Norwegian Humanist Confirmation
: A 21st Century Initiation in Meaning Making and Coming of Age

  • Iris Neeleman

Student thesis: Master's Thesis: Humanistic Studies


In this qualitative research, the call for new coming-of-age rituals in the West is studied. The case-study used for this purpose features the Norwegian Humanist Confirmation—a ritual with over 10.000 participants each year. In total N=11 course leaders have been interviewed to study how humanist confirmation can play a role in guiding the meaning making of non-religious adolescents while coming of age. As Parks’ (2010) psychological model for meaning making indicates meaning making is triggered by an event that stimulates a person to assess their new situational meaning against their global meaning system. As the results show humanist confirmations have the potential to guide the meaning making of adolescents, both in the short and long term. First, it has been observed that a humanist confirmation offers temporary occasions where adolescents can practice assessing situational meanings. Secondly, it can be concluded that the humanist confirmations introduce the worldview of humanism as a frame of reference for their global meaning system and potentially their future meaning making. Altogether, the confirmation itself can be regarded as a meaningful event to be assessed, as it offers adolescents the possibility to make meaning of their coming of age in a humanist way.
Date of Award18 Jan 2022
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorJoanna Wojtkowiak (Supervisor) & Carmen M. Schuhmann (Supervisor)

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