This page in Swedish

Research projects

Bridge-building in a divided society? Mapping the establishment of interreligious councils in Sweden.

About this project

Project information

Project status

In progress 2019 - 2020


Ann-Catrin Kristianssen

Research subject

The discussion regarding the role of religion in the society is intensifying both as a political issue and as a research area. Religion is often portrayed as either a positive or a negative force in the society. In a multicultural society, such as the Swedish one, religion has the potential to be a bridge-builder and one example is so called interreligious councils in Swedish municipalities. There is an growing belief that interreligious dialogue can contribute to solving local conflicts, specifically on ethnic grounds. This project aims to contribute to increasing the knowledge about interreligious councils and their potential to build bridges between the civic society and public institutions. The project is based on two studies: to map the establishment of interreligious work in Swedish municipalities, and to perform an interview study with representatives of religious councils in various municipalities. The study departs from five main questions: 1. How do Swedish municipalities work with interreligious issues?, 2. Where do we find interreligious councils and how are they organized? 3. What is the main task and how is the work organized? 4. How do the representatives view the role of interreligious dialogue in the society? 5. How can interreligious councils be understood from both a conflict solution and conflict generating perspective? To be able to analyze and to understand the role of the these councils and the expectations, an analytic framework based on two theoretical perspectives is used. Theories on interreligious dialogue is used in combination of theories on governance and hybrid organizations. Theories on policy diffusion will also be applicable.

Research funding bodies

  • Swedish Agency for Youth and Civil Society