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BY-NC-ND 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter 2018

Chapter 7 Planning Public Debate: Beyond Entrenched Controversies About Islam

From the book Contesting Religion

  • Stig Hjarvard and Mattias Pape Rosenfeldt


The contentious public debates about Islam in Scandinavia may to some extent be characterized as an entrenched conflict, upheld by stereotypical framings and fixed rhetorical positions. This case study examines public service media’s ability to facilitate public debates that move beyond such ingrained positions. Through interviews with key professionals behind the TV documentary Rebellion from the Ghetto, we examine the strategies for generating public debate about cultural and religious problems.We furthermore analyse online and offline debates, with particular focus on the inclusion of minority voices and how framings of religion enter and influence the discussion. By consciously downplaying the role of ‘religion’ and framing conflicts in terms of personal experiences and universal themes, the documentary managed to set the scene for a debate in which young Muslims’ various experiences were given authority, thereby allowing the debate to transcend the usual ‘us-them’, ‘majority-minority’ framing of these issues.

© 2018 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/Boston
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