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New Social Foundations for Education

Education in 'Post Secular' Society

Edited By Philip Wexler and Yotam Hotam

There has been growing scholarly attention to questions about the revival of religion and religiosity on global social, cultural and political fronts and the emergence of a ‘post-secular’ society. New Social Foundations for Education is dedicated to the drawing of the implications of the contemporary ‘post-secular’ social transformation for education. Though the question of the ‘post-secular’ stands at the focal point of a wide range of academic debates and discussions, within educational discourse it has not received close scholarly attention. This volume aims to correct this lack by presenting groundbreaking works of leading scholars from Europe, the United States, and the Middle East. Contributions discuss such topics as the mystical tradition and its social and pedagogic implications; transformative and ecological education; ‘new age’ spiritualism and its educational implications; and the relations between secular and religious education in different local contexts.
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2. Education and the Post-Secular Condition: Resanctifying Pedagogy in an Era of Disenchantment

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2. Education and the Post-Secular Condition: Resanctifying Pedagogy in an Era of Disenchantment

HANAN A. ALEXANDER

Introduction

In his seminal essay, “Notes on a Post-Secular Society,” Jürgen Habermas (2008) describes the waning of the so-called secular thesis—“that there is a close linkage between modernization of society and the secularization of the population” (17). The rise of modernity, in order words, should have signaled the decline of religion, whereas it turns out that the persistence of religion amidst modernity appears to suggest a weakening of secularism. In this view, “secularism” involves at least three trends: (a) the dominance of a “disenchanted” worldview in the public domain that controls law, politics, and welfare, based on a “hard” scientific naturalism; (b) restricting organized religion to the private domain with a pastoral role of administering salvation; and (c) appreciation for the higher standards of living, reduction in risks to life, and increased existential security resulting from advanced technologies (18, 27). One consequence of this decline is what Habermas calls a “post-secular consciousness,” in which rival religious and cultural traditions and attitudes exist alongside one another in modern liberal societies, side by side with secular traditions and attitudes, between and even within both collective and individual identities (20). He also discusses some of the normative consequences of this condition for citizens in constitutional democracies, including the rule of law that guarantees freedom of religious and cultural expression and from religious and cultural...

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