Gendering religious change: Negotiations of boundaries of institutional religion in women’s angel practices and LGBTQ activism in Finland

    Tutkimustuotos: VäitöskirjatyypitPro graduOpinnäytteet

    10 Lataukset (Pure)


    Religious change is one of the most central issues in research on religion today. The study of gender as an aspect of religious change may provide new insights into contemporary religion, since the debate on secularization has largely been gender blind. Historically, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Finland has been predominant in the religious landscape, but today the religiosity of individuals is increasingly deinstitutionalized. Having this development and the need to examine gender as the starting point, the purpose of this thesis is to explore the location of gender in how boundaries of institutional religion are negotiated. The question is explored by a study of two cases, women’s angel practices and LGBTQ activism. The material consists of interviews where relations to the Church and gendered agency are expressed. How do the individuals articulate and position themselves in relation to institutional religion? How is gender part of how they articulate and position themselves? The method of the study is a discourse analytical framework based on the concept of power.

    The concept of secularization is still useful in case it is viewed on the premise of gender. The basis of the theoretical framework of secularization is that changes taking place within religion, among others the emphasis on subjective experience and eclecticism, enable more space for individual agency. The view that gender is performative constitutes the gender-theoretical framework, which is used as a tool to examine how gender and religion are constructed in an interlinked process.
    From the analysis, it appears that the angel practitioners and the LGBTQ activists experience that the Church restricts both religious and gendered agency, simultaneously as the institutional setting does not exclude new spaces for agency. Gender norms are closely connected to how individuals negotiate institutional religion, since norms explain both how individuals maintain their relation to the Church and how they choose to turn aside from it. This ambivalent relation to the Church makes the boundary of being inside or outside the Church fluid, which can be considered a central space of agency also with regards to gender. Thus, change takes place from within the institution, although it is in the interest of the institution to define its frame.
    • Nynäs, Peter, Valvoja
    TilaJulkaistu - kesäk. 2015
    OKM-julkaisutyyppiG2 Pro gradu -työ, ammattikorkeakoulun laajennettu opinnäytetyö


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