Facing the Other

Religious and Community Leaders’ Negotiations of Religious Difference in Hobart, Tasmania


  • Ariel Remund University of Tasmania




religious diversity, multiculturalism, deep equality, social cohesion, value consensus, Hobart


This article examines religious and community leaders’ perceptions of diversity and the ways in which they, and their communities, negotiate difference. Hobart, in Tasmania, Australia, is experiencing growing religious and ethnic diversity that is posing challenges for existing faith communities. The data consists of twelve in-depth interviews with Hobart’s religious leaders in which participants described two modes of negotiating difference: seeking sameness and agreeing to disagree. These modes of negotiation are positive examples of Lori Beaman’s (2014) understanding of agonistic respect in processes of “deep equality”. Growing diversity is, however, causing tensions for some communities, most notably conservative Christians in this study, who perceived growing hostility towards Christianity from secular society. Social issues, including marriage equality, have heightened tensions between conservative Christians and anti-religious Nones (Not Religious). I argue that social cohesion is reliant upon a commitment to liberal democratic values. This commitment provides the capacity for individuals to live with sometimes confronting difference that in turn underlies the celebration of diversity and difference in multiculturalism and pluralism.


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Author Biography

Ariel Remund, University of Tasmania

Ariel Remund is a current PhD candidate, research assistant and sociology tutor at the University of Tasmania, Australia. Her research topics include the sociology of emotion, emotional experiences of roadkill, religious diversity and social cohesion. Her honours research explored experiences of religious diversity in her hometown, Hobart. Her PhD project will involve researching the emotional experiences associated with roadkill in Tasmania, a state recognized unofficially as “the roadkill capital of the world”.


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How to Cite

Remund, A. (2019). Facing the Other: Religious and Community Leaders’ Negotiations of Religious Difference in Hobart, Tasmania. Fieldwork in Religion, 14(1), 33–52. https://doi.org/10.1558/firn.39234