Ole Gunnar Winsnes (red.): Contemporary religion and Church. A Nordic perspective

This book includes lectures from the ten-year anniversary of KIFO Centre for Church Research in Oslo Sept. 18th–19th 2003. Part one deals with religion in modern society, identifying some tendencies in religion that might be important in the forseeable future. The basic argument in the first lecture (Beckford) is that the social significance of religion today lies in its diversity. He discusses some contemporary configurations of religion: individual choice and marketisation, religious diversity and convergence, and religion, human rights and state management. The other lectures discuss:
* the use of life stories in the empirical study of religion
* ethics and morality in life stories
* the use of stories in studies of adolescents and religion.

The second part focuses on the national churches in the Nordic countries. The first lecture (Bäckström) argues that the church no longer provides man with a holistic picture of life and existence. It is rather man who seeks his concept of totality and relationships. In this situation, however, the church gains importance for both the cultural memory and for the individuals who seek quality in their lives. The other lectures are dealing with:
* the church and its clergy
* parental considerations regarding baptism
* the relationship between a descriptive and a normative approach within church research.

The contributors

Jim Beckford
Professor, Sociology, University of Warwick. E-mail: j.a.beckford@warwick.ac.uk

Erling Birkedal
Director, IKO Center for Christian Education, Oslo. E-mail: erling.birkedal@iko.no

Anders Bäckström
Professor, Sociology of Religion, Uppsala University. E-mail: anders.backstrom@teol.uu.se

Inger Furseth
Research Assosciate, KIFO Centre for Church Research, Oslo. E-mail: inger.furseth@kifo.no

Harald Hegstad
Professor, Practical Theology, MF The Norwegian Lutheran School of Theology, Oslo. E-mail:harald.hegstad@mf.no

Morten Huse

Research Assosciate, KIFO. 2003–04: Professor, Innovation and Economic Organization, BI Norwegian School of Management. E-mail: mhuse@online.no or morten.huse@bi.no

Ida Marie Høeg
Research Assosciate, KIFO Centre for Church Research, Oslo. E-mail: ida.marie.hoeg@kifo.no

Pål Repstad
Professor, Sociology of Religion, Agder University College, Kristiansand. E-mail: pal.repstad@hia.no

Ulla Schmidt
Research Assosciate, KIFO Centre for Church Research, Oslo. E-mail: ulla.schmidt@kifo.no

Sven-Åke Selander
Professor Emeritus, Practical Theology, Lund University. E-mail: teol-sas@cassandra.net.lu.se

ISBN 82-519-1962-2. NOK 190,- 159 sider. May 2004.
Tapir Akademisk Forlag (Tapir Academic Press).
The book may be ordered from kifo@kifo.no