07 SES 12 A, The Dimension of Religious Education in Intercultural Education; Policies, Practices and Research in Europe today
This paper examines religion and religious education (RE) from the perspective of intercultural education in the Finnish context. The starting point for the reflection is the current debate on RE that 5 provides education according to a pupil’s ‘own’ religion which physically separates pupils on the basis of their religion or worldview. This paper offers a critical look on recently published National Core Curriculum for Basic Education (NCCBE 2014) complemented with classroom observations. The paper aims to explore the following questions: (1) How does religion and RE intersect with the aims of intercultural education in the normative pedagogical documents and in informal educational discourses, and (2) How can this be epistemologically contextualized? Theoretical framework of the study is based Andreotti’s (2011) and Mignolo’s (2000) postcolonial work on epistemological injustice. Using critical content analysis and discourse analysis as methods the aim is to analyze ‘the place’ of religion in intercultural education paying attention to the underlying epistemological power struggle due to a diversity of values and unequal positioning of worldviews. As a starting point for provision of education, learning in the NCCBE 2014 is described as overcoming of the boundaries between languages, cultures, religions and worldviews. The rationale of RE is legitimized using concepts like multiple religious and cultural literacy, internal diversity of religions and recognition of non-religious worldviews. Despite giving a visible role for religions in intercultural education, plurality of worldviews is given as a condition or a norm that requires nothing but acceptance. Diversity serves as an ideal for learning from other worldviews but the critical awareness of the epistemological positions of worldviews is lacking. The study suggests that on the level of knowledge, ‘secular-Lutheranism’ as a ‘common’ basis for knowledge is the hegemonic position and emphasizing equality, harmony and sameness of religions, it is easy to hide the difference, conflict and confessionalism of religions.
Andreotti, V. (2011). “(Towards) Decoloniality and Diversality in Global Citizenship Education.” Globalisation, Societies and Education, 9 (3–4): 381–397. Mignolo, W. D. (2000). Local Histories/Global Designs: Essays on the Coloniality of Power, Subaltern Knowledges and Border Thinking. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 4)
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