movements that other REDO researchers are studying. In January 2015, REDO launched the same method with a group of youths from Skiringssal Folkhighschool in Vestfold. So far, multi-workshops have resulted in the documentary film “July 22 Examined”, which was shown at the REDO conference "Never Again 22 July?" in Oslo in September 2015. You can read more about the workshops on our website.

Workshop Paris in April 2015

The workshop was organized by the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes. Participants included Bruno Latour and several French ritual studies researchers, together with the REDO group. We discussed in particular ritual effectiveness in terms of social change, and how we eventually can measure and analyze this, or not. Latour challenged us especially on inclusive versus exclusive forms of ritual commemoration and democratic representation in the aftermath of July 22. You can read more about the workshop on our website.

July 22 conference Oslo 17-19 September, 2015

An international, interdisciplinary and open-to-the-public conference was held in September 2015 around the theme of democracy, extremism, memorial and ritual. REDO cooperated on this with a group of memorial researchers from NTNU. The terrorist attacks on 22 July 2011 were discussed on the basis of these four overarching perspectives. Internationally acknowledged theorists were invited to give keynote lectures and to contribute professionally to every single field: Chantal Mouffe, James E. Young, Ronald L. Grimes and Roger Griffin. One of the conference days took place at the House of Literature, one at Utøya, and on at the July 22 info center in the government quarter. Nearly 200 people attended in total, including Norwegian experts, public discussants and politicians. You can see, read and listen to all the material from the conference on our website.

Workshop London in September/October, 2015

The workshop was organized by the Open University, and researchers from political science, philosophy and sociology was invited with papers to critically interrogate the conceptions of democracy indirectly implicated in the REDO group’s ritual theories, with suggestions of how we possibly and critically can renegotiate or develop this. Increased attention to right-wing extremism in society increases the importance of the concept of democracy in the overall REDO research portfolio. For example may all living principally be understood as "subject of rights" but they are not therefore also "democratic subjects." You can read more about the workshop on our website.


The main objective of the project is to interrogate how new public events and movements use (religious) ritual to mobilize cultural resources in response to crises. The project will look into how ritual is a cultural resource; how new ritual action is gendered; how ritual action may contribute to a deepening democratic process in social development, by doing the following:

  1. Develop a conceptual and methodological framework that allows comparisons.
  2. Conduct fieldwork and textual studies to inform comparative analysis of a) public religion, ritual and renewal of collective identity, b) "deep democracy" in new ritualizing social movements, c) environmental and performative renewal of individual identity.
  3. Generate new insights on political, cultural and religious practices in relation to 22 July, new practices of relating to "Christian" and "Pagan" landscapes, new forms of co-habitation.
  4. Provide new conceptual background to understand emerging ritual fields and activism that aim at restructuring public debates on political and communal potentialities.


Tags: USA, South Africa
Published Feb. 20, 2013 2:49 PM - Last modified Mar. 23, 2017 11:47 AM