Failures of meaning in religious education

Conroy, J. C. , Lundie, D. and Baumfield, V. (2012) Failures of meaning in religious education. Journal of Beliefs and Values, 33(3), pp. 309-323. (doi: 10.1080/13617672.2012.732812)

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The educational aims of religious education (RE) in the UK as evinced, for example, by Ofsted have been couched in the language of meaning making. Based on an ESRC funded three-year ethnographic study of 24 schools across the UK, this essay represents one attempt to interrogate how such meanings are shaped, or indeed fail to be shaped, in the day-to-day transactions of the school. We do this by locating RE in current discussions of efficacy, as manifest in inspectoral reports and allied scholarship, illustrate how complex the entailments and purposes of RE are, explore some of the ethnographic and related data to understand how meaning is shaped inside and outside the classroom, and, finally, attempt to locate that material in more general observations about the nature of meaning in RE – observations that are informed by contemporary readings of meaning making in the work of, among others, Baudrillard. We observe that RE, so dependent upon meaning for educational justification, is too frequently a site which witnesses failures of meaning.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Conroy, Professor James and Baumfield, Professor Vivienne and Lundie, Dr David
Authors: Conroy, J. C., Lundie, D., and Baumfield, V.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Education > Creativity Culture and Faith
College of Social Sciences > School of Education > Pedagogy Policy and Practice
College of Social Sciences > School of Education > Educational Leadership & Policy
Journal Name:Journal of Beliefs and Values
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN (Online):1469-9362
Published Online:13 December 2012

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
453621Does religious education work? An analysis of the aims, practices and models of effectiveness in Religious Education across the UKJames ConroyArts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)AH/F009135/1ED - CREATIVITY, CULTURE & FAITH