The dissolution of the history of religions: Contemporary challenges of a humanities discipline in Sweden
AbstractThe discipline of History of religions has changed in Sweden over the latest decades. Its traditional connection to text and language has weakened and its emphasis shifted towards social and contemporary aspects of religion. In this article the societal trends and the reforms in Swedish university politics that lie behind this change are pinpointed and discussed. It is argued that the transformation has been twofold. On the one hand the discipline has grown considerably and expanded into empirical fields, methods, and theories that were alien to it only twenty-five years ago. On the other it has been forced to adjust to a political climate focused on direct social relevance, measurability, and quantifiable efficiency. The article presents the transformation as consisting in four parallel processes labelled the efficiency turn, the altered knowledge contract, the replacement by religionsvetenskap, and the loss of prestige, respectively.
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