Curriculum and national identity: exploring the links between religion and nation in Pakistan

Durrani, Naureen and Dunne, Mairead (2010) Curriculum and national identity: exploring the links between religion and nation in Pakistan. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 42 (2). pp. 215-240. ISSN 0022-0272

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Abstract

This paper investigates the relationship between schooling and conflict in Pakistan using an identity-construction lens. Drawing on data from curriculum documents, student responses to classroom activities, and single-sex student focus groups, it explores how students in four state primary schools in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP), Pakistan, use curricula and school experiences to make sense of themselves as Pakistani. The findings suggest that the complex nexus of education, religion, and national identity tends to construct 'essentialist' collective identities¿a single identity as a naturalized defining feature of the collective self. To promote national unity across the diverse ethnic groups comprising Pakistan, the national curriculum uses religion (Islam) as the key boundary between the Muslim Pakistani 'self' and the antagonist non-Muslim 'other'. Ironically, this emphasis creates social polarization and the normalization of militaristic and violent identities, with serious implications for social cohesion, tolerance for internal and external diversity, and gender relations.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: conflict, curriculum, identity construction, national unity, Pakistan
Schools and Departments: School of Education and Social Work > Education
Subjects: L Education > LC Special aspects of education > LC0065 Social aspects of education > LC0071 Education and the state > LC0107 Public school question. Secularisation. Religious instruction in the public schools
L Education > LC Special aspects of education > LC0251 Moral and religious education > LC0321 Religion and education. Education under church control
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Depositing User: Naureen Durrani
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 21:11
Last Modified: 06 Sep 2012 10:36
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/30041
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