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A comparative study of religious education in state schools in England and Norway

By Oddrun M. H. Bråten


In this thesis I present a systematic comparison of religious education in state schools in England and Norway. Comparative studies in related fields and pioneering works in comparative RE informed the formulation of a methodology, essentially a template for comparative religious education. This is a synthesis of two sets of ideas. The first is an idea of three dimensions in comparative education: supranational, national and subnational processes. In supranational processes I distinguish between formal and informal processes. Formal processes refer to formal international (educational) policymaking which takes place in international organizations. Informal processes include social and/ or political developments which take place both in and through the formal processes but also outside them and, partly independently of them - such as secularisation, pluralisation and globalisation. My perspective is that comparison in religious education is about the study of the impact of supranational processes on national processes. Subnational processes refer to variations between regions within a country. \ud The second set of ideas is levels of curriculum: societal, institutional, instructional and experiential. The thesis chapters explore these levels examining how they are affected by supranational, national and subnational processes. In discussing the societal level, the focus is on academic debates. The institutional level is represented mainly by relevant legislation plus key policy documents, the Non-Statutory National Framework for RE (QCA 2004) and Local Agreed Syllabuses in England, and the Norwegian National Curriculum for RE (UD 2005).The instructional level includes how teachers plan and deliver the curriculum and the experiential level corresponds to how learners receive the curriculum. The societal and institutional levels are explored through theory and documentary studies, while empirical studies are part of the material for the chapters concerning practice. Civil enculturation, social imaginaries and national imaginaries are important analytical concepts. The suggested methodology and some central findings are discussed further in a concluding chapter

Topics: BV1460
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