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Diversity and Intersectionality

Studies in Religion, Education and Values

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Jeff Astley and Leslie J. Francis

This volume brings together two core concepts that are central to understanding the social and public significance of religions and theologies within the contemporary world and are therefore of key importance to the discipline of religious education: diversity and intersectionality. Religious diversity requires an understanding of religions and theologies and their roles within a plural society. However, the effect of the intersectionality of multiple social identities on a person’s flourishing illuminates the ways in which the broader complexity of diversity must be viewed from different perspectives.

These core constructs were brought together in a recent conference convened by the International Seminar on Religious Education and Values, the leading international association for religious educators across the world. This volume presents twelve key contributions made to the seminar, spanning both conceptual and empirical approaches, and represents a unique collection of international perspectives on the interlocking themes of intersectionality and diversity.

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3 Religious Diversity in the UK: Do Thirteen- to Sixteen-Year-Old Students Perceive it as a Site of Multiple Intersections?

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ABSTRACT

A three-year study (2009–2012) in the Warwick Religions and Education Research Unit sought to investigate the attitudes of thirteen- to sixteen-year-old students towards religious diversity across the United Kingdom. Comprising both qualitative and quantitative research methods, the project aimed to capture the factors which influence young people’s views and perceptions of the different religious traditions around them as well as non-religious stances. Drawing on data gathered during the qualitative phase of the project, this chapter addresses the question whether and to what extent young people perceived religious diversity as a site of multiple intersections – whether they made connections between different religions and non-religious stances, religious education, and ethnicity. The responses of the young people are presented in the light of the different school and community contexts in which they were embedded. The young people’s responses are also presented in the light of general discussions of the role of religious education as educating for diversity, religious literacy, tolerance, and inter-religious dialogue.

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