Religious identify and religious education reform in Transnational Contexts: A Bourdieusian perspective

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


While optimistically (as in England) scholars such as Moulin are beginning to see a strengthened RE (Moulin, 2012), the contemporary status of the subject presents a rather depressing picture and (sic) seemingly unable to shake off the historical"Cinderella" tag (Dierenfield, 1967; Bastide, 2000). As such RE remains the subject schools would rather ignore so that teachers can devote time to "useful" subjects such as Science, Literacy and Numeracy upon which PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) is based, and the implications of this international assessment in the quality (or lack) of a country's education (Chater and Erricker, 2013; Grek, 2009). Despite its variable treatment in schools (Conroy et al., 2013), in many countries RE has survived mainly for two reasons; first, by law RE is a legal requirement in public schools (e.g. UK), and secondly, as a form of cultural heritage and national identity through the teaching of particular religions (Matemba, 2015; Wardekker and Miedema, 2001; Jackson, 2004). For these reasons, in many countries attempts to bring sweeping reforms in RE engenders fierce debates and contestations (Parker and Freathy, 2011).

This paper explores how stakeholders in different socio-cultural contexts engage with RE reform, and the extent to which religious identity engenders polarised debates in the micro-politics of reform in RE essentially because stakeholders want the subject to draw on elements of their particular culture, tradition and theologies. While the outcomes of recent RE reforms in Scotland and Malawi are well known (Conroy, 2014; Matemba, and Addai-Mununkum, 2017), what is less explored in the discourse are stakeholders' perspectives in the role of religious identity in these reforms. The paper attempts to address this issue guided by three key related research questions.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages3
Publication statusPublished - 14 Apr 2019
EventEducation for Sustainability - Hyatt Regency , San Franscisco, United States
Duration: 14 Apr 201918 Apr 2019


ConferenceEducation for Sustainability
Abbreviated titleCIES 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Franscisco
Internet address


  • Religion and Religious Education
  • Comparative Methodology
  • Educational Reform
  • Bourdieu


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