The Function of Religion in Multi-cultural Swedish Society
Sociology Yonsei University Seoul, South Korea
This paper pursues to experiment how much the unifying function of religion works well in nowadays's multi-cultural European society by many immigrations through specific case study of Sweden. For a long time, there was a huge belief that religion plays an important role in strengthening bond between social members and communicating ideology and emotions for social relations. However, most European societies detached themselves from those benefits of religion. In the case of Sweden, social welfare policies and social institutions provide citizens with the freedom of time and money, so they utilize those resources for developing social relationships and communication among people instead of depending on religion. However, it seems that immigrants, who are not completely included in that society, have some difficulties of generating social ability only with those social welfare policies and institutions. Therefore, this paper wants to investigate and redefine the real meaning of religion as a channel of synthesis and communication in multi-cultural society.
The paper focuses on the Swedish society and protestant immigrant group which is composed of immigrants from Asia, Eastern Europe, and America. Even though Sweden is religious country with the adoption of protestantism, the religion do not have much influence on most Swedish people. In reality, protestant immigrants group adapts to the Swedish society by themselves only with the institutional help from the local government without religious help. Also, they owe the same religion with Swedish society, but they have difficulties of completely adapting to society between immigrants and assimilating with Swedish society. However, immigrants group which has the same religion with Swedish country have more hope than immigrants group which has the different religion with Swedish country in assimilating themselves with their new society. It seems that the fact of having the same religion helps immigrants to identify themselves as a justified social member of the Swedish society. Therefore, this paper explores the religion's new possilbity in this multi-cultural society with many immigrants.