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Oreda i skapelsen: Kvinnligt och manligt i Svenska kyrkan under 1920- och 1930-talen
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Theology, Department of Theology.
2010 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Creation's Disorder. Femininity and Masculinity in the Church of Sweden during the 1920s and 1930s seeks to call attention to and analyze conceptions of and reasoning about women and men, the female and the male, at play in a broad range of Swedish Church materials from the 1920s and 1930s. The dissertation analyzes how writers in church circles during the inter-war period represented women's and men's qualities and tasks in three arenas: the home, the nation, and the church. It also endeavors to show how these representations were formed in a churchly as well as a broader non-churchly context.

Conceptions of masculinity and femininity combined in an organic understanding of society, in which the institutions of the state, the family, marriage and the church were conceived as God’s order of creation. This theological thinking about order formed a background for the ecclesial critique of what was seen as the period’s social and moral disintegration.  However, the dissertation argues that this ecclesial cultural criticism should not merely be seen as a critique of civilization in general.  Rather, the dissertation has sought to show how a central core of inter-war ecclesial cultural criticism concerned the establishment of boundaries between the feminine and the masculine.  When the masculine and the feminine “were stirred up in the most distasteful way,” this disturbed the order of society and of the church. 

The final chapter of the dissertation discusses three questions.  First it reflects upon how one can understand the inter-war period’s ecclesial gender discourse in relation to its surroundings. Second, the analysis of the inter-war period’s ecclesial reasoning about masculinity and femininity has shown that the commentators of this period argued for what were de facto gender-specific interpretations of Christianity. Third, the dissertation has shown that even if a theological conception of order dominated the church texts of the time, it was not all-prevailing.  One also hears in the texts diverse voices that speak for the genders’ similarity and freedom.  Even if these voices had little impact on the church texts of the time, they raise the classic systematic-theological question about how theology is forged in the tension between tradition and context.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis , 2010. , 408 p.
Uppsala Studies in Faiths and Ideologies, ISSN 1102-7878 ; 26
Keyword [en]
Gender, Masculinity, Femininity, Subordination, Church of Sweden, Inter-war period, Contextual theology
National Category
History of Religions
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-122638ISBN: 978-91-554-7779-0OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-122638DiVA: diva2:310768
Public defence
2010-05-21, Sal IV, Universitetshuset, Uppsala, 13:15 (Swedish)
Available from: 2010-04-29 Created: 2010-04-16 Last updated: 2015-06-05

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Södling, Maria
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