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English Religious Education: A story of indoctrination, Instrumentalization and Ideology

12 September 2016 - 11 September 2019

PI/s in Exeter: Dr Jonathan Doney

Funding awarded: £237957

Sponsor(s): British Academy

About the research

Through a novel method of policy analysis, this study will explore the introduction

and continued presence of compulsory Religious Education (RE) in the English

school curriculum following the 1944 Education Act. RE is argued to have begun

as the indoctrinatory promotion of Christianity, moving to the development of

tolerance for the ‘religious other’ from the 1960s. Currently there is an emphasis

on the development ‘British Values’ to combat religious fundamentalism and

extremism, especially in the context of issues such as the development of Islamic

State. Beneath these discussions there are wildly differing visions of the nature

and purpose of RE, but the indoctrinatory (confessional/non-confessional) lens,

through which deep seated ideological differences have hitherto been examined,

fails to account for this. This study will problematize existing characterizations of

the subject’s history, and explore the extent to which the story is one of

Indoctrination, Instrumentalization, and Ideology.

British Academy