"Social work" and missionary work as part of the power game

Hans-Jörgen Wallin Weihe

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)

125 Downloads (Pure)


This thesis discusses "social work" as part of missionary work during Hans Egede´s mission in Greenland (1721-1736) and the starting period of the Norwegian Saami mission (1888-1900). The discussion is focused by connecting it to Habermas´s discussion of "The structural transformation of the public" (1989). The discussion includes an analysis of the complexity of contemporary ideas. Missionary work is seen as both in alliance with and, in the last period, partly in conflict with motives of imperialism and nationalism.

The last part of the dissertation includes a discussion of ethics and communication relating the historical material to important questions of ethics and communication of today: - What relationship exists between power and caring ? - is it possible to operate with universal values ? In this part I focus on the interaction between the missionaries and the local population and try to create an understanding from the point of view of "the local population." The dissertation concludes that in close interaction, living and depending upon each other, the common humanity was of far more importance than the differences.

Among other findings the study shows that the official writings and documents of the missionaries and their supporteres might tell one thing and practical action another. The case of the Saami mission is particularly illustrative of that. The males representing the organization seem to argue in one way, while the females not participating in the organizational discourse seem to have made the the organization move in another direction through their support of "the social."
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • School of Social Work
  • [unknown], [unknown], Supervisor, External person
Award date1999 May 28
Publication statusPublished - 1999

Bibliographical note

Defence details

Date: 1999-05-28
Time: 10:15
Place: Socialhögskolan sal 28 Bredgatan 26, Lund

External reviewer(s)

Name: Andersen, Peter B
Title: [unknown]
Affiliation: Kobehavns Universitet, Denmark


Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Social Work

Free keywords

  • Social changes
  • Sociology
  • Social work
  • Saami
  • Missology
  • Inuit
  • History
  • Greenland
  • Ethics
  • Anthropology
  • theory of social work
  • Sociala förändringar
  • teorier om socialt arbete


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