Power of the Body in Representations of Laestadianism
The paper claims that the body is central to the religious and social order of religious groups. Religious norms have a fundamental influence on the embodied subjectivity and everyday life of people in religious communities. The order of bodies in Laestadianism is deeply gendered; the conservative patriarchal social relations and norms control and shape female and male bodies in terms of sexuality and reproduction, dress, movement and being in-common. Still, inescapably, bodies also have an inherent transgressive potential. This paper argues that the perspective of the body is essential in order to make sense of the power relations, structures and dynamics of change within Laestadianism in particular but also within religious groups in more general.