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‘Catholic schooling with a twist?’: a study of faith schooling in the Republic of Ireland during a period of detraditionalisation

2017-09-04, Byrne, R. (Richard), Devine, Dympna

The role and impact of religion and faith based schools are increasingly debated within a wider context of school reform, rights and plurality in multi-ethnic societies. Ireland represents an interesting case study internationally because of the extent to which Catholic education is structurally embedded as normative across the education system. Yet, Ireland is in a process of detraditionalisation and wider societal changes are occurring. Drawing on Bourdieu and Bernstein, and a mixed methodological study of Catholic secondary schools in one archdiocese, we present a typology of Catholic schooling in transition. This identifies a continuum of Catholicity (from strong to weak) among our study schools that is mediated by dynamics of social class in an increasingly competitive and diverse system. We argue this has implications for considering the role of a recontextualised model of Catholic faith schooling, underpinned by principles of social justice in a multicultural and more secularly oriented society.