Reconstruction as Enchantment Strategy

Swedish Churches Burnt, Rebuilt and Rethought

in Ethnologia Europaea
Author:
Eva Löfgren University of Gothenburg eva.lofgren@conservation.gu.se

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The reasons why a secular society bothers to rebuild a burnt church seem complex. Starting out from two case studies of burnt and reconstructed churches in Sweden, Skaga chapel and the church of Södra Råda, this article examines the perspective from which the process and result of material reconstruction may be understood as enchantment strategies. According to Weber’s disenchantment thesis and the contemporary concept of heritagization, the significance of today’s church buildings, as well as the decision to reconstruct, may be based on historical narratives and local self-images rather than religious worship. Without univocally contradicting this perception, however, the study shows that the reconstructions, as carefully staged situations, represent acts of faith and provide the actors with a sense of shared participation and new meaning. 

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