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Essentialism i religionsundervisningen, ett religionsdidaktiskt problem
Akademin Utbildning och Humaniora, Högskolan Dalarna.
2012 (Swedish)In: Nordidactica - Journal of Humanities and Social Science Education, ISSN 2000-9879, no 2012:2, 106-137 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Essentialist concepts of religion are common in the teaching of religion in schools and to a certain extent also in the academic discipline of religious studies. In this article, a num­ber of problems with essentialist perceptions of religion are discussed. In the first part of the article a thesis is maintained, according to which essentialist conceptions of religion or spe­cific religions are too limited to be of value in the teaching of religion. This is done through exam­ples of essentialist expressions on religion. The examples are grouped according to a typol­ogy of different kinds of essentialism. Two main categories, each with two sub-categories are identified. Thus, the category of essentialism regarding the substance of religion is divided into transcendental or theological essentialism (which presupposes the existence of a sacred power of some kind, the experience of which is the basis for religion), and core essentialism (where it is presupposed that certain ideas or concepts constitute religion as a general category or specific religions). Likewise, the category of essentialism regarding the function of religion has two sub-categories: positive and negative essentialism. These kinds of essentialism presup­pose that religion or specific religions are inherently good or harmful respectively to human be­ings. Examples from each of these categories are given and discussed. In the second part of the arti­cle, Benson Saler’s open concept of religion is presented as an alternative to essentialist or bounded perceptions. It is based on Ludwig Wittgenstein’s idea of family resemblances and on proto­type theory. In connection with this, it is argued that a certain kind of conscious ethnocen­trism is needed as a point of departure in the study and teaching of religion. The metaphor of educa­tion as a journey from the familiar out into the unfamiliar and back again is suggested as a possible pattern for such teaching. Finally, some examples of non-essentialist ways to intro­duce religions are offered.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad: CSD , 2012. no 2012:2, 106-137 p.
Keyword [en]
Keyword [sv]
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Research subject
Religious Studies and Theology
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-26211OAI: diva2:603759
Available from: 2013-02-06 Created: 2013-02-06 Last updated: 2013-02-13

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