Much Ado about a Christmas Tree

A Conflict Involving Danish Civil Religion

Authors

  • Margit Warburg University of Copenhagen

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/imre.32878

Keywords:

Civil religion, Christmas, emic/etic, Denmark, politics

Abstract

Civil religion is not only a symbolic expression of national coherence; it is often also an arena of conflict, where different actors promote their own ideological interpretation of the same events. This will be illustrated through an analysis of a conflict in Denmark in November 2012, where a Muslim majority of a housing association decided to abandon the tradition of having a Christmas tree. The events and the resulting public debate were reported in more than 650 articles and commentaries in the printed press alone, and the debate divided politicians and the public on issues of national traditions, integration, and religion. A Christmas tree is an important civil-religious symbol in Denmark, and this may explain why the affair became hotly debated all over Denmark. The different commentaries from the printed press are classified and analysed from the perspective that civil religion has two complementary dimensions, that of religion and that of nation. The classification is illustrated in a graphical model of the civil-religious space between religion and nation.

Author Biography

Margit Warburg, University of Copenhagen

Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional StudiesProfessor of Sociology of Religion

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Published

2018-03-05

How to Cite

Warburg, M. (2018). Much Ado about a Christmas Tree: A Conflict Involving Danish Civil Religion. Implicit Religion, 20(2), 127–148. https://doi.org/10.1558/imre.32878

Section

Articles