Protestant Ethics-In-Action: The Emergence of Voluntary Social Work in Copenhagen 1865-1915

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

This article shows how voluntary social work in late 19th/early 20th century Copenhagen emerged as the result of several creative re-interpretations of the cultural schemas of revivalist Protestantism as urban revivalists faced the social question. Informed by pragmatist cultural sociology, the concept of “collective soteriology” is introduced as a way of analyzing the Protestant reinterpretations in terms of doctrine, ideals of community, and recipes for action. It is shown how Lutheran revivalist ideas at the same time encouraged, constrained, and shaped the voluntary social action undertaken. The paper aims to uncover a sociologically neglected European tradition of civic action, to contribute to the sociology of Protestantism’s influence on civil society, and to develop a theoretical framework for analyzing the role of ideas in non-contentious collective action.
This article shows how voluntary social work in late 19th/early 20th century Copenhagen emerged as the result of several creative re-interpretations of the cultural schemas of revivalist Protestantism as urban revivalists faced the social question. Informed by pragmatist cultural sociology, the concept of “collective soteriology” is introduced as a way of analyzing the Protestant reinterpretations in terms of doctrine, ideals of community, and recipes for action. It is shown how Lutheran revivalist ideas at the same time encouraged, constrained, and shaped the voluntary social action undertaken. The paper aims to uncover a sociologically neglected European tradition of civic action, to contribute to the sociology of Protestantism’s influence on civil society, and to develop a theoretical framework for analyzing the role of ideas in non-contentious collective action.
LanguageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Sociology / Archives Europeennes de Sociologie
Volume59
Issue number1
Pages121-149
Number of pages29
ISSN0003-9756
DOIs
StatePublished - 2018

Keywords

  • Protestantism
  • Voluntarism
  • Social work
  • Civil society
  • Welfare

Cite this

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Protestant Ethics-In-Action : The Emergence of Voluntary Social Work in Copenhagen 1865-1915. / Sevelsted, Anders.

In: European Journal of Sociology / Archives Europeennes de Sociologie, Vol. 59, No. 1, 2018, p. 121-149.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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