The Religious Origins of Democratic Pluralism by Mark SafstromThe Religious Origins of Democratic Pluralism by Mark Safstrom

The Religious Origins of Democratic Pluralism

byMark Safstrom

Hardcover | January 6, 2016

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The Religious Origins of Democratic Pluralism focuses on explaining one of the riddles that fascinated historians and political scientists through much of the twentieth century, namely, the origin and development of Swedish social democracy. While other countries in Europe experienced dramatic swings between radical and conservative political parties, which resulted in tragic experiments with totalitarian regimes, Sweden by contrast miraculously seemed to avoid these extremes, and maintain space for democratic discussion and dissent. This peaceful transformation was facilitated by political actors who crafted the discourse of their debates in such a way that pluralism came to be valued as an ethical good and then vigorously defended. This study turns back the clock to examine the critical decades leading up to the emergence of social democracy, and in particular, the career of one prominent politician, Paul Peter Waldenstrom (1838-1917). In addition to a career in politics, Waldenstrom was a clergyman, revival preacher, educator, author, and newspaper editor, whose political career began in 1868 with his participation in the Church Assembly of the Church of Sweden, and expanded during his years of service in the Swedish parliament, the Riksdag, from 1884 to 1905. This study places Waldenstrom in dialog with his contemporaries and opponents as a means of identifying how the theological values and priorities of the religious awakening were articulated in the public square and contributed to the development of a new political order.""Mark Safstrom's study of the nineteenth-century Swedish spiritual awakening should put to rest one contemporary conceit--that earnest personal religion is by its nature hostile to democracy and political diversity. Safstrom focuses on the career and ideas of a central figure in the revivals, Paul Peter Waldenstrom, to demonstrate the connection between religious and political pluralism in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Sweden. The book is carefully researched, well-written, and persuasive.""--Thomas Tredway, Emeritus President and Professor of History, Augustana College""Safstrom's book is important for Scandinavian studies and European studies more broadly. . . . Safstrom's careful study shows that pietistic Christianity played an overlooked role in achieving social toleration and pluralism during the turbulent era in which social democracy made its political breakthrough.""--Steve Pfaff, Professor of Sociology, University of Washington""Plurality--of perspectives, principles, and persons--is a fact, not an option. So is the intense religiosity of millions amidst a 'secular age.' Safstrom's measured and finely written study of Waldenstrom not only vindicates a largely forgotten thinker, preacher, and politician, but makes one of the best cases I have read for pluralism as an ethic fit for the facts of plurality, and Christianity as a basis for democracy.""--Ned O'Gorman, Conrad Humanities Professorial Scholar, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign""In the nineteenth century, Sweden went through a fundamental social and economic transformation, and by the mid-twentieth century it had emerged as an influential model of social progress. In this fresh and insightful book, Safstrom highlights the interrelations between religion and politics for these processes."" --Dag Blanck, Swedish Institute for North American Studies, Department of English at Uppsala UniversityMark Safstrom, PhD, is Lecturer of Swedish and Scandinavian Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research focuses on various aspects of the history of social movements and revivalism in Scandinavia. He has previously published The Swedish Pietists: A Reader and a translation of Paul Peter Waldenstrom's allegorical novel, Squire Adamsson: Or, Where Do You Live? This book is based on his dissertation of the same title.
Title:The Religious Origins of Democratic PluralismFormat:HardcoverDimensions:302 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.69 inPublished:January 6, 2016Publisher:Wipf and Stock PublishersLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:149822511X

ISBN - 13:9781498225113