Foto: P. Murray
The Head of the Research Unit as of April 2004 is Anne-Louise Eriksson. She is a senior lecturer in studies in faiths and ideologies at Uppsala University, where in 1995 she defended her dissertation, "The Meaning of Gender in Theology". She then went on to become a lecturer in feminist theology at the Stockholm School of Theology (THS), before being appointed in 2000 as a researcher at the Church of Sweden Department of Research and Culture.
During her time at the Research Unit, she has had work published which mostly concerns issues regarding interpretation and democracy, and in recent years her research has focused on issues regarding theological literacy; i.e. the ability to interpret, communicate and put into practice a theological tradition.
As of 2006, she has been a member of the Faith and Order Standing Commission.
Niclas Blåder has been employed at the Central Church Office Research Unit since 2008, and specialises in systematic theology. He has previously worked as a parish priest. He has defended a dissertation on ecclesiology entitled "Gemenskap och mångfald" (Fellowship and Diversity).
Niclas Blåder's research interests include ecclesiology and different types of contextual theology. He has also been involved in the Church's didactics, focusing on the Church's work with children. Other areas of work concern the theory and practice of baptism and the construction of identity within the Church.
Foto: Magnus Aronson
Urban Claesson has worked at the Research Unit since 2011. He has previously worked as a lecturer in history with a specialisation in church history at Dalarna University, where he was responsible for the master programme "Challenges of a Contemporary National Church". His dissertation, "Folkhemmets kyrka" (loosely translated as The Swedish Middle Way and the Church) was about the breakthrough of the democratic national church.
Claesson has also conducted research on early pietism in Sweden, and has focused on the way in which pietism responded to the new challenges faced by the Church in the pre-industrial mining society of Falun in Sweden. Claesson is also engaged in studies regarding the Church and historiography. How can the role of the Church of Sweden be described in our age of deregulation when nation and national church no longer constitute its two obvious foundations?
A common theme in Claesson's research is the way in which the Church regards the processes of change undergone by social organisation, and the way in which it meets the various challenges this poses.
Elisabeth Gerle is a visiting professor of ethics at Uppsala University, and has been a researcher at the Church of Sweden Research Unit since 2005. She is currently engaged in issues regarding religion and politics. Her previous research has covered global ethics, global norm-building processes, human rights and multiculturalism, and also the interpretation of text, tradition and religion in relation to human rights.
Göran Gunner has worked as a researcher at the Central Church Office since 2002. He is a senior lecturer in mission studies and a doctor of theology specialising in the history of religion, and has previously worked at the Stockholm School of Theology (THS) on issues including education in human rights.
Göran's area of specialisation is issues regarding the Church in relation to human rights and the way in which a human rights based approach can constitute an analytical and working tool for the Church. He is, moreover, especially interested in the situation in the Middle East, not least in the case of the Christian minorities there. The freedom of religion in multi-religious Sweden and Europe is yet another research interest.
Foto: Magnus Aronson/IKON
Jonas Ideström is since July 2012 working at the Reseach Unit at Church of Sweden with a project concerning parishes in rural areas. The aim of the study is to analyze, from an ecclesiological perspective, how the concrete identity of Church of Sweden is manifested in two parishes in northern Sweden.
The study will focus on issues concerning the relationship between the church and life in the local community and it will be conducted as an ecclesiological field study. Ideström has in earlier research conducted a field study in a suburban parish in Stockholm with a focus on the implicit ecclesiology that was manifested in the social expressions of the local church. A theme in Ideström’s research has been issues concerning ecclesial identity, church as social body and actor and reflections concerning the relationship between theology and social theory in ecclesiological inquires.
Ideström got his doctoral degree at University of Uppsala in 2009 and has during 2010-2012 been teaching as a lecturer in Church and Mission studies at the University. Ideström is also an ordained minister in Church of Sweden.