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Den mångtydiga församlingen: Organisering, roller och relationer i spänningen mellan sekularisering och desekularisering
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Social Sciences.
2011 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Parishes of the Church of Sweden work under the influence of a religious and cultural tradition as well as a societal, individual and internal secularization (Chaves 1994). The organization therefore has to react to the requirements of change alongside the need to preserve its distinctive character. The aim of this thesis is to analyze experiences of how a secularized context and internal organizational requirements influence the parishes' organization of structure and activities, the role of the actors and the relations between them.  The data consists of two empirical studies. The first study (carried out in 2007) is based on semi-structured interviews with 26 diocese employees at twelve of Church of Sweden's diocese secretariats. The second study (carried out in 2009) is based on semi-structured interviews with vicars and focus group-interviews with members of the faith ministry, employees and volunteers in four different parishes, in total 77 informants. Three different analyses of the material have been carried out.

The first analysis, guided by new institutional theory, focuses on the parish’s organization in relation to a secularized context. Results show that the majority of the parishes have accepted a “market adapted organization model” in order to compete on the religious market, or perhaps most importantly, to retain their current members. The study concludes that the major challenge for the Church of Sweden’s parishes today is to find a balance between preserving traditions and adapting the organization to the ambient society's requirements of market adaptation and rationalization, which can result in internal secularization. 

The second analysis is guided by role theory and focuses on the actor´s (vicars, members of the faith ministry, employees and volunteers) different roles in the parishes, in the light of organizational change. Results show how the different roles are affected by the organizational structure as well as by the societal context. The study concludes that a role is not static; instead it is affected by ideas from society, the organization, and other actor’s expectations as well as the actor him/her self. The four investigated roles tend to be more and more complex and, despite role, intra- and inter- role conflicts seems to be common in the parishes.

The third and last analysis is guided by network analysis and focuses on the relations between the four actor groups. The results show that the actors sometimes have difficulty in separating between formal and informal relations. The relations seem to overlap each other, be multiplex and have more than one content.  This can be related to the parish ambiguity as well as the actor´s many different roles within the organization.  The thesis concludes with a theoretical discussion there a modifying of the concept internal secularization is proposed. 



Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Östersund: Mid Sweden University , 2011. , 150 p.
Mid Sweden University doctoral thesis, ISSN 1652-893X ; 113
Keyword [en]
Parishes, organizational change, role theory, network analysis, internal secularization, desecularization
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-14383ISBN: 978-91-86694-54-8 (print)OAI: diva2:436871
Public defence
2011-10-07, L216, Mittuniversitetet, Östersund, 13:15 (Swedish)
Available from: 2011-08-25 Created: 2011-08-22 Last updated: 2012-08-02Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

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