Nytt vin i gamla läglar Socialdemokratisk kyrkopolitik under perioden 1944-1973

Daniel Alvunger

Forskningsoutput: AvhandlingDoktorsavhandling (monografi)


The purpose of this dissertation is to analyse the principal elements of SAP (the Swedish Social Democratic Workers Party) church politics in the period 1944 to 1973. The central issues discussed are the relationship of church and state, freedom of religion, and political reforms touching the General Synod, the parish organisation, and the ordination of women. In this study, I suggest that the SAP adopted the idea of a national church, and imbued it with new meaning. This process of transformation can be equated to the biblical analogy of new wine in old bottles, the new wine being the principles of democracy, decanted into old bottles, the existing church system.

The course of the SAP:s policies is outlined as three phases: the conflict phase (1944-1951), the formation phase (1951-1956) and the consolidation phase (1958-1972). During the 1950s the tensions diminsihed between the two groups of activists which are identified within the SAP: The ?separatists?, who held that the established church was incompatible with freedom of religion and should be abolished, respectively the ?modifiers?, who wanted to preserve the established church, and believed it to be essential for freedom of religion. The purpose of the 'modifiers'' policies is described as an attempt to effect the integration of the Church of Sweden into the political system. The ?modifiers? reform policy became the guideline for SAP:s church politics. At the congress 1960 the party took on a new course called ?the freedom of religion approach? and the party manifesto gave 'the principles of democracy and religious freedom' precedence in determining the relationship between the Church of Sweden and the state. At the congress 1972, the SAP backed a proposal to disestablish the Church of Sweden. On 21 March 1973, however, the social-democratic government announced that it would not continue with a formal proposal of disestablishment since major bodies within the Church of Sweden had rejected the idea. This study shows that the failed attempt to disestablish the Church of Sweden in 1973 equally proved to be the embodiment of a successful process of integration and adaptation on the part of the Church of Sweden into democratic society.

This study also demonstrates that preconceptions derived from a Lutheran confessional approach characterised the social democrats' political and ideological rhetoric. SAP:s church politics rested on a secularised confessional basis, a 'secularised Lutherdom'.
Bidragets översatta titel New wine in old bottles: social democrats and church politics, 1944 to 1973
Tilldelande institution
  • Historia
  • Salomon, Kim, handledare
Tilldelningsdatum2006 nov. 25
ISBN (tryckt)91-7271-053-5
StatusPublished - 2006

Bibliografisk information

Defence details

Date: 2006-11-25
Time: 10:15
Place: Department of History Magle Stora Kyrkogata 12 A Sal 3

External reviewer(s)

Name: Jarlert, Anders
Title: Prof.
Affiliation: Centre for Theology and Religious Studies


Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Historia


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