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BY 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter 2023

The authority of Norwegian hospital chaplains

From the book Complexities of Spiritual Care in Plural Societies

  • Beret Bråten


The questions handled in this chapter concern 1) how Norwegian hospital chaplains reflect on their authority while relating to staff and patients in a multi-faith setting, and 2) whether there are differences in how chaplains from the Church of Norway (CofN) compared to Muslim chaplains, relate to authority. These questions are discussed based on Max Weber’ theory of authority and an empirical material comprising qualitative interviews with 22 hospital chaplains. Results show that hospital chaplains rely on legal and traditional as well as charismatic authority. This goes for Muslim as well as CofN chaplains. There are however differences. Muslim chaplains do not have the same chances to capitalize on legal authority, a fact making traditional authority more important to them.

© 2022 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston
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