1. The Politicization of Children in Minority Religions: The Swedish and the European Contexts
Peter Åkerbäck [+]
Stockholm University, Sweden
This chapter presents and discusses the public discourse about the so-called “cults”, which has changed from the brainwashing discourse of the 1970s and 80s to a discourse in which children are in focus in the 2000s. What is considered problematic with these groups is no longer primarily the members who join or remain in these groups, but the children growing up in them. The changing face of the politicization of cults and how children came to be the focus in the contemporary public discourse will be discussed. The Swedish situation will be highlighted against the context of other countries in Europe. A number of examples from public discourse about cults will be discussed: the demise of the so-called anti-cult groups, motions submitted to the parliament concerning cults, state reports about cults, and different reports relating to human rights and children´s rights. A number of possible underlying factors for these changes will be discussed.