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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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6. The Post-Secular Rhetoric of Contemplative Practice in the Public Curriculum


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6. The Post-Secular Rhetoric of Contemplative Practice in the Public Curriculum


In the past decade a surge of interest in the incorporation of diverse contemplative practices in the curriculum is becoming apparent in primary, secondary, and higher education (Barbezat & Bush, 2014; MLERN, 2012; Todd & Ergas, 2015). This growing movement is supported by various institutions (e.g., Mind and Life, Garrison Institute, Contemplative Mind in Society, the Collaboration of Academic and Social Emotional Learning), a host of networks (e.g., Mindfulness in Education, Mindfulness and Contemplative Education) and is manifest in diverse curricular interventions (e.g., MINDUP, CARE, ‘.b’ curriculum). Yet, the presence of such practices in a contemporary curriculum strongly shaped by economic-rational-secular agendas pointing towards performativity, accountability, and standardization is hardly obvious. Contemplative practices stem from wisdom-traditions that seem to be offering a counter-movement to such narrative by introducing some measure of non-productive-affective-spiritual flavor into the curriculum.

This chapter offers an analysis of a spectrum of rhetoric that undergirds the advocacy and justification of contemplative practices in the curriculum. Its poles are defined by wisdom-traditions on the one hand, offering a non-instrumental educational narrative, and an instrumental scientific educational narrative on the other. The chapter interprets this spectrum as a locus for understanding a “post-secular” society that is reflected in a continuous blurring of dualistic categories (e.g., science/religion, spirituality/secularity, body/mind, self/society). Contemplative practices incorporated in education are interpreted here as bearing the potential of healing these traditional...

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