Open Access

Lutheranism and Welfare State Expertise. The Example of Heikki Waris

   | Oct 15, 2015
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Issue title: The Long History of Lutheranism in Scandinavia. Contemporary Voices in Finnish Historical Research. Issue Editor: Pirjo Markkola


The article examines the role of Christianity in the work of Heikki Waris (1901-1989), Professor of Social Policy at the University of Helsinki from 1948 to 1968. In studies on the historical foundations of different models of welfare, Lutheranism is often mentioned as a characteristic feature of the Nordic model. Previous research has, however, not to any larger extent examined the role of religion when analysing the work of so-called welfare experts. The article draws attention to importance of Christianity and the Lutheran Church, when analysing the work of a central architect of the Finnish welfare state. The article examines how Waris’ background within the Settlement movement influenced his later academic and social political work. Furthermore, it looks at how Waris dealt with religion, Christianity, the Lutheran Church and faith in his work on social policy and social change. The connection between social policy and Christianity is analysed more closely, both in Waris’ academic texts and the reports he wrote for the Lutheran Church on the challenges of the modern world.

Publication timeframe:
3 times per year
Journal Subjects:
Theology and Religion, General Topics and Biblical Reception