Cultural Framing of Risk and Religion within Science Fiction Narratives


  • Adam Possamai University of Western Sydney
  • Alphia Possamai-Inesedy University of Western Sydney



Risk society, post-secularism, popular culture, science fiction


This article explores some case studies of science fiction narratives concerning human-made worldwide catastrophes (i.e. The Day the Earth Stood Still, I Am Legend, Dawn of the Dead) that have been made and re-made since World War II. It analyses how the notion of risk has changed over this period of time, the degree of human responsibility for these post-World War II catastrophes and how religion, which has not been their root cause, is now being offered as a subtle ‘way out’. The article discovers key differences between narratives on risk in popular culture from the modern and late modern periods.

Author Biographies

Adam Possamai, University of Western Sydney

Adam Possamai is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Religion and Society Research Centre, University of Western Sydney. He is the President of the RC22 on the Sociology of Religion from the International Sociological Association. His latest books are Religious Change and Indigenous Peoples: the Making of Religious Identities (with H. Onnudottir and B. Turner, Ashgate, 2013) and The Handbook of Hyper-Real Religions (as editor, Brill, 2012).

Alphia Possamai-Inesedy, University of Western Sydney

Alphia Possamai-Inesedy is a Senior Lecturer in sociology at the School of Social Sciences and Psychology. Dr Possamai-Inesedy’s overarching field of research is on risk society. She has applied this socio-cultural understanding of risk to areas of reproductive health as well as religious change. Her more recent exploration of methodologies has further contributed to research on the link between religion and reproductive health. Alphia is the current editor in chief of the Journal of Sociology and is the author of Sociology: A Down-to-Earth Approach (2nd edn; Pearson, 2014 with James Henslin and Adam Possamai) and the co-series editor of the Springer series on ‘Religion, Spirituality and Health: A Social Scientific Approach’. She is the co-creator and convenor of the Risk Societies thematic group from The Australian Sociological Association (TASA).



How to Cite

Possamai, A., & Possamai-Inesedy, A. (2014). Cultural Framing of Risk and Religion within Science Fiction Narratives. Journal for the Academic Study of Religion, 27(1), 94–113.




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