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History, Remembrance and Religious Education

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Edited By Stephen G. Parker, Rob Freathy and Leslie J. Francis

How should the Holocaust be taught in schools, and to what end? What role should religious education play in recounting and remembering this human catastrophe? How has the nature and purpose of religious education changed and developed over time? What contribution should religious education make to identity formation, particularly regarding the role of memory, heritage and tradition? The scholarly reflections in this volume, drawing upon historical, theoretical and empirical perspectives, provide insights into past, present and potential future developments in religious and values education in a range of national contexts, including Germany, Israel, Norway, Canada and South Africa. The chapters fall under three headings: fostering a culture of remembrance; historical perspectives on religious education; and history, tradition, memory and identity. Together they form a unique collection of international perspectives upon these interlocking themes.
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17 Religious Education Promoting Identity Formation in the Light of Existential Analysis and Critical Pedagogy

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Abstract

The aim of the chapter is to reflect on how two different theoretical approaches to existential analysis, a movement in psychotherapy and phenomenological philosophy, and the main ideas of critical pedagogy can provide scenarios for Religious Education in schools. The existential analysis is based on Viktor E. Frankl’s concepts of purpose of life and how people can find their value as active contributors, as subjects of life. The critical theory is based on Habermas’ theory of knowledge-constitutive human interests, and concepts of ‘lifeworld’ and ‘communicative action’. First, the main principles of both of the theoretical approaches are presented. When introducing the critical theory, the chapter also refers to Paolo Friere, Wilfred Carr, and Stephen Kemmis, who have applied critical theory to education. The major themes reflected on are as follows: how these theories can be applied in curriculum construction when promoting religious and value literacy and how they support students’ identity formation in Religious Education. Finally, the chapter presents a summary of what features these theories provide when supporting students’ identity formation in Religious Education. ← 365 | 366 →

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