Religion and social responsibility

People facing new challenges fall back on their underlying world views to interpret their experiences. Religious and secular ideas help them assess risks and provide a compass for their actions.

  • Project description

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    In recent decades Switzerland's religious landscape has become increasingly pluralistic. This diversity is reflected in the range of religious and secular world views that helped people interpret the completely new conditions they had to live under during the pandemic. In turn, these interpretations play a role in individual and collective decision-making, including compliance with measures and recommendations issued by government to limit infections. This project will investigate how people and institutions belonging to different religious and secular contexts talk about their own bodies, the state and the virus, and how elements of their underlying world views shape their perceptions, attitudes and social actions.

  • Background

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    Analysing religious and secular narratives surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic helps us understand how people and institutions perceive a risk situation and the danger they are facing. This analysis of world views will provide a basis for better understanding the differences in interpretations of the crisis and the reasoning behind the appropriate behaviour for the situation. The knowledge gained will make it possible to develop more effective communication strategies for future crises.

  • Aim

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    The aim is to investigate the role that religious and secular world views play in people’s compliance with government regulations, recommendations and established practices for containing the pandemic. The project will investigate how individual and collective players in religious and secular settings use or used stories and narratives to interpret the Covid-19 pandemic and how these stories and narratives construe and present the pandemic, the role of the state and each individual’s body.

  • Relevance

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    The project will survey responses to the pandemic and government measures to protect people in the light of various religious and secular world views. Since the project investigates the underlying narrative and attitudes to social responsibility in characteristic settings, it is also significant because it describes the various settings, which makes it possible to suggest reasoned hypotheses as to how people in these settings would behave in similar crises.

  • Application

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    More accurate knowledge of the narratives used in religious settings to justify or reject social responsibility provides the basis for developing setting-specific educational campaigns.

  • Original title

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    How Worldviews Shape Social Responsibility: Religious and Secular Narratives of the Body, the Virus, and the State in the Covid-19 Crisis