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Crossings and Crosses. Religion and Education in Baltic and Barents Borderlands
Södertörn University, Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES).
2015 (English)In: Sovijus, ISSN 2351-4728, Vol. 3, no 2, 68-85 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The extent and content of boundary barrier functions can be explained by decisionsmade by the neighbouring states and their implementation on the local level. Withthe sudden changes of government and governance in 1989–1991 in Eastern andCentral Europe, the relation between individual and state changed drastically,from top-down, 'socialist' state-territorially contained relations into a moremultidimensional relationship where democratic bottom-up influences plays a moreimportant role, but where also commercial interests, mediated information andsupra-state ('international') regulation intervene. In the juxtaposition of territorialstates, the difference in jurisdiction between hierarchical levels has led to misfits,asymmetries that negatively impact the possibilities for cross-border co-operation.Using a cultural trait, that of religion as a measure of internal and cross-borderinteraction, the following questions were asked: What is the relation between theterritorial ("nation") state, civil society and education in border towns? Will the localteaching of religion be influenced by the proximity of a different state with anotherset of cultural and jurisdictional norms? The questions were approached withexamples from the teaching of religion, ethics and civics in northeastern Europeanborder areas, involving border twin towns in Norway, Russia, Finland, Estonia,Latvia, Poland and Germany. The present study involved four different academicdisciplines; the study of religion, education, geography and political science.Information about the teaching of religion and ethics was made throughstructured interviews with teachers and principals of selected schools made byassistants fluent in the language(s) of the locality. Questions were also asked aboutthe use of religious and other symbols, the celebration of holidays and other eventsThe study resulted in a general rejection of the hypotheses. Education,especially related to religion, civics and ethics, is almost completely influenced by thehomogeneous territorial jurisdiction of each state. Local civil society plays a minorrole in the teaching. Local religious groups are usually not invited to the schools,and parents show little interest in the teaching contents of school life. The existenceof cross-border migrants is to some extent taken into consideration in languageteaching, but not in civics or religion. While cross-border relations are friendly, theyare rarely intense.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Kaunas, 2015. Vol. 3, no 2, 68-85 p.
Keyword [en]
cross-border relations and cooperation, education, religion, territorial state, Baltic-Barents Region
National Category
Human Geography
Research subject
Baltic and East European studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-28649OAI: diva2:865673
The Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies, A051-09
Available from: 2015-10-29 Created: 2015-10-29 Last updated: 2015-12-21Bibliographically approved

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Lundén, Thomas
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