Det konstruktiva beroendet: Feministisk teologi i ett individualistiskt samhälle

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)

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Human dependence is a phenomenon with above all negative connotations. We tend to associate it either with addiction or an economic, social and emotional lack of independence and view it as an impediment to women’s liberation. Dependence has been viewed as mutually exclusive to freedom. This is particularly the case in a country like Sweden, where independence is built in to the societal system so that the state guarantees the individual’s independence of the family through an extensive social insurance system. This is what historians Henrik Berggren and Lars Trägårdh have called statist individualism. Feminists’ demands for public reforms in terms of for example an extended preschool and extensive parents’ allowance has fit in rather well with the overall political agenda of high employment rates and has therefore been fairly successful in Sweden. However, this strategy can also be accused of buying into the patriarchal structure of superordinating wage work at the expense of human relations. In this thesis, I advance the notion that the self is constructively dependent on others for its self-becoming. This self-becoming is narrative in the sense that the self develops through telling its story and receiving its story from the other, thereby becoming a unique individual. Therefore, I maintain that not being able to exercise one’s constructive dependence leads to subordination to the same extent as destructive dependences do. By exploring the relational theologies of feminist theologians Lisa Isherwood, Sarah Coakley and Catherine Keller, I show how feminist theology can contribute to a more relational perspective of the human person that allows for constructive dependencies. In the conclusion, I point to storytelling as a spiritual means of meaning-making and a way to imagine a different future that supports action. Likewise, I call attention to the importance of everyday life in the utopia that is imagined. It is in everyday life, both in the reproductive and the productive sphere, that human beings are becoming through telling their stories and receiving their stories from others.
Original languageSwedish
  • Svenungsson, Jayne, Supervisor
  • Martinson, Mattias, Assistant supervisor, External person
  • Svalfors, Ulrika, Assistant supervisor, External person
Award date2020 Oct 9
Place of PublicationLund
ISBN (Print)978-91-89213-08-1
ISBN (electronic) 978-91-89213-09-8
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Ethics
  • Philosophy

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