Ahimsa är vad vi gör av det : En granskning av två läroböcker i religionskunskap för gymnasiet

Detta är en Kandidat-uppsats från Växjö universitet/Institutionen för pedagogik


The attacks of September 11, 2001 have done more to focus attention on the conjunction of religion and conflict than any other event in recent history. Although much international research has focused since then on the role of Islam, religiously inspired violence is also found in countries as diverse as Thailand, Burma, or Sri Lanka, where Buddhism plays a central role. This paper addresses how these realities are reflected in two Swedish high school textbooks on religion. The thesis calls into question the manner in which Buddhism is presented in schoolbooks as the most probable candidate to be a conflict-free religion.

Using Fairclough’s discourse analysis theoretical framework and Hellspong’s structural analysis, the thesis critically examines the relationship between text, the discourse practice in which text is produced and the wider social practices. The study concludes that schoolbooks are committed to presenting Buddhism as virtually conflict-free by means of rhetorical procedures which focus mainly on what is assumed to be “the most important” message of Tibetan Buddhism and its portal figure, Dalai lama – namely peace. At the same time, the author suggests that there is a strong intertextuality between the texts of the schoolbooks and the romanticised views of Dalai lama existent in three contemporary Hollywood films.

The limits of the paper are finally addressed and various paths to future research are suggested, in an effort to improve schoolbooks, since pedagogical texts structure the students’ way of thinking about Buddhism in particular, and religion in general.

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