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Entangled Religions ; 12(3), 2022.
Article in English | Scopus | ID: covidwho-2026762


This article analyzes the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the religious practices and the public discourse of Jains in the U.S.A. and India. On the institutional level, I show how Jain organizations made extensive efforts to connect digitally with their community members when collective, in-person celebrations and temple visits were either reduced in number, limited in capacity, or cancelled because of the pandemic. Given the new importance of Jain online platforms, I address their potential role in both blurring sectarian boundaries and creating sacred spaces. On the individual level, I examine the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the everyday religious practices of Jains. I conducted eight semi-structured interviews over Zoom between November 2020 and January 2021. I argue that while there is a great diversity of individual Jain responses, a common feature appears to be a significant increase of Jains participating in scholarly religious activities. In terms of the ways in which some Jains talk, write, and reflect on the COVID- 19 pandemic, I identify and examine a Jain discourse on the COVID-19 pandemic that is characterized by environmental concerns and by the processes of scientization and universalization. Building on the work of Knut Aukland (2016) that examines the role of science in contemporary Jain discussions, I define scientization as the ongoing process where Jains underline the convergence of their religion with modern science. With the term universalization, I refer to the noticeable trend among Jains to argue for the need to teach Jainism beyond the Jain community by showing its contemporary relevance and applicability to overcome global problems, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. © 2022 Center for Religious Studies. All right reserved.

Religions ; 13(5):377, 2022.
Article in English | ProQuest Central | ID: covidwho-1871320


This paper identifies and examines a Jain narrative that frames Jain tenets as being in line with some of the most impactful COVID-19 measures. It demonstrates how during the early stages of the pandemic (i.e., mid-March 2020 to January 2021), some Jains drew parallels between various Jain principles and the WHO guidelines, finding agreement, for instance, between the muhpattī (“face cloth”) and the public face mask and the dig-vrata (a Jain vow of restraint) and social distancing. This paper shows how some also viewed several unintentional consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic (such as not being able to go shopping during the lockdown) as being in line with Jain practices (here the practice of aparigraha or non-possessiveness). By means of an analysis of two Jain writings on the WHO guidelines, I demonstrate how some Jains framed several COVID-19 measures within a distinctive Jain worldview. I argue that the equation of Jain practices with the WHO guidelines should be understood within the ongoing universalization and scientization of Jainism, processes that present Jainism as a universal and scientific solution to global disasters, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Public Organization Review ; : 17, 2022.
Article in English | Web of Science | ID: covidwho-1813781


This article focuses on the role of experts in the Norwegian decision-making process in central government during the crisis management of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is based on a structural-instrumental and a cultural perspective. The main findings are that managing the pandemic led to a centralization of power in the hands of the political leadership, a blurring of the dichotomy between politics and administration, and a variety of expert advice. The crisis management also reflected the cultural appropriateness of a collaborative decision-making style, but it was not characterized by a scientization of policymaking. Rather than policymaking by experts it was policymaking informed by experts.