Elevers komplekse identitetskrav som utfordring i religions- og livssynsundervisning
In Religious Education (RE), religious identity is usually considered to be important. When the common mandatory Norwegian RE subject was implemented in 1997, an aim was to support the identities of the children, based on their background in a religious or secular tradition. In this article, I question this simplification concerning identity and explore whether intersectionality can be a more nuanced and empowering approach. Findings from a project about Hindu children’s experiences with RE in Norway indicate that the intersection of religion, culture, language, ethnicity, nationality and family is the focal point of children’s identity claims. I give examples of the children’s self-understandings and challenges. They rooted their self-understandings in the values of the transnational family, diasporic experiences and ethnicity. Religion was important as part of the family’s cultural luggage, which included strong ties to their countries of origin. In spite of this, in RE they were often labeled in accordance with their specific religious tradition. The article discusses how RE approaches to identity can avoid restricting identity to externally imposed categories, and instead being sensitive to the lived experiences of the children and their own identity claims. How can RE teaching meet children’s diverse and fluid identity claims and deal with religion as part of a complex cultural context?