© 2018

Religious Complexity in the Public Sphere

Comparing Nordic Countries

  • Inger Furseth

Part of the Palgrave Studies in Religion, Politics, and Policy book series (PSRPP)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxi
  2. Inger Furseth
    Pages 1-29
  3. Inger Furseth, Lars Ahlin, Kimmo Ketola, Annette Leis-Peters, Bjarni Randver Sigurvinsson
    Pages 31-80
  4. Lene Kühle, Ulla Schmidt, Brian Arly Jacobsen, Per Pettersson
    Pages 81-135
  5. Mia Lövheim, Jonas Lindberg, Pål Ketil Botvar, Henrik Reintoft Christensen, Kati Niemelä, Anders Bäckström
    Pages 137-191
  6. Knut Lundby, Henrik Reintoft Christensen, Ann Kristin Gresaker, Mia Lövheim, Kati Niemelä, Sofia Sjö et al.
    Pages 193-249
  7. Inger Furseth, Lars Ahlin, Kimmo Ketola, Annette Leis-Peters, Pål Repstad, Bjarni Randver Sigurvinsson et al.
    Pages 251-289
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 313-341

About this book


This book is an empirical comparative study of the complexity of religion in the public spheres of the five Nordic countries. The result of a five-year collaborative research project, the work examines how increasingly religiously diverse Nordic societies regulate, debate, and negotiate religion in the state, the polity, the media, and civil society. The project finds that there are seemingly contradictory religious trends at different social levels: a growing secularization at the individual level, and a deprivatization of religion in politics, the media, and civil society. It offers a critique of the current theories of secularization and the return of religion, introducing religious complexity as an alternative concept to understand these paradoxes. This book is for scholars, students, and readers with an interest in understanding the public role of religion in the West. 


Social complexity anthropology religious complexity Nordic Religion today secularization of society deprivatization of religion civil society welfare state sociology of religion Religion and culture Religion and Politics Denmark Religion Finland Religion Iceland Religion Norway Religion Sweden Religion

Editors and affiliations

  • Inger Furseth
    • 1
  1. 1.Institutt for sosiologi og samfunnsgeografiOsloNorway

About the editors

Inger Furseth is Professor of Sociology and Human Geography, University of Oslo, Norway, and adjunct professor at KIFO Centre for Church Research, Norway. Some of her books include A Comparative Study of Social and Religious Movements in Norway, 1780s-1905 (2002), From Quest for Truth to Being Oneself (2006), and An Introduction to the Sociology of Religion (2006, co-author). She was the director of the research program, The Role of Religion in the Public Sphere: A Comparative Study of the Five Nordic Countries 1998-2008 (NOREL 2009-2014). 

Bibliographic information


“The book’s main target audience is probably international scholars with an interest in the Nordic situation, but it will also be suitable for Nordic scholars and students … . the book will surely be a reference work for years to come.” (Andreas Häger, Temenos, Issue 1, 2019)