The Modeling Religion in Norway (MODRN) project is a brand-new initiative at the University of Agder in Kristiansand, Norway. Funded primarily by the Research Council of Norway, the project will deploy the tools of computer simulation to study religious and social change – and, in particular, conflict – in a Scandinavian context. The Nordic nation is an ideal launching pad for the “virtual experimentation” enabled by computer simulation, not least because the Norwegian government keeps highly detailed, longitudinal data gathered via social surveys. These carefully kept, massive datasets will provide researchers with fine-grained empirical insight into the ways that society is changing year by year.
On the ground, Norway is highly secularized. But at the same time, it’s experiencing large-scale immigration – often from highly religious regions of the world. This unique and fast-changing mix of secular and religious offers researchers a critical window into the likely future of religion and society across Western societies. In applying the empirical and theoretical tools of the bio-cultural study of religion to the high-quality datasets available in Norway, MODRN is poised to advance our understanding of how religion may influence society in the decades to come.
Read more about MODRN here.