Nonbelievers in the Church: A Study of Cultural Religion in Sweden

In terms of belief and attendance, Sweden is one of the most secular countries in the world. Yet, church affiliation and ritual participation remain high. As the Church of Sweden historically served secular functions on behalf of the state, this paper uses survey data from the International Social S...

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Bibliographic Details
Published in:Sociology of religion
Main Author: Kasselstrand, Isabella
Format: Electronic Article
Language:English
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Published: Oxford Univ. Press [2015]
In: Sociology of religion
Year: 2015, Volume: 76, Issue: 3, Pages: 275-294
Online Access: Volltext (Verlag)
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Summary:In terms of belief and attendance, Sweden is one of the most secular countries in the world. Yet, church affiliation and ritual participation remain high. As the Church of Sweden historically served secular functions on behalf of the state, this paper uses survey data from the International Social Survey Program to investigate the extent to which Swedes are culturally religious, whereby they belong without believing. Findings reveal more prominent differences between individuals identifying with other religions and the Church of Sweden than between those identifying with the Church of Sweden and no religion. Furthermore, there is a weak connection between beliefs and Church of Sweden identification, while there is a strong relationship between beliefs and regular attendance. As such, this study calls for careful conceptualization of religious belonging as, in some contexts, common measures of objective religiosity, such as affiliation and attendance, reflect fundamentally different phenomena.
ISSN:1759-8818
Contains:Enthalten in: Sociology of religion
Persistent identifiers:DOI: 10.1093/socrel/srv026