CfP: Intersections of the Popular and the Sacred in Youth Cultures (Young)

YOUNG – Nordic Journal of Youth Research:
Special Edition “Intersections of the Popular and the Sacred in Youth Cultures”
Guest Editor: Antti-Ville Kärjä
Deadline: 31st May 2015

Recent years have seen a growing interest in “re-scripting the sacred” through popular culture. Although “youth” as an age-based category has lost its privileged status within such studies of popular culture, young people remain vital (sub)cultural agents. There has also been renewed interest in the ubiquitous contestations and ambiguities around the notion of the “popular” in light of the increasing commodification and standardisation of culture, the opposition this engenders, and the cultural drift into virtual worlds.

The special edition of YOUNG focusses on the interrelations between popular culture, the youth and the category of the sacred. The aim is to interrogate understandings of popular and youth cultures in relation to the contested phenomena of (post)secularisation, re-enchantment and the emergence of alternative spiritualities. Seeking to analyse the social and cultural changes accompanying these phenomena, the special issue will facilitate interdisciplinary dialogue between youth studies, cultural studies, religious studies and the broader social sciences.

The journal invites submissions that locate themselves at the intersection of the three contested concepts, seeking to re-examine and re-evaluate the dynamics within and between cultural phenomena prefixed with “popular”, “sacred” and “youth”. This general theme may be approached from within any discipline or methodology. Suitable topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Discourses: the mythologies of popular and youth cultures, histories and invented traditions, freedom of speech and expression, contesting authenticity, transcendence and transgression, consolation and affect;
  • Identities: the intersections of the popular/sacred/youth dynamics with class, (dis)ability, ethnicity, gender and sexuality, subcultural belonging and community, nationalism and the sanctification of race;
  • Ideologies: questioning religious tenets, political doctrines, consumerism and economies of pleasure, value and moral judgments, the (post)modern and the (post)secular;
  • Institutions: families, congregations, denominations, corporations, educational organisations, gangs, (neo)tribes, subcultures, municipalities and the state;
  • Materials and technologies: ecologies, media, art, symbols, shrines, memorials, actions, practices, rituals, pilgrimage, stardom, fandom and authorship, web 2.0 and 3.0, virtual religions and virtual worlds;
  • Theories and methodologies: evidence and authority, interdisciplinary methodologies, theology and secular scholarship, critical theories of religion, reconceptualising key concepts.

The special edition will contain five articles of 5000-8000 words with a separate 3-5,000 word introduction written by the editors.


Manuscripts should be submitted in electronic form online at:

Start the procedure by clicking the REGISTER button. We only accept articles (in English) that have not been published elsewhere and that have been anonymised.

References in both the text and end notes should follow Harvard style whereby references should be cited in the text as (author, date: page) and an alphabetical references section follows the text.

Deadline for papers

The deadline for submissions for this special edition is 31st May 2015.

Guest editors

The Guest Editor will be Antti-Ville Kärjä.

Responsible journal editor: Anders Sjöborg.

Antti-Ville Kärjä is Academy Research Fellow at the Finnish Jazz & Pop Archive JAPA, Helsinki, Finland. He holds an adjunct professorship in Popular Music Studies at the University of Helsinki, and is the instigator of two research networks: Hip Hop in Finland – Genres and Generations (est. 2014), and UskoMus which focusses on the interrelations between music and belief systems (est. 2010). In 2013, he worked as Research Coordinator at the Finnish Youth Research Network.

Journal editor

Anders Sjöborg is associate professor in sociology of religion at the Uppsala Religion and Society Research Centre at Uppsala University. He has written several articles about young people and religion, value changes, and media, religion and culture. During recent years, his main focus has been on young people’s experiences of Religious Education, on attitudes towards Human Rights among youth, and socialization processes. He is active researcher in the centre of excellence programme The Impact of Religion: Challenges for Society, Law and Democracy 2008-2018.

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