Sundén's Role Theory: An Impetus to Contemporary Psychology of Religion


Nils G. Holm, Åbo Akademi; J. A. Belzen, University of Amsterdam; Owe Wikström , Uppsala University; René Gothóni, University of Helsinki; H. A. Alma, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam; M. H. F. van Uden, Tilburg University; Hans Stifoss-Hanssen, VID Specialized University


Hjalmar Sundén, psychology of religion, role theory, narrative psychology, symbolic interactionism, religious experience, religious symbolism


This commemorative volume brings together articles in homage of professor Hjalmar Sundén. Sundén’s contributions to the psychology of religion are today recognized virtually throughout the world, but are particularly important in the Nordic countries. Psychology of religion owes much to professor Sundén and so do many psychologists of religion. This volume includes two parts. The articles in the first part are of a more personal character, focusing on personal encounters with Sundén (Owe Wikström) and descriptions of individual experiences and the role of a pilgrim (René Gothóni). The articles in the second part all relate to Sundén’s scholarly achievement, highlighting role theory and narrative psychology (J. A. Belzen), role theory and symbolic interactionism (H. A. Alma and M. H. F. van Uden), roles and religious experience (Hans Stifoss-Hanssen), and religious symbolism and role taking (Nils G. Holm).     


  • Introduction
    Nils G. Holm, J. A. Belzen
  • The Integrity of the Religious Experience:
    The Role of Hjalmar Sundén as Teacher and Mentor
    Owe Wikström
  • Becoming the Pilgrim to be Interviewed
    My Field Research in Retrospect
    René Gothóni
  • On Religious Experience
    Role Theory and Contemporary Narrative Psychology
    J. A. Belzen
  • Sundén's Role Theory of Religion and Symbolic Interactionism
    H. A. Alma, M. H. F. van Uden
  • Roles Constitute Religious Experience
    Fiction and Fact in Hjalmar Sundén's Role Theory, Attribution Theory and Psychodynamic Theory
    Hans Stifoss-Hanssen
  • Religious Symbols and Role Taking
    Nils G. Holm



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