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The Swedish curriculum in religious education: Can it be viewed as intercultural?
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Political, Historical, Religious and Cultural Studies. Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Centre for the Studies of Social Sciences Didactics. (CSD)
2015 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

There are a small number of binding legal standards requiring Europe or the international community at large to implement intercultural education. However, global actors such as UNESCO, the European Union, and the Council of Europe have raised the agenda and “inspired” national changes through reports, recommendations and action plans. However, research show that the newly formulated curricula in Sweden as well as all over the world, are under pressure of globalization and Europeanisation, leading to denationalization and an instrumental view of knowledge (Ball, Goodson & Maguire 2007; Wahlström 2014).The aim of this paper is to discuss the subject Religious Education in the Swedish curriculum out from a critical discourse analytic perspective (Fairclough 2003). Religious Education in Sweden is a subject for all students from grade one in primary school right through to grade three in upper secondary school. This model is sometimes categorized as an “integrative model” of Religious Education (Alberts 2007) and has always been so in Swedish compulsory schools (von Brömssen & 2Rodell Olgaç 2010; Hartman 2000).However, the subject has changed considerably over the years. It is currently stated in the curriculum that teaching in the subject of religion in Sweden should “aim at helping students broaden, deepen and develop knowledge of religions, outlooks on life and ethical standpoints, and where applicable different interpretations of these” (Lgr 11).As religion and Religious Education usually works as part of the national formation of a citizen, it is interesting to analyse potentially intercultural framework in the Swedish curriculum for Religious Education (cf Gruber & Rabo 2014). Thus, there will be a focus in the paper on the question whether the Swedish curriculum of Religious Education can be said to encompass intercultural perspectives and intercultural competencies or not. 

ReferencesAlberts, Wanda (2007) Integrative religious education in Europe- a study of religions education approach. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.

Ball, Stephen, J., Goodson, Ivor & Maguire, Meg (2007) Education, globalization and new times. London: Roultledge.

von Brömssen, Kerstin & Rodell Olgaç Christina (2010) Intercultural education in Sweden through the lences of the national minorities and of religious education. Intercultural Education, 21(2), pp.  sidor:121-135.   

Fairclough, Norman (2003). Analysing discourse. Textual analyses for social research. New York: Routledge.

Gruber, Sabine & Rabo, Annika (2014) Multiculturalism Swedish Style: shifts and sediments in educational policies and textbooks. Policy Futures in Education 12(1), pp.  56-66.

Hartman, Sven, G. (2000) Hur religionsämnet formades. In Edgar Almén, Ragnar Furenhed, Sven G. Hartman & Björn Skogar (Eds) Livstolkning och värdegrund. Att undervisa om religion, livsfrågor och etik. Skapande Vetande, 37, pp. 212-251.Linköping: Linköpings universitet.

Hartman, Sven, G. (2011) Perspektiv på skolans religionsundervisning. In Malin Löfstedt (Ed.) Religionsdidaktik. Mångfald, livsfrågor och etik i skolan, pp. 19-34. Lund: Studentlitteratur.

Kursplan – Religionskunskap,

Lgr 11 (2011) Curriculum for the Compulsory School, Preschool Class and the Recreation Centre 2011.

Wahlström, Ninni (2014) Utbildningens villkor II- en denationaliserad utbildningskonception. Utbildning & Demokrati, 23(3): pp. 77-91.


Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Curriculum, Religious education, Interculture, Sweden
National Category
Research subject
Education; Religious Studies and Theology
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-37929OAI: diva2:853409
ECER 2015. Education and Transition-Contributions from Educational Research. Budapest, Hungary, 7-11 Sept., 2015


Available from: 2015-09-13 Created: 2015-09-13 Last updated: 2016-03-11Bibliographically approved

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