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Book chapter - Peer-reviewed, 2023

Co-creating and Co-producing Multicultural Cemeteries in Norway and Sweden: A Comparative Study with Insights from Drammen, Eskilstuna and Umeå

Nordh, Helena; Knapskog, Marianne; Uteng, Tanu Priya; Wingren, Carola


This study aims to broaden the scope of attention paid to multicultural societies in existing migration and mobilities literature, through expanding on the topic of spatial design, planning and management of contemporary cemeteries in light of increasing multiculturalism. The chapter explores how national judicial acts and practices facilitate or hinder inclusion of minorities’ needs and the existing local level measures in three Scandinavian towns to safeguard the needs of minorities in cemeteries and crematoria. The empirical data consists of analysis of legislative acts and qualitative interviews with 28 stakeholders in three medium/large-sized towns. As will be shown, Swedish and Norwegian burial acts share many similarities – for example, both acknowledge the need to meet particular burial and cremation needs for people not belonging to the Christian church. Differences mainly relate to how religion and belief communities are involved in the development of cemeteries. Through the interviews, we extract a nuanced picture of how individual towns work with ‘multiculturalism’ by elaborating on the following components that emerged from the analysis: presence of diversity, accommodation of various needs, cooperation with minorities, and reflections over special grave areas or cemetery sections for minorities. This study’s comparative outlook informs current debates on migration and mobilities and further sheds light on the specific inputs for forming policies and practices aiming at facilitating a multicultural approach when designing, planning and managing cemeteries and crematoria.

Published in

IMISCOE Research Series
2023, pages: 169-190
Book title: Mobilities in Life and Death : Negotiating Room for Migrants and Minorities in European Cemeteries
ISBN: 978-3-031-28283-6, eISBN: 978-3-031-28284-3
Publisher: Springer