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Lived Religion. Practice, gender and materiality

Negotiations of religion in everyday life is primary within lived religion. The research group provides nuanced knowledge about religion and non-religion as a complex and contradictory phenomena in contemporary contexts. 

Image may contain: Photograph, Tire, Purple, Pink, Wheel.
Photo: Elisabeth Tveito Johnsen

About the group

Lived religion research does not approach religious institutions or worldviews as fixed entities, but explores what churches, mosques, synagogues, temples, including religious and non-religious organizations, do to situate themselves within the everyday life of late-modern citizens. Thus, lived religion, as well as non-religion, is perceived as deeply interwoven societal and cultural entanglements. As part of this research interest, lived religion researchers have initiated research on how public institutions, such as schools, prisons, hospitals, regulate religion in secular spaces. Environmental disasters and democratic development are prominent societal issues. Our approach to these challenges is to study practices, agency and policy across national and international institutions. Three concepts summarize the basic empirical and theoretical interests of this research group; practice, gender and materiality.

Practice is a fundamental concept within lived religion research. Common to every practice is the existence of rules (implicit and explicit), tools (material, conceptual, human and non-human) and understandings (shared and contested) of what the constitutive objectives and aims are. How religious and non-religious practices are maintained, intertwined, challenged, changed and renewed, are main themes within lived religion research.

Gender is a central analytical category within lived religion studies. A lived religion perspective contributes to knowledge about how religion navigated, negotiated and challenged by women and other societal groups not acknowledged as legitimate “sources” to what religion does or is. One considerable interest within the research group is contestations of power and power relations, as well as epistemological and methodological discussions paving the way for novel research approaches.

Understanding materiality involves investigations of how bodies, places, artefacts and practices are tied together in and across religious and non-religious practices. A focus on materiality entails what bodies and things enact, how practices, both epistemological and esthetic paradigms, organize bodily experiences of things, hierarchies and media, and how these networks enable the holy and secular as lived social realities.


  • The group discusses different approached to lived religion by reading articles written by the group members and others.
  • The group will write a book about lived religion for BA and MA students (2022-2024).
  • The group is a place where individual members can get feedback on NFR and ERC research proposals. 
  • The group invites guest scholars to attend meetings, and invites international and Norwegian guests to present current research.
  • The group will initiate an interdisciplinary seminar about lived religion at TF in 2023.
  • The group has presentations of research and ideas by PhDs, Postdocs and others without a permanent position as its top priority.
  • The group invited MA students within lived religion to present their projects
  • The group distributes invitations to conferences and seminar within the group.
  • The group emphasizes friendly and constructive communication. The leader of the group is responsible for addressing communication within the group and individual well-being regularly.


The research group cooperates with and are part of national, Nordic and international research networks, societies and organizations. Members of the group contribute to and participate regularly as at conferences, workshops and network arrangements.

Partners and Networks:

  • Ritual Studies, American Academy of Religion
  • Contemporary Pagan Studies, American Academy of Religion
  • Religion and Sexuality Unit, American Academy of Religion
  • Ritual Creativity Network, University of Freiburg
  • Skandinavisk skapelsesteologi, Global Luther
  • International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture
  • African Association for the Study of Religion
  • International Research Network on Religion and Democracy (IRNRD)
  • European Association for Gender Research, Education and Documentation ATGENDER,
  • South African Muslim Women, Gender and Sexuality network
  • Theorising Experience, Subjectivity and Narrative in Studies of Gender and Islam
  • Queering Paradigms research network
  • International Society of Empirical Research in Theology (ISERT), biannual confernces
  • The International Academy of Practical Theology (IAPT), biannual conferences
  • The Norwegian Association of Practical Theological Research and Education
  • The Nordic Network for Practice and Theology.
  • The Network for Ethnography and Ecclesiology, annual conferences.
  • The Norwegian network of religious education (NoReFo)
  • The International Association for the Study of Youth Ministry

Study programmes

Lived religion is part of BA and MA coruses at The Faculty of Theology, both at the divinity program and at the religion and society program.

It is of outermost importance of the research group to be a stimulating and welcoming environment for PhD-students. We also invite MA students to present their projects to the group.

Are you applying for a PhD or Postdoc scholarship at TF? Please contact our research group leader, associate professor Elisabeth Tveito Johnsen, if you want to connect your application to the research group in lived religion.

Courses where members of the research group teach:








Published Jan. 13, 2022 8:55 AM - Last modified Jan. 14, 2022 9:19 AM