Examples of knowledge contributions in Swedish RE

A discussion of disciplines as frames for knowledge re/production

  • Christina Osbeck University of Gothenburg, Department of Pedagogical, Curricular and Professional Studies


The aim of this article is to examine kinds of knowledge contributions – in a) RE research, exemplified by three dissertations, and b) three textbooks for RE student teachers – in relation to the academic disciplines/milieus in which these knowledge contributions occur, and to discuss how these milieus work as frames for knowledge development. Characterisations of knowledge contributions in subject didactics and RE are used as analytical tools while the study as a whole draws on socio-cultural perspectives on learning and activity theory which stress how learning takes place in the discursive practices where people are active. A striking similarity between the dissertations is that none of them has been developed in an in an RE discipline, with an RE supervisor, or in an academic milieu specialising in RE. The different academic contexts have contributed to interesting combinations and developments of theoretical perspectives but simultaneously there is a lack of milieus that deal with these findings and integrate them into further developmental processes. Moreover, there seem to be larger differences in RE knowledge contributions between the dissertations and the textbooks as groups than within these groups. While the dissertations represent empirical studies of the participants in the teaching practices and use the findings as foundations for discussions and problematisations of RE teaching, the student teacher texts take the RE content and curriculum for granted to a larger extent. One conclusion of this article is that in order to strengthen the RE field – both in school, teacher education and research – extended cooperation between these different practices is needed.