Svenska kyrkans sociala arbete – för vem och varför? En religionssociologisk studie av ett diakonalt dilemma
Sammanfattning: The main purpose of this dissertation has been to investigate how well diaconal work in seven chosen parishes corresponds to an official definition of the diaconal task of the Church of Sweden as above all to represent and direct activities towards the most disadvantaged and/or marginalised groups in society, a definition that well corresponds to the general expectations of the Swedish people regarding the role of the Church.The empirical ground for the dissertation comes from diaconal inventories built mainly on a comprehensive interview material with parish workers and appointed representatives in the chosen parishes. Diaconal work being carried out has been analysed and discussed in relation to the understanding of diaconal work put forward on the national level as mainly intended for those in greatest need. Analyse is carried out with a point of departure in secularization theory. The apparent dichotomy between public and private religion offer some explanation and enhance the understanding of how religious actors on different levels within the Church organisation have elected to confront the marginalised role of the Church.The most important conclusion generated by this dissertation is a clear lack of correspondence between the understanding of the deaconry as formulated on the national level and diaconal practice in the parishes studied. This discrepancy can arise because actors on the national and local levels have different strategies for counteracting the marginalisation. The gap between the national strategy emphasizing the task of the Church to represent the needy and a diaconal practice expressing quite another strategy represents a concrete and grave dilemma for the Church; a dilemma that in a not too distant future can have serious consequences for the Church’s credibility in the eyes of a distanced, nonreligious public.
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