Religion as ideology and critique: Per Götrek’s Christian communism

Anton Jansson


Since Karl Marx, studies of ideology have tended to treat religion as negatively ideological, as social cement hiding real conflicts. But throughout history religion has also been used as a resource for criticizing ideology. This paper investigates the latter function, combining a historical study of one religiously framed critique with a discussion of religion as ideology and critique. The focus is on the work of early Swedish communist Per Götrek, who was active during the mid-nineteenth century. I analyze four of his texts and summarize his Christian critique of society, going on to suggest that in a sociological definition of ideology, religion can function both critically as well as ideologically.

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