We live in a time when thoughts of conscience and freedom of conscience are increasingly seen in the Swedish public in national politics, on the newspapers’ editorial pages and in social media. Historically, both concepts have been used to mark a certain degree of freedom or a protected position in moral, political and legal conflicts. References to an individual’s conscience and differences between an internal and an external court have been able to legitimize exemption from religious and state coercive mechanisms and justified, for example, the refusal of arms or abortion. A group of researchers in history, human rights, jurisprudence, ethics and sociology of religion take a common approach here to some of the most burning conflicts around conscience and freedom of conscience in Sweden from the Middle Ages to today. A picture emerges of complex concepts that even today bear clear traces of older distinctions and historical conflicts.
Authors: Biörn Tjällén, Anna Nilsson Hammar, Joachim Östlund, Göran Gunner, Kavot Zillén, Linnea Jensdotter, Susanne Wigorts Yngvesson, Leif Ericsson, Johannes Ljungberg, and Linde Lindkvist.