Towards a Methodology for Comparative Studies in Religious Education

Oddrun M.H. Bråten

Towards a Methodology for Comparative Studies in Religious Education

A Study of England and Norway

2013,  Religious Diversity and Education in Europe,  Band 24,  234  pages,  paperback,  32,90 €,  ISBN 978-3-8309-2887-4

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In this book Oddrun M. H. Bråten set out to utilise and test her methodology for comparative religious education. This synthesises two sets of ideas. The first includes supranational, national and subnational processes. Formal supranational processes refer to international (educational) policymaking in international organisations. Informal supranational processes include secularisation, pluralisation and globalisation. Subnational processes refer to variations between regions within a country.
The second set of ideas concerns the societal, institutional, instructional and experiential levels of curriculum. They are affected by supranational, national and subnational processes. In discussing the societal level, attention needs to be given to the histories of religion, state and school in each country. Research at the institutional level involves analysis of relevant policy documents and legislation in each country, while research at the instructional level involves analysis of how teachers interpret, plan and teach the curriculum, while the experiential level researches how students interact with one-another and with teachers to develop their understanding.
A third set of ideas includes Bråten’s use of Schiffauer and collaborators’ concepts of social/national imaginary and civil enculturation. These concepts help in grasping the historical and sociological depth of national traditions.

This publication is a groundbreaking study in the methodology of comparative religious education and the author won the award for Outstanding Research Student of 2009-2010 in the field of education at the University of Warwick.

press

I truly believe Bråten’s methodological model might be considered a template for comparative studies in [Religious Education]. It is transferable to other regions, such as to the Central European context [...]. Reading this book gave me a clear idea of holistic approach to research in RE, and that is why I recommend it to others planning to carry out research in RE.
Dana Hanesová in: Journal of Education and Christian Beliefs, 1/2014

[...] this study might be useful for faculty in the following ways. First, Bråten poses interesting questions about the importance of RE (mostly having to do with preparing pupils to be tolerant citizens in pluralistic societies) that are important for faculty and administrators to consider at institutions that require the study of religion as part of general education or liberal arts requirements. Why is RE considered necessary? How do students receive not only the content of what is taught, but the messages about why such courses are important? This book would also be of use for thinking about the supranational, national, and subnational forces that have impacted how and why we teach what we teach. Bråten raises many questions along these lines, and provides one multi-disciplinary model for how to answer them.
Erik Hammerstrom auf: Reflectinve Teaching