Non-Religious Young Individuals’ Place Attachment to Religious Space : A Case Study of Maria Magdalena Church

University essay from Stockholms universitet/Kulturgeografiska institutionen

Abstract: Sweden has a long history of Lutheran Christian influences, manifested spatially by the presence of churches in the build environment. In contrast, Sweden is also described as one of the world’s most secular countries. These secular individual’s experience of these churches is not well explored in geography of religion. Therefore, this study’s aim is to investigate what shapes non-religious individuals’ place attachment to religious spaces. To reveal this, the study is based on transcriptions from a Transect Walk with 12 non-religious individuals at Maria Magdalena church in Södermalm, Stockholm. These narratives are viewed through a place attachment framework together with theories of religion, sacred space and secularization, to answer the research question: What affects non-religious young individuals’ place attachment towards a sacred place? The attachment was formed by the subjective mosaic of combinations, which revealed that churches in general are instrumental venues to obtain the goal of participating in temporary ceremonies. In turn, it was affected by the subjects’ memories, connection to cultural Christianity, lack of religious attachment and the church as a unique place. This contributes to the field by revealing what affects place attachment of non-religious individuals to sacred spaces in a Swedish context.

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