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Searching for a Renewal of Religious Education Identity – A Swedish Perspective

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In Sweden and in other parts of Europe, the nature of religious education (RE) and its place in schools is the subject of ongoing discussions. Concepts used in the RE classroom can either open or close classroom conversations. A growing consensus can be observed among researchers that the concept of ‘religion’ is not sufficient to describe – and give space to – the meaning-making of the diversity of individuals in society. As a result, discussions about worldviews have gained momentum. But not even the worldview concept – and the choice to frame the subject of RE with this addition – can solve the real problem, which is how young people can relate to the content of the subject in the first place. In this article the view is presented that the concept of existential configurations is equipped to adequately capture a complex and personal understanding of life that, not least, can be observed among young people today. Furthermore, it is argued that this concept of existential configurations gives access to a theoretical language that enables individuals to understand their own existential meaning-making, and to see how it relates to the plurality of religions and worldviews that can be encountered in society – even when they do not describe themselves as religious or as having a specific worldview.

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Social Sciences, Education, other