Christiane Königstedt englisch

Christiane Königstedt, Dr. phil.


Title: Religious non-conformity and laïcité - Cultural conflicts about 'religion'  - the example of 'les Guerres des Sectes' in France  (completed)

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Hubert Seiwert

Summary: This PhD-project examines the public and juridical dealing with New Religious Movements  (NRB) and alternative spirituality in France concerning its cultural-religious and normative backgrounds. This becomes a case firstly, as  the treatment of those groups, compared to the USA and the rest of Europe, is significantly more rigid, and  secondly because, though there is a gap in the research on the dealing with religion and religious pluralism within secular states, this topic has scarcely been researched systematically for the French context with its strong secular tradition.
The research focuses  to a wide extend at one level on legal arrangements (law) and their applications, as well as on the consequences those have, for example, concerning the space for political and legal participation for NRM or single members. In  short, the mechanisms that work within Frances legal system in regulating NRM are analysed. Understanding culture as not homogenous but fragmented, "frames“, visible within the reasoning of single key actors, within public discourses or court decisions, are examined in order not only to show what works how but also why it happens. On both levels  and on the example of NRM, I aim at pointing out more pecisely also general problems in secular dealing with religion.
Parallelly to this inorder to be able to show a more balanced picture, it will be looked at special features of NRM (beliefs, group structure and organisation) as possible reasons for the mostly hostile reactions towards them, insofar, that the results of partly classic works on NRM and my own researches in this area  will be integrated in  the main part of the analyses.
The leading question behind the research is, how and why is it the case, that a quantitative minority is considered sto be so  dangerous and so strongly rejected within a country in Western Europe.

Academic Career (until Spring 2012)

March/April 2011 and March 2012

Field and archive research in Paris and Nantes, France

WS 2010/11

Teaching at the Seminar for Religious Studies, University of Münster
[Research Seminar: "Religious individualisation or subjectivation of culture? The Theories of Thomas Luckmann, Peter L. Berger und Hubert Knoblauch in comparison"; zusammen mit Prof. Dr. Anette Wilke]

since May 2010

Member of the DFG-Research Training Group: „Religious Non-Conformity and Cultural Dynamics“, University of Leipzig

Research assistant at the "Cluster of Excellence for Religion and Politics in Modern and Pre-modern Cultures" and at the "Semiar for Religious Studies and Intercultural Theology", University of Münster

Teaching: Seminar: "Introduction to Sociology of New Religious Movements", University of Münster

2004-2009 Magister (M.A. + B.A. eqivalent) Sociology und Religious Studies, Georg-August-University Göttingen

Magister (M.A. + B.A. eqivalent) Sociology, Political Studies and German Literature, Braunschweig University


Main areas of research (November 2014)

  • Theories und methods of Religious and Cultural Studies
  • Sociology of Religion
  • Religion and Secularity
  • interconnectedness of religion and culture
  • modern forms of religion
  • 'New Age' and 'Alternative' Religions


Publications (until Jan. 2015, sel.)

  • [...]
  • Self-Dissolving Enemies Die Dynamiken des alternativ-religiösen Feldes und die säkularisitsche Regierungspraxis, in: Zeitschrift für Religionswissenschaft (ZfR) 2015;23 (1), de Gruyter.
  • Gott in Frankreich: Ein Fall von bedingter Religionsfreiheit. Religionswissenschaftlicher Informationsdienst (REMID) - online 15.07. 2013. [Url:].
  • 'NRM in France and the use of digital media as counter-strategy against social and legal exclusion'.In: Ahlbeck, Tore and Dahla, Björn: Digital Religion. Donnerska Institutet 2013, pp. 123.137.
  • Religio-spiritual strategies of self-help and empowerment in everyday life. Selected cases of spirituality in Germany. In: Ahlbeck, Tore and Dahla, Björn: Post-Secular Religious Practices. Donnerska Institutet 2012, p.178-200.

Presentations (until 2013, sel.)

  • [...]
  • 'Religious Deviance and Its Regulation in Secular Societies: Examples from France '. ISSR 2013, Abo-Turku 27.6.-31.6.
  • 'Action-Response-Areas within Frances Conflicts on "sectes"'. EASR-conference 'Ends and Beginnings', Södertörn Universität Stockholm, 23.-26.-8 2012.
  • 'NRM in France and the use of digital media as counter-strategy
    against social and legal exclusion'. Digital Religion: Conference organised by Donnerska-Institutet, Abo-Turku 2012.
  • 'New Religious Movements and the French "Anti-Cult"-Legislation'. 3rd Annual PhD students day on law and religion, Oxford-Brookes, September 2011.
  • Neue Religiöse Bewegungen in Frankreich - Rechtsetzung und -anwendung'. Doktorandenwerkstatt Marburg, Februar  2011.
  • 'New Age' Religion in practical life: In comparison with the German Peace Movement in the 1980s“. IAHR, August  2010/Toronto.

c.koenigstedt (at)