Kristina Helgesson Kjellin, researcher

Kristina Helgesson Kjellin is researcher in anthropology at the Church of Sweden Research Department. Her research areas are migration, the role of the church in a culturally and religiously diverse society, mission.

About me, Kristina

In my research I am inspired by the interdisciplinary meeting between anthropology/anthropology of religion and theology, as well as by the research field Anthropology of Christianity. Themes in my research are experiences of belonging, identity, as well as how history and experiences in people’s lives are interpreted through the Christian faith. In recent years I have focused on migration, integration, and the role of the church in a culturally and religiously diverse society. I also have a particular interest in research on Pentecostalism and church relations, particularly on the African continent.

Key words

anthropology, migration, integration, cultural and religious diversity


  • Researcher, Church of Sweden Research Department (since 2014)
  • Editor for the book series Forskning för kyrkan (since 2017)
  • Head of the Swedish Institute of Mission Research (2009-2010)
  • Lecturer and Director of Studies, Department of Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology, Uppsala University, and Dalarna University (2007-2009)
  • Part-time researcher at the Ethnographic museum, Stockholm (2008)
  • Doctoral degree in Cultural Anthropology, Uppsala University (2006)

My current research


In my current research project I investigate how hospitality is being manifested in a parish in the Church of Sweden, characterized by cultural and religious diversity. Focus is on a group of Christians from Iraq and Syria that come to this parish. Some of the research questions are:

  • How is hospitality understood by various actors in the parish?
  • How is hospitality expressed in the parish?
  • What role do some key individuals play when it comes to how relationships are being formed between the Iraqis/Syrians and the Swedes that come to the church activities?


In order to study hospitality I have carried out anthropological field studies in this parish between 2017-2018, including semi-structured interviews, informal conversations and participant observation. The research project contributes to increased knowledge on the role of churches in present-day Sweden when it comes to migration, and how long-term diversity-and-integration work is being carried out in the Church of Sweden.


This research project is part of Nordhost, a multidisciplinary research project organized at Oslo University, with the focus on this research question: Is there anything specific about Nordic forms of hospitality which are developing in the encounters between arriving migrants and civil society receiving projects? The project looks at political and ethical consequences that come with increased migration to Europe and to the Nordic countries. In a number of case studies practices of hospitality are being studied and together they will increase our understanding of how hospitality is lived in the Nordic countries.

My publications

”Choice of Interpretation and Representation – Reflections on Power, Ethics, and Normativity”. In What really matters. Scandinavian Perspectives on Ecclesiology and Ethnography, edited by Jonas Ideström och Tone Stangeland Kaufman, 247-263. Eugene, Oregon: PICKWICK Publications, 2018.

Together with Blåder, Niclas, (ed). Mending the World? Possibilities and Obstacles for Religion, Church, and Theology. Eugene, Oregon: PICKWICK Publications, 2017.

En bra plats att vara på. En antropologisk studie av mångfaldsarbete och identitetsskapande inom Svenska kyrkan. [A Good Place To Be At. An Anthropological Study of Diversity Work and Identity Formation in the Church of Sweden] Skellefteå: Artos Academic, 2016.

“”To build bridges and break the walls”. The Church of Sweden and the Current Refugee Situation in Sweden.” Diaconia, vol. 7 (2016) 75-80.

”Science in the Name of Jesus: Human Remains Collection by Swedish Missionaries Karl Edvard Laman and Selma Laman in the Two Congo States in the Early Twentieth

Century.” In KULT 7: Nordic Colonial Mind, edited by Serena Maurer, et al.,, 2010.

“Boundaries of South African Pentecostalism. The Case of the Assemblies of God.” In Global Pentecostalism, edited by David Westerlund, 27-42. I. B.Tauris: London and New York, 2009.