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Lokal kyrklig identitet: En studie av implicit ecklesiologi med exemplet Svenska kyrkan i Flemingsberg
Uppsala University, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Faculty of Theology, Department of Theology.
2009 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Ideström, Jonas 2009. Lokal kyrklig identitet – en studie av implicit ecklesiologi med exemplet Svenska kyrkan i Flemingsberg. (Summary: Local Church Identity – a Study of Implicit Ecclesiology with the Example of the Church of Sweden in Flemingsberg)

The focus of this thesis is the concrete identity of the church. The study has been conducted within the church of Sweden in a parish in a southern Stockholm suburb. The aim of the thesis is to gain knowledge of how the identity of the Church of Sweden is manifested at a local level in a suburban context and to develop an ecclesiological approach for conducting such a study. The overall ecclesiological approach of the study is defined as a theologically reflective and abductive. The church is understood as a concrete historical and social agent in the light of God’s presence and therefore both theology and social theory is needed in studying its identity. The approach is abductive in the sense that the study process can be seen as a continuing dialogue between the theoretical reflections and the establishment of empirical material.

The study is conducted within an ecclesiological framework, and the concept implicit ecclesiology is central. Implicit ecclesiology is defined as an understanding of what it is to be church that is illuminated by applying a theoretical perspective on expressions of the concrete church. In the thesis the implicit ecclesiology is illuminated by using a theological understanding of the identity of the church and theories on organizational identity.

To analyze the material from the ecclesiological field-study in the parish a theoretical model for analysis is developed. The purpose of the model is to make it possible to analyze and describe what kind of social body that is manifested in the material.

An approach that draws on Niklas Luhmanns’ theory of organizations as social systems is used. Out of that theory two main concepts are defined: self-descriptions and identity-structures. The concepts of practice, identity-space, strategy and tactics are also added to the model to reveal concrete expressions of the social body and telos it is striving towards.

The analysis of the material gives a rather complex picture of the social body and the ecclesiology implicit in its manifestations. The analysis of the self-descriptions used by the local church show that, to a large extent, a rather narrow social body is described, consisting mainly of employees and the local church council. Three identity-structures are also revealed that in a significant way form the social body: one around the employees, one in relation to worship and a third in relation to the geographical borders of the parish.

Implicit in the result of the analysis is an understanding of Christ as being present in the world where a fundamental relational pattern of the incarnation liberates people to a community with one another and with God. The analysis shows how this, by the church, is understood to be embodied in a special way in the liturgy of the worship. Without this embodiment of the relational pattern of the incarnation in the social body of the church, Christ would not be present in the world. There is, then, an implicit understanding of the concrete church as being an instrument for God’s presence in the world through Christ.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Skellefteå: Artos & Norma bokförlag , 2009. , 296 p.
, Bibliotheca theologiae practicae, ISSN 0519-9859 ; 85
Keyword [en]
Ecclesiology, identity, local church, implicit ecclesiology, social body, Church of Sweden, organization, social system, self-descriptions, identity-structures, practice, identity-space, telos, strategy, tactics, eschatology.
National Category
Religious Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-9560ISBN: 978-91-7580-413-2OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-9560DiVA: diva2:173265
Public defence
2009-03-06, Auditorium Minus, Gustavianum, Uppsala, 10:15 (English)
Available from: 2009-02-09 Created: 2009-02-09 Last updated: 2009-03-19Bibliographically approved

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