Project leader

Funding source

Swedish Research Council - Vetenskapsrådet (VR)

Project Details

Start date: 01/01/2018
End date: 31/12/2020


Fraternal life is a fundamental notion in monastic communities, but variants of fraternal relations exist in many arenas. This study concerns the conceptualization and practices of fraternal relationships, and how they differ from friendship, in an organizational context.
In many organizations, there is a potential tension involved when personal relationships develop alongside the organized relationship, among members as members. Catholic monasteries, as archetypical examples of voluntary total and greedy institutions, are strategic cases of inquiry because of the significance they assign to exclusively fraternal relations, resulting in an explicit tension with personal forms of relationships. How are personal bonds among people who live closely together for extended periods of time restricted, and collective solidarity created to hold them together as a whole? 
How are fraternal relationships accomplished? The questions of the project will be answered through a qualitative study including semi-structured interviews with nuns and monks at four different monasteries, observations of activities of everyday life inside the monasteries, and thematic text analysis of various documents (rules, biographies etc.). Data collection will take place during the first and second year whereas the third and the fourth year will focus on analysis and writing. The results will be published in articles in international journals and a book.