CSCC Monthly Talk: One Volk, One Church? A Critique of the “Folk Church” Ideology in Finland


21.3.2019 klo 14.15 - 15.45
A warm welcome to listen to associate professor Titus Hjelms (study of religion, University of Helsinki) views about the relationship between church and state in Finland. I

n his public lecture, Hjelm asks: Is the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland (ELCF) a state church, as international comparisons suggest? Or is it instead a “folk church,” nationally important, but detached from the state, as Finnish research, the ELCF itself, and some politicians claim? Hjelm provides a critical historicization of the concept of “folk church” in Finland. Using methods of contemporary ideology critique, he asks what is being done discursively when the ELCF is called a “folk church.” Analysing Finnish and international scholarship, the ELCF’s official representations of the relationship between church and state, and a debate in the Finnish parliament, Hjelm argues that the concept of “folk church” functions ideologically by obfuscating the privileged status of the ELCF vis-à-vis the state. And according to Hjelm, by doing so, this folk church ideology reproduces religious inequality in Finland.


Ulnor Uotila