I will be speaking to the Aston Stylistics Research Group at the beginning of next month (1 Dec, Thursday, at 16:00 UCT), as the project comes to a close. The talk will be online, so all are welcome! The talk is called ‘In a bit of a muddle’: Positioning and storylines in talk about religious identity and here is the abstract:
This talk focuses on religious identity in talk about community life in Birmingham, particularly in contexts where people of different religious beliefs are regularly in contact with one another. Drawing on interviews and fieldwork undertaken during an 18-month, AHRC leadership fellowship entitled ‘Language and Religion in the Superdiverse city’, I will discuss how self and other positioning emerges in talk about religious identity and how these positionings draw on storylines about different religions and ways of being religious in the contemporary world. Analysis will show religious identity is constructed using categories, particularly in contrast and comparison to other categories, and how the use and understanding of those categories can shift depending on contextual factors. I will argue that a more dynamic understanding of religious identity has consequences for how religious belief is understood in society and how people of different religious faiths and backgrounds come to understand one another and people of no faith in diverse settings.