Kyrkliga kulturarv i en ny tid : Samlade studier och reflektioner

Sammanfattning: This study describes and analyses the Swedish ecclesiastical heritage as well as the structures and systems that provide conditions and frameworks for how it is perceived and managed. One purpose is to explain today’s situation concerning the 3,000 historic church buildings and sites protected by national heritage legislation and owned by the Church of Sweden. Furthermore, the study analyses how the approaches, paradigms or discourses, which define that ecclesiastical heritage, have changed over the past two centuries. The study aims to bridge the gaps between antiquarian, art history and conservation discourses, where churches are mainly seen as material historic objects and other discourses that regard churches as living heritage, intangible heritage, or as resources for human rights and sustainable development. The analyses are based on theories such as the concepts of Authorized Heritage Discourse, heritagisation, secularisation, and research methods as discourse analysis and self-reflexivity. The study defines and discusses the Church Antiquarian System, which includes the State-Church agreement, the Historic Environment Act and the State financial compensation. The analyses show that the system is based on a partly outdated conservation approach, with origins in an even older nineteenth-century antiquarian discourse, that is not consistent with the national heritage policy adopted by the Swedish parliament. Thus, it blocks a necessary development where many redundant churches could be revitalised as resources for society. The current approach, as well as the Church’s use of its heritage and history, contribute to a deliberately created positive image, avoiding dark or controversial heritage that illustrates abuse of groups of people such as “witches” in the seventeenth century. To achieve the desired development towards a holistic and inclusive approach to ecclesiastical heritage, several recommendations are given. These include identification of heritage discourses in heritage practices and policies, tolerance of many existing heritage approaches, a review and update of the Church Antiquarian System, and finally the need for developing the competence of heritage officers in the adapted reuse of heritage as a resource for sustainable societal development.