This project aims to build knowledge about upbringing and family life in religious communities that can be understood as closed, and the significance of this closed nature for children's rights.
While the degree of social closure may vary, what we understand here as ‘closed’ religious communities is defined by a theology that draws more or less clear boundaries between the community and the outside world. As a consequence of these boundaries, relationships and communities within the religious community are often tight-knit. Tight-knit communities can provide individuals with security but can also be restrictive.
In recent years, several media reports have shown how some children and adults have experienced violations of their rights by individual members and leaders. The reported violations have included strong social control and a lack of opportunities to seek help outside the religious community.
The project has three main research questions:
- What norms and values for family life and parenthood are dominant within the religious community and how are these justified?
- What restrictions and violations of rights can children, youth, and adults be subjected to in the context of the religious community?
- What opportunities and barriers exist regarding seeking help within and outside the religious community?
Data and methods
The research questions will be addressed through the following data sources:
- Interviews with up to 20 youth and adults affiliated with ‘closed’ religious communities.
- Interviews with staff members from various support services that assist individuals in the target group.
- Written and digital sources that can contribute to illuminating how norms for family life and parenting are defined and justified in different religious communities.