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Paranormal Sweden?: Paranormal beliefs and practices in contemporary Sweden
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Theology, Department of Theology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9078-1730
2024 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This dissertation aims to study the contemporary occurrence of paranormal beliefs, activities and experiences in Sweden as well as a paraculture of practices dedicated to these issues, with a particular focus on issues of knowledge and authority. The study is placed against the backdrop of academic and popular claims that paranormal beliefs, activities and experiences are not only common but are also on the rise. 

A quantitative survey targets a representative sample of Swedish adults (n=1101) and assesses the relation between demographic characteristics and paranormal beliefs and practices. The survey is complemented with fieldwork in the form of participant observation and semi-structured interviews in the paraculture. More specifically, settings and organizations related to mediumship, cryptozoology, ghost hunting, parapsychology and ufology are studied as cases of paranormal practice. The data is analyzed in relation to theorizations of occulture and epistemic authority, the latter by combining the concepts of epistemic capital and boundary-work. The findings point to gender (i.e., being female) and the number of recent occultural contact points as the strongest predictors of paranormal beliefs, activities and experiences. In the paraculture, participants are prone to appeal to different strategies of epistemic capital depending on the setting they were recruited from. One notable result is that while most participants and groups relied on counter-epistemic strategies, such strategies are combined with conventional strategies of science-like and traditional strategies of epistemic capital. Paranormal practice, distinctly epistemic, accordingly becomes a case of how knowledge-making on contested and controversial phenomena may take form in light of the tectonic social and cultural shifts implied by modernization. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2024. , p. 296
Series
Studies in Religion and Society, ISSN 1654-630X ; 22
Keywords [en]
Paranormal, Paranormal beliefs, Paranormal practices, Mediumship, Ghost hunts, Cryptozoology, Parapsychology, Ufology, Occulture, Epistemic authority, Epistemic capital, Boundary-work
National Category
Religious Studies
Research subject
Sociology of Religion
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-518522ISBN: 978-91-513-2001-4 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-518522DiVA, id: diva2:1821290
Public defence
2024-02-16, Geijersalen (6-1023), Uppsala, 14:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2024-01-25 Created: 2023-12-19 Last updated: 2024-01-29

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Tidelius, Cristoffer

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Citation style
  • apa
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Output format
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