Researching Religious Education as Social Practice

Geir Afdal

Researching Religious Education as Social Practice

2010,  Religious Diversity and Education in Europe,  Band 20,  160  Seiten,  E-Book (PDF),  22,40 €,  ISBN 978-3-8309-7474-1

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The aim of this book is to contribute to an understanding of research in religious education as a practice. Therefore, the author discusses the relationship between the practice of RE research on the one hand and the practice of teaching RE on the other.
The understanding of education as a research discipline and the status and role of educational theories are increasingly debated. One key question is whether educational theories are in any respect different from other theories in the social and human sciences. Are theories created in educational research “practical” or “normative” in the sense that they should aim at prescribing or developing better practice? These are also important questions for research in religious education. The issue at stake is the identity and self-understanding of religious education research. In the English language “religious education” may refer both to the school subject and to the research discipline. The author argues that it is essential to distinguish these as two different practices. This means that clarifying what religious education as a school subject is does not automatically give an answer as to what religious education as a research discipline is.
The book is divided into two parts. In part one a theoretical framework is established that will give a better understanding of the discussions in part two. The second part analyses the character of the research on religious education in relation to the practice of religious education, in the light of social scientific research. The chapters argue for a hermeneutically empirical understanding of research in religious education and a dialectical relationship between RE research and RE practice.