Där taket är högt och trösklarna låga : En religionssociologisk studie av hur Universitetskyrkans verksamhet framställs i tre svenska studenttidningar

Detta är en Kandidat-uppsats från Uppsala universitet/Religionssociologi


The aim of this essay is to study how the University Church is represented in student newspapers. By conducting an inductive thematic analysis on sixteen articles chosen from newspapers distributed by the student union at three Swedish universities, the main purpose of the study is to further understand the role and function of the University Church in a contemporary Swedish context. Three themes emerging from the initial step of the thematic analysis were chosen for further analysis: (1) a secularized church?, (2) provocation and (3) reasons to seek out the University Church. The themes were then highlighted by two theoretical perspectives: Mark Chaves’ theory of internal secularization and a theoretical framework developed by Anders Bäckström with the aim to explain the role of the church as a welfare agent in Sweden.

The study shows that the University Church is portrayed as both an ambiguous and complex organization. On one hand, the material shows that the University Church is expected to serve as one student welfare provider among several others on campus. On the other hand, the University Church is blamed for enforcing the dominating Christian hegemony and thus excluding students belonging to other faith traditions. On a macro level, the study shows that the University Church’s intentions do not always correlate with the expected role of the church expressed by critics. Consequently, the University Church seems to struggle with finding its role, much like the Church of Sweden has done since the disestablishment in 2000. On a meso level, secularization of religious authorities was noticeable in the material as university chaplains are depicted spending a majority of their time on providing student welfare. However, no general decrease in the religiosity of the overall church organization could be confirmed in the study. In conclusion, the study shows that the potential secularized nature of the University Church is not necessarily perceived as negative by students. Instead, the University Church has the potential to become a hybrid institution, bridging the gap between the religious and the secular sphere at Swedish universities.  

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