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Educating for religious citizenship: multiculturalism and national identity in an English multi-faith primary school

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Abstract:

Much attention has been paid to the introduction of Citizenship Education in 2002 as a curriculum subject for schools in England and Wales. However, schools have a much wider role in educating children for citizenship through the informal curriculum and everyday socio-spatial practices. This article draws attention to the issue of ‘religious citizenship’ as an important area of study for geographers, through a focus on a particular space: an English multi-faith community primary school. The model of religious citizenship that was provided and promoted by the school is considered, with reference to the way in which religious minorities were recognised and accommodated. Through this analysis, the significance of procedural liberalism is highlighted, particularly the way in which the concept of neutrality may inadvertently privilege certain groups over others. The multi-scalar nature of the issues in question are also shown through reference to particular constructions of the nation and national identity, along with the significance of everyday micro-spaces for the contestation and negotiation of religious citizenship.

Keywords: Britain; citizenship; education; multiculturalism; national identity; religion

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-5661.2011.00432.x

Publication date: July 1, 2011

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