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Daniel Enstedt

About Daniel Enstedt

Daniel Enstedt holds a PhD and lectures in Religious Studies. He received his PhD in 2011, on completion of the thesis This is my Body. Christian faith, Sexuality and Relationship [Detta är min kropp. Kristen tro, sexualitet och samlevnad]. Enstedt is, since 2018, associate professor in religious studies. His teaching and research mainly focuses on Contemporary Religion and the Sociology of Religion. He has been interested in religion in relation to gender studies, sexuality studies and Intersectionality (study of intersections between different minority groups); psychoanalytic theory, social theory and postmodern theory; materiality, life writing, and field research. In addition to research and teaching, he has been the Director of Studies in Religious Studies and Theology.


I have been teaching at the University of Gothenburg since 2006. Teaching is carried out in the Religious Studies programme with courses in Religious Studies, Teacher Education and interdisciplinary courses at the LIR Department. Also in Public Health Science, Food, Nutrition and Sport Science, the History of Ideas and Sexology. In religion, I have taught at all levels, primarily in Sociology and Psychology of Religion, but also courses on Theology and The History of Religion. I have also tutored essays at the BA and Master’s degree levels and been responsible for many courses.

Thesis Résumé

On October 27, 2005 the Church of Sweden introduced a special blessing for same-sex unions — a decision that was rooted in an ongoing discussion on the distinction between "genuine" homosexuality on the one hand and "promiscuous" homosexuality on the other. Not surprisingly, the Church’s decision was welcomed by one group of adherents (e.g. LGBT Christians) and disparaged by another (e.g. protesting priests), thus underlining their differing views on the matter of sexuality, relationships and Christian faith.

Using archival theories in the analysis of numerous Church documents and narratological theories in the analysis of ten protesting priests and eleven LGBT interviews, this dissertation examines the development of thought that opened the door to the blessing of same-sex relationships. It also looks into the contrasting attitudes, problems and viewpoints associated with it.

The archival analysis of Church documents revealed that while some changes in policy have occurred over the years, the Church’s basic understanding of sexuality and relationships remains dominated by a monogamous heterosexual paradigm that is backed by various scientific and medical rationales (what Foucault terms biopower). With one exception, the same could be said of both groups of respondents, who, despite their differences of opinion on the matter of the same-sex blessing, nonetheless upheld similar Christian norms and assumptions, most relevantly, an unshakable belief in the sanctity of monogamous relationships and the profanity of those relationships that are bisexual and/or polyamorous.

Guided by a post-structuralist analysis of the writings of de Sade and Bataille, the dissertation explores ways of framing the sexual discourse that surmount the hegemony of biopower and challenge existing beliefs. The Church’s refusal to give up its longstanding views on human sexuality is interpreted in the dissertation as a sign of thanatophobia or the fear of death. To ameliorate this condition, post-structuralist theologians urge the Church to confront its fears and fixations by entertaining notions that destabilize current gender categories and open the possibility of a Christianity that can include both committed single- partner and casual multi-partner forms. One such possibility involves the revival of the late medieval notion of ars moriendi, the art of dying, which regards death and resurrection differently than we do today. By turning from the bio-political discourse on sexuality to other forms of theological reasoning, the Church of Sweden may well be able to transcend its presently ingrained ways of thinking about this matter.

Link to thesis:

Previous research

Leaving Islam: Apostacy, freedom of religion and conflicts in a multireligious Sweden (Together with Professor Göran Larsson) The project Leaving Islam examines central current questions about apostasy in Islam. The prohibition against apostasy – abandonment of a religion – is not a new phenomenon in Islam. It is not only Islam that forbids apostasy. However, it is Islam that is usually portrayed as a religion with a strong aversion to religious disaffiliation. In Islam, apostasy (irtidād) is generally related to other negatively charged terms such as infidelity, blasphemy, heresy, and hypocrisy. The focus in this project is on apostasy and Islam in contemporary Sweden. Within the framework of this project, several series of interviews are conducted. All interviews are about the phenomenon of apostasy. In addition, comprehensive media material, wherein apostasy and Islam are discussed and debated, is examined. By considering apostasy narratives and experiences of leaving Islam, this study aims to clarify how not only apostates, but also how Muslims, in more general terms, are understood in contemporary Swedish society. This perspective also encompasses laws about the freedom of religion and freedom of expression, as well as hegemonic ways of conceptualizing Islam in Sweden. The project is funded by the Swedish Research Council.

The Good Life. Contemporary views on family life and life at work (Together with PhD Kristina Hermansson)

The project The Good Lifeundersöker samtida idéer om familjeliv och arbetsliv som har kommit till uttryck i Sverige sedan millennieskiftet. Syftet med denna studie är att bidra till en bättre förståelse för hur religiösa idéer, i nya former och på nya sätt, fortsätter att påverka arbete, arbetsplatser såväl som familjeliv och hur nära relationer formas mellan dem. Detta sträcker sig från uppfostran av barn, anställning och ekonomi till sexualitet och relationer. Även om ideologiska, utopiska och religiösa idéer har kommit att påverka hur det svenska samhället har utvecklats, är detta område anmärkningsvärt lite forskat. Den aktuella studien är därför att betrakta som ett bidrag till detta ämnesområde. Projektet genomfördes inom ramen för forskningsprogrammet Religion, Culture and Health.