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Educational Institution and Religious Teaching: Politicalisation or Socialization?

Yaghoob Foroutan
The University of Mazandaran, Iran & Swinburne University of Technology, Australia
Yaghoob Foroutan
The University of Mazandaran, Iran & Swinburne University of Technology, Australia
Open Panel

Abstract

Focusing on the ‘strategy’ of religious socialization (Pluss 2007) and based on the model developed by Micherner et al. (1990), this research paper examines the patterns and characteristics associated with the representation of religious teachings in the school-textbooks. It employs the socialization theory (Evans and Davis 2000, Tylor 2003), at which schools and textbooks play key roles in the socialization process of children. Using the conent analysis method, this paper focuses on the educational system of the Islamic Republic of Iram and the anlyses of this paper are based on the school-textbooks of this Muslim-majority country in three levels: primary, intermediate, and high schools. In addition, the analyses of these school-textbooks are discussed in terms of ‘religious textbooks’ and ‘other textbooks’. Generally speaking, the resuls of this analysis show that the textbooks are substantially dominated by religion, which applies to both religious textbooks and other textbooks. Moreover, comparative analysis illustrates that the religion of Islam and its characteristics such as the Holy Book (Quran) and the Prophet Mohammad have been respresented in the textbooks more significantly than other religions. In addition, the association between religion and gender portrayed in the textbooks vary substantially by the age of the audiance (that is, students): the higher the age, the stronger the influence of religion,which provide evidence supporting the fact that in the Islamic settings it is assumed that ‘women are powerful and dangerous beings’ so gender institutions and segregation ‘can be perceived as a strategy for containing their power’ (Mernissi 1987: 19). The Author is Assistant Professor in Demography, Department of Social Sciences, The University of Mazandaran, Babolsar, Iran. The author presently holds a Postdoctoral Fellowship position at the National Institute of Demographic and Economic Analysis, The University of Waikato in New Zealand. The author can be corresponded on y_foroutan@yahoo.com & foroutan@waikato.ac.nz