The role of religion in the public sphere. A comparative study of the five Nordic countries (NOREL).

Profound religious changes have taken place in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland, which include changes in church – state relations and the growth of new religious minorities that demand equal opportunities and roles in the public sphere. Here, the “public sphere” refers to the state, the polity, the mass media, and the civil society. The Nordic countries have different church-state relations as well as immigration histories and policies. At the same time, they have a Lutheran majority church and institutionalized rights for religious minorities. They harbor a combination of common and different features that make for an interesting comparative study. This four year research project (2009-2013) systematically compares religious changes during the past twenty years.

Four themes are of particular interest:

  1. State and religion
  2. Religion and politics
  3. Religion and the media
  4. Religion and civil society