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Eberhardt, Verena Marie (23. August 2022): Knowledge, Self-concepts, and Interpersonal Perceptions. Studying Religious Diversity in Media for Children. LERU Theology and Religious Studies Thematic group, Lund University, 21.–24.08.2022.
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Medial representations of religion explicitly aimed at children shape religious communities and their public image. At the same time, media influence ideas of children as intended readers and their role in society. In this presentation, I am particularly interested in this interface between concepts of childhood, media for children and ideas of knowledge about religion: How are religions and religious diversity represented in children’s media? What ideas of childhood do children’s media suggest? And what does knowledge about religion even mean? The working hypothesis is that media explicitly produced for children express images of society and are characterised by imaginations of ideals of living together. I argue that those who produce media for children want to express ideals of how society is and could be. At the same time, children’s media reflect imaginations of children and childhood consciously and unintentionally. My study aims at exploring normative ideas in the representation of children and religions in media. I am interested in transformations of representations as well as in epistemological premises concerning the knowledge category and conveyed values and norms. I will show that children’s media addressing religious plurality see children as bearers of hope for peaceful coexistence in the future. But the attempt to represent the diversity of religions often results in stereotypes and prejudices, which is why it seems paradoxical to convey values such as tolerance and getting to know one another. The paper contributes to the study of media by analysing how religions are conceived in German-language media, what is expected from children as intended readers and how knowledge about religion should be conveyed to children. It states the importance of literature and (audio-)visual productions in the mediation of knowledge, self-concepts, interpersonal perceptions and normative paradigms