Urban Claesson, researcher

Urban is a researcher at the Church of Sweden Research Department. His research areas consist of church history, focusing on history of theology, educational history, pietism, popular movements, civil society, revivalism, national identity, Swedish politics, Nordic comparisons, historiography and cultural heritage.

About me, Urban

I am a church historian with particular interest in how church and society affect each other. This is especially interesting at a time when religion in new ways has become appreciated as a factor of explanation in terms of social change. My dissertation focused upon how the Swedish Social Democracy in the early 1900's became a national movement, and how and why this social democratic movement also included the Swedish Church as a national church  for a modern nation, from being very critical to the church of the past. In a later project, I have analyzed the so-called pietism and its breakthrough in Sweden in the late 1600s. In a new interdisciplinary project, I analyze, together with other Scandinavian researchers, the Lutheran household in the historical making of Nordic societies.

Key words

Church in society, Church history, nation-building, pietism, Lutheran household, educational history.

  • Urban Claesson

    Urban Claesson

    Svenska kyrkans enhet för forskning och analys



  • Professor in History with special focus upon Church History at Dalarna University 2015-
  • Docent in Church History at Uppsala University 2014-
  • Researcher at the Research Department 2011-
  • Lecturer in History with special focus on Church History at Dalarna University 2006
  • Doctor of Church History at Uppsala University 2006
  • Master in History at Uppsala University 1999
  • University teacher in Religion and History at Dalarna University 1996
  • Teacher degree for upper secondary school in History, Social Studies and Religion 1995

My current research

The Nordic household state - variations upon a theme by Luther

Within the framework of this interdisciplinary Nordic project I analyze how the Lutheran household was formulated in various catechisms in the 16th and 1700s. Instead of a simplified image of a unified Lutheran Sweden, I demonstrate pluralism. There were several different simultaneous versions of how the household could hold together, tailored to meet different local challenges.

Early modern travelling

During the 18th century, people began to travel at a new scale in the Western world, and the linear thinking thus gained influence. How travel experiences were structured may have influenced the perception of multiple phenomena. Within theology, the linear thought of an ordo salutis became popular during the 18th century. This smaller research project is funded by Dalarna University.

Memories and possibilities

Within the framework of this historiographical project framework, I have written texts and worked for research cooperation for several years. One result is the anthology: Minne och möjlighet - Kyrka och historiebruk från nationsbygge till pluralism (2014).


(ed). Fostran och bildning för en annan modernitet. Siljansskolan som reformpedagogiskt alternativ. Föreningen för svensk undervisningshistoria: Uppsala, 2017.

“Fromme Leserkreise des 17. Jahrhunderts als Schlüssel der Reinterpretation Lutherischer Theologie an einem Beispiel aus Schweden: Jacob Boëthius“, in: Soboth, Christian & Schmid, Pia (ed.) Schrift soll leserlich seyn: Der Pietismus und die Medien, Verlag der Franckeschen Stiftungen: Halle a.d .Saale, 2016.

Together with Åhman, Dick (ed). Kulturell reproduktion i skola och nation. En vänbok till Lars Peterson. Gidlunds bokförlag: Möklinta, 2016.

Kris och kristnande. Olof Ekmans kamp för kristendomens återupprättande vid Stora Kopparberget 1689-1713. Pietism, program och praktik. Makadam bokförlag: Göteborg, 2015.

Together with Neuhaus, Sinikka (ed). Minne och möjlighet. Kyrka och historiebruk från nationsbygge till pluralism. Makadam bokförlag: Göteborg, 2014.

”Sverige – landet uden en Grundtvig. En kirkehistorisk sammenligning mellem Danmark og Sverige”, in: Korsgaard, Ove & Schelde, Michael (ed.), Samfundsbyggeren. Artikler om Grundtvigs samfundstaenkning. Anis bokförlag: Köpenhamn, 2013.

Folkhemmets kyrka. Harald Hallén och folkkyrkans genombrott. En studie av socialdemokrati, kyrka och nationsbygge med särskild hänsyn till perioden 1905-1933. Uppsala universitet: Uppsala, 2004.