Performing authenticity through interfaith dialogue

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Organized interfaith dialogue is a social practice that brings together people of different religious backgrounds in order to promote peaceful co-existence and inclusion. By purposefully addressing religious difference and sameness, organizers of the dialogue set a stage that encourages the participants to position themselves religiously within a particular framework defined by the character of the event. Based on fieldwork in Denmark, I argue in this paper that ritualized practices of performing and narrating religious identity are encouraged by interfaith dialogue organizers with a special attention to authenticity (Taylor 1992; Lindholm 2008). The claim for authenticity in faith becomes a dominant discourse that acknowledges but also disciplines religious differences in particular ways. The question is how this discourse leaves room for the minorities’ “own politics” (Ortner 2006) and how this is performed and narrated by minority participants during dialogue events. In the paper, I will draw on two cases of interfaith dialogue. The first case is a public meeting with four women of different religious backgrounds (Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Brahma Kumaris), who each tell their story about their personal spiritual travel. The second case is a weekend course in interfaith dialogue with participants of primarily Christian or Muslim backgrounds. Both events invite the participants to position themselves religiously through stories and performative practices. A special focus is, firstly, how bodies and narratives are attuned in order to create authentic self-representations and performative practices (Ahmed 2004). Secondly, I explore how participants in their self-representations engage with representations that others have made of them (Pratt 1991).
Publikationsdato12 okt. 2017
StatusUdgivet - 12 okt. 2017
BegivenhedReligious Minorities' Self-Representaions: Claims of Difference and Sameness in the Politics of Belonging - Utrecht University, Utrecht, Holland
Varighed: 11 okt. 201713 okt. 2017


KonferenceReligious Minorities' Self-Representaions
LokationUtrecht University

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