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Religion in Education: Mathew Guest

25 July 11

Held at the University of Warwick, 25th-26th July 2011

To listen to presentations and discussions at the conference, use the links on this and linked pages. Click here for the full list of papers.

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Mathew Guest [University of Durham]

The University Campus as a Site of Religious Expression: Allegiance, Controversy and Community among Campus-based Christians in England

Click here to listen to/download the podcast.

Dr Mathew Guest is part of a team which is conducting a study on “Christianity and the University Experience in Contemporary England” [visit the project website] within the Religion and Society Programme. The project aims to capture a picture of Christianity on the university campus, including the beliefs and values of Christians when compared with non-Christians, the convictions they bring with them to university and those they take from the university context, and how religious identities are affected by experiences of teaching, learning and involvement in social networks.

“How is Christianity functioning as an identity marker  … in that we found that over half of the people who filled in the questionnaire identify as Christian, this in a country where regular church attendance is well under ten per cent?”

Abstract: Christians constitute one of the largest campus-based religious populations in the UK, yet little is known of their size and constituency or of associated patterns of religious expression and social engagement. This paper reports on a three-year project involving a nation-wide survey of undergraduate students, supplemented with qualitative case studies, examining how the experience of university—social networks, exposure to religious and cultural difference, and the academic learning process—shape on-campus expressions of moral and religious values. Reflecting the conference theme, we will also examine how Christian constituencies approach university life as a means of broader social engagement.

“The vast majority do not align themselves with Christian Unions and therefore with the strident evangelicalism that has become associated with campus Christianity.”

[Mathew also presented at the Religion and Society event 'Young People and Religion' hosted at KCL in May 2011. Click here for more info.]

Report and podcasts compiled by Norman Winter. Abstract taken from the conference programme. Recordings of the symposium sessions are substantially complete, but may have been edited in small ways for technical and other reasons.

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