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PhD projects

Maria Nørby Pedersen: The development of poor relief from the Lutheran household society to the early welfare state

The perceptions and practices associated with poor relief were influenced by Lutheran ideas about the importance of work, by Luther’s challenge against the notion that righteousness depended on human achievement, and by the social responsibility embedded in the social relations of the household and state through the duties of the householder and the king. This project explores the way in which legislation and practice in the social field were influenced by Luther’s thinking, and the way in which duty and social responsibility were articulated in relation to the poor. The hypothesis is that the poor were perceived and explained in terms of their relationship to the household and authority. 

Kinga Zeller: The transformational potential of Lutheran scripturalism based on reception-aesthetic principles

Finished project

Kinga Zeller takes her point of departure in the crisis of scripturalism with a view to determining which aspects of this crisis can be resolved by regarding the Bible from a reception-aesthetic perspective. The pivotal point is a comparison of an exemplary reception-aesthetic position and Martin Luther’s scriptural understanding with a view to discovering the extent to which this theory stands on the shoulders of the original Reformation view of the scriptures.

Mattias Skat Sommer: The reception of Martin Luther’s teaching of the three estates in the writings of the Danish theologian Niels Hemmingsen (1513-1600)

Finished project

In his research, Mattias Skat Sommer deals with the reception of Martin Luther’s teaching of the three estates in the writings of the Danish theologian Niels Hemmingsen (1513-1600). In this connection, the project studies whether the estates teaching can be viewed as a Lutheran social theory. Additional research interests include the reception of Niels Hemmingsen in early modern Dutch and English theology.

Rasmus Skovgaard Jakobsen: The Reformation and the nobility. A study of the effect of the Reformation on the Danish nobility c. 1558-1617

Finished project

In his PhD project Rasmus Skovgaard Jakobsen examines the extent to which the Reformation influenced the material and physical actions of the Danish nobility in the confessional epoch (1558-1617). This period is characterised by the fact that the Evangelical-Lutheran Reformation had triumphed in the Kingdom of Denmark, but the ultimate form of the Reformation had still not been resolved. Inspired by Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of practice, this period is studied as a period of negotiation. Religion, the state and power were subject to negotiation, and it is in this space that the nobility sought to attain the position of a legitimate authority. Consequently, the main questions of this PhD project concern the way in which the nobility negotiated its position in the confessional epoch, the way in which it gained legitimacy, and the paradigms within which this positioning occurred. The project’s hypothesis is that because the Kingdom of Denmark was mono-confessional, the nobility were unable to position themselves outside the confession. But the confession was also subject to negotiation, giving the nobility the opportunity to embed themselves in the Evangelical-Lutheran notions of authority.

Leonora Lottrup: The road to welfare – new perspectives on how social citizenship was practised, negotiated and formed between 1849 and 1933

This project explores the roots of the Danish welfare state by focusing on the interaction between the local and the national, formal rights and everyday practice in the design of social citizenship from the June Constitution of 1849 to the social reform of 1933. The project examines this development from social state to welfare state based on the concept of citizenship as an analytical category; and working on the assumption that citizenship should be perceived not only as involving the introduction of fixed duties and rights, but also as a concept which was negotiated through actions. Taking Aarhus as its analytical point of departure, the project focuses on how actions associated with poor relief shaped social rights and positioned both the donors and the receivers of poor relief as central actors in the socio-political arena. The project thereby generates insight into the way in which formally defined hierarchies and rights were performed and challenged in everyday life, including the way in which the Lutheran understanding of the household influenced the allocation and exercise of social citizenship.