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Postmodernity, Secularism and Democratic approaches to Education; the impact on Religious Education in Scotland

An Analysis of the 'philosophication' of Scottish Religious Education in Light of Social and Educational Change

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The nature of the subject variously described in Scotland as Religious Education, Religious and Moral Education, and Religious, Moral and Philosophical Studies has changed radically over the last four decades. This paper seeks to examine possible reasons for the move to non-confessional, multi-religious and philosophical approaches, both set against the wider social climate and also as evidenced in empirical data. This hypothesis of this paper is that changes within Religious Education (RE) can be understood against the background of societal change, secularisation and the adoption of more democratic educational approaches. The intention of this article is to evidence this claim with reference to key documents in the development of RE, as well as the content of RE curricula. Empirical data also informs this discussion, principally from a questionnaire based pilot study of nine RE departments in a particular local authority.

Affiliations: 1: University of Aberdeen;, Email:


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