Professor of religious studies at the University of Dalarna and Chair of FINYAR
Areas of Research
My specialties within the field of religion are comparative religion and the sociology of religion and I teach both these subjects. Between 1994 and 1999 I was employed at the Institution for religious studies at Umeå University as a lecturer of comparative religion. In 1999, I joined the University of Dalarna where I have served as professor of religious studies since 2006. At present I am chair of FINYAR and I have been actively engaged in FINYAR since the beginning.
My special fields of research are alternative spirituality and new religious movements and my research has dealt with these fields. My doctoral thesis, New Religious Movements in Sweden: Relation to Society/World, Affiliation and Engagement, Åbo: Åbo Academy 1993, dealt with six new religious movements: Hare Krishna, Scientology, The Osho movement, Siddha Yoga, TM and Anthroposophy. The thesis built on interviews with members from these movements. I have also published an article in Svensk Religionshistorisk Årsskrift 1997 concerning the problem how to define what “New Age” really is.
I have also written a textbook on new religious movements and alternative spirituality which is used at the universities, but I believe the book can also be read by other people with an interest in the subject. The book is called Nyreligiositet i Sverige: Ett religionsvetenskapligt perspektiv, Nora: Nya Doxa, 1998. The last couple of years I have been finishing a research project with financial support from the Swedish Central Bank which which dealt with some of the new religious movements and what had happened to them over time. (De nya religiösa rörelserna – vart tog de vägen? published in 2007).
Currently I work with Peter Åkerbäck on a research project with financial support from the Swedish Research Council which is called “Den mediterande dalahästen” that maps religious phenomena in Dalarna, Sweden.