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Diversity and Intersectionality

Studies in Religion, Education and Values


Edited By 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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12 ‘I warn you not to be ordinary’: Reflections on the Intersectionality of Ordinariness



This chapter makes a general plea for taking seriously those people who claim to be ‘just ordinary’. The reader is encouraged to value ordinariness more highly, as central to human flourishing, and in interaction with the forces of economic, social, political, educational, and spiritual wealth creation. After distinguishing between pragmatic concerns and the ends to which they lead, the chapter outlines its author’s conceptualization of ‘ordinary theology’ and its underlying moral and theological motivations. It then explores the concept of ordinariness further through a discussion of the intersectionality of social status and snobbery, and their spiritual framework. A section on academic snobbery leads to some reflections on the importance both of a more realistic view of society, and of a fuller education in religion, for sustaining and transforming our vulnerable human values.

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