Intersections of the Popular and the Sacred in Youth Cultures

Call for papers
Holy Crap!
Intersections of the Popular and the Sacred in Youth Cultures
28–29 August 2014
Helsinki, Finland

Holy Crap! is an international conference organised by the Finnish Youth Research Society and Network, focusing on the interrelations between popular culture, youth and the sacred. The conference aims at interrogating 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 conference will facilitate interdisciplinary dialogue between youth studies, cultural studies, religious studies and the broader social sciences.

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.

Holy Crap! locates itself at the intersection of these three contested concepts, seeking to re-examine and re-evaluate the dynamics within and between cultural phenomena prefixed with “popular”, “sacred” and “youth”.

The conference organisers invite proposals for either complete 90-minute sessions or individual 30-minute presentations. The general theme of the conference 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 judgements, the (post)modern and the (post)secular;
• Institutions: families, congregations, denominations, corporations, educational institutions, 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 conference organisers are happy to note that Prof Matt Hills, Dr Clive March and Prof Carolyn Marvin have accepted the invitation to participate in the conference as keynote speakers.

The proposals should be submitted via email, preferably as an attachment in doc/pdf/rtf format, to Antti-Ville Kärjä ( no later than 15 January 2014. Notifications of acceptance will be sent by 31 January 2014.

Proposals should include the following information:

• name(s) and affiliation(s) of the presenter(s);
• the title of the presentation/session;
• an abstract of no more than 200 words for a 30-minute presentation or 500 words for a 90-minute session.

For the full version of the call and further information, please visit or contact Antti-Ville Kärjä (