tisdag, juni 07, 2016

I Kanada bl.a. för att tala om svenskt kyrkligt kulturarv

Denna vecka är jag på en mycket spännande konferens som Association for Critical Heritage Studies arrangerar i Montreal. Själv håller jag en presentation om de värden som man i svensk politik har hänvisat till för att kulturarvsskydda kyrkobygnader och andra delar av det kyrkliga kulturarvet:


"Sweden is often described as one of the most secular countries in the world, a country where only 45 percent of the population state that they believe in God (Bromander 2013). Yet, like several other Northern European nation-states, it has had an established national church for most of its modern history. As exemplified by the above quote from one of the government bills  preparing for the separation of church and state in year 2000, the religious heritage of that church now forms a significant part of the national cultural heritage protected by law and government  policies. These Northern European countries can thus appear as something of a paradox in terms of secularization; they are, at the same time, some of the most secularized countries in the world, and countries where state and church retain close ties (e.g. Casanova 2015, Harding 2015). The relationship between heritagization and secularization is a complex one; on the one hand, the religious heritage of established and formerly established religious institutions still play a significant role in in the self-understanding of many officially secular nation-states (cf. Smith 2003). On the other hand, it can be argued that the values ascribed to religious objects and built heritage have changed in a “migration of the holy” (Cavanaugh 2011), from religious veneration to the veneration of history, identity and aesthetic values, thus making heritagization and secularization mutually enforcing processes."


" In general, the values ascribed to churches as built heritage in Swedish heritage policy, have been relatively constant since the 1920’s, but changes in emphasis can be noted. The most dominant groups of values is, perhaps not surprisingly, the historical values. This can be tied to a professionalization of heritage conservation which had already come far by 1920. Heritage preservation as the preservation of historical sources and documentation has been an increasingly established value throughout the period. However, this is not necessarily the form of historical value most referred to in the material. Instead, the overall argument for heritage preservation has, especially during the last half century, been a view of churches and other built heritage as a material display supporting a historical narrative, anchoring the landscape in which citizens live their daily lives in history. This understanding comes close to efforts to strengthen local identity, as well as to the emphasis on the environment as a living space, which has been central to Swedish cultural policy since the early 1970’s. During the following decades this interest appears to have increasingly emphasized historical aspects of the environment, but it is ultimately an interest in creating a healthy living space for citizens. At the same time, policy documents have increasingly emphasized that cultural heritage is not constant, but is something which will always continue to change over time.

This perspective is closely tied to values of identity. In this area, there have, however, been significant changes in the approaches to heritage supported in official policy. While local identity has always been central to Swedish heritage policy – and also closely tied to the local church building, as a manifestation of the parish and the local community – national identity has virtually disappeared as an authoritative value in the heritage policy documents studied in this article. National identity has gone from being a central value, locally manifested in local identity, to hardly being mentioned at all. In terms of legal protection for actual church buildings, there has been a development from discussions regarding which churches were worthy of preservation to a general legal protection for all churches built before 1940. While the heritage report of 1922 primarily viewed church preservation as an issue of preserving historical documentation and significant examples of national church architecture, the heritage law of 1987/88 and later documents, have considered all older churches wordy of preservation by definition. ...

Parallel to this development, legal protection of the liturgy of the Church of Sweden and the sanctity of the church buildings as the religious spaces of an institutionalized church have largely disappeared, being replaced with a more generalized guaranty for common individual access to a space which may or may not be considered sacred to the individual, combined with a continued support for the respectful treatment of the dead, again without any ties to a specific institutionalized doctrine. This could be seen as an increased institutional separation of the sphere of government from the clerical sphere, where the Church is made legally responsible for the exercise and teaching of Evangelical-Lutheran Christianity, while the government remains responsible for the providing a secular-historical narrative giving meaning to the daily lives of the people. In Weberian terms, this could be viewed not only as an increased separation of spheres of administration and meaning, but also as a kind of disenchantment of both Church and state, where the sanctity of the space is viewed as increasingly subjective, as something red into it by individuals, not as something provided through ritual.

It is possible that this development is specifically Swedish, or typical of Lutheran, or post-Lutheran, Northern European societies and states. The development described here does appear to be the product of a society which views itself as historically homogenous in religious terms, and which has, in fact, been dominated by one church for a very long time. In some aspects, it may also matter that this church has been Evangelical-Lutheran, i.e. a church with a strong focus on teaching and faith, ascribing very little religious significance to specific spaces and objects. In fact, it appears likelier that early 20th century emphasis on the national context of the Church has mattered more (Harding 2015). On the other hand, a historical understanding of society as historically homogenous is not uncommon, and certainly not limited to Northern Europe. The comparatively strong emphasis on preserving religious heritage in Sweden thus still has to be explained in some other way. It is not unlikely that the explanation has to do with the current Swedish self-identity as a very secularized country, but also as country with a strong sense of community and social trust (cf. Berggren & Trägårdh 2015). ..."

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