9. The Journalist-Ethnographer, Religious Diversity, and the Euphemisation of Social Relations
Hijacked - A Critical Treatment of the Public Rhetoric of Good and Bad Religion - Leslie Dorrough Smith
Carmen Becker [+]
Leibniz University Hannover
Carmen Becker is a political scientist, islamicist and scholar of religion working as a lecturer and researcher at the religious studies unit of the Leibniz Universität Hannover, Germany.
This essay focuses on the construction of academic/scholarly authority in Believer and compares it to a German production called “Mosque Report.” It uses Pierre Bourdieu’s notion of symbolic power as its theoretical framework. The focus lies with the role played by the series’ protagonists as ethnographers of sorts, who, in this role, claim a privileged access to “authentic” knowledge about the religious people they discuss. The author argues that this approach is used in order to generate hegemonic knowledge about the concept of religious diversity even as each show otherwise attempts to portray the footage it shares on religion as neutral and unmediated.