What is it about?

This paper investigates stories of conversion to Islam and Christianity in the British press. While the representation of Muslims in the media is largely based on ‘negative values’, e.g. traditionalism and women’s submissive role, reports on Christian conversions are more supportive and sympathetic. Conversions to Christianity and to Islam are both consistently associated with material benefits and spiritual aspects are in both religions downplayed, suggesting a secular approach to faith and religion.

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Why is it important?

This paper aims to explore the public dimension of religion and the general attitudes to religious behaviours and beliefs shaped by popular media. Considering the widespread agnosticism pervading our societies, it seems important to reflect on how the press presents a deeply religious theme (conversion), which is also associated with sociopolitical events (terrorism, refugee flows etc).

Perspectives

I hope that this paper may sensitize the readers to how even something apparently as natural as a "story" can be laden with extra meanings, and can shape our reaction to an event and our views of the world.

Cristina Pennarola
Universita degli Studi di Napoli Federico II

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This page is a summary of: Tales of conversion in the British press: the body and soul paradigm, European Journal of English Studies, January 2019, Taylor & Francis, DOI: 10.1080/13825577.2019.1594147.
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