HomePolitical education: citizenship, moral training and teaching of religion

HomePolitical education: citizenship, moral training and teaching of religion

Political education: citizenship, moral training and teaching of religion

Éducation au politique : formation à la citoyenneté, morale et enseignement des religions

Politische Bildung: Bildung zur Gesellschaftlichkeit, moralische und religiöse Bildung

International approaches (19th-21st centuries)

Approches internationales (XIXe-XXIe siècle)

Internationale Ansätze (19. - 21. Jahrhundert)

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Published on Wednesday, February 16, 2022


In a comparative international perspective, the conference aims to study formal and informal educational policies and practices in the field of political education with a focus on the relationships (institutional, epistemological, pedagogical, professional) between citizen training, moral education and the teaching of religions (denominational or interdenominational perspectives) or of religious facts (secular approaches).



From the 19th century onwards, political modernity resulted in many countries in the will of the state to take charge of the citizens’ education, in connection with the development of mass elementary schooling and the rise of national feelings.

More recently, especially since the 2000s, citizenship education has become a key issue for international institutions such as the Council of Europe and Unesco, which have developed dedicated programs and published recommendations and resources for teacher educators and policy makers.

As a condition for maintaining, strengthening and expanding democratic institutions, such a project requires a political education, that is a preparation for the exercise of popular sovereignty and participation in common affairs. It also involves the transmission of a set of behavioral norms and collective values that are difficult to reduce to a procedural approach.

As a result citizenship education permeates other elements in the curriculum such as history, science, literature, physical education, while the school’s sphere of action overlaps with that of other educational institutions and places of socialization which have their own views on politics and citizenship like the family, peer groups, community organizations, political movements, faith-based groups, or the army.

Considered in their relationship with political education, moral education and religious education (whether academic or devotional) offer an interesting perspective on the complementarities and tensions between the different actors and aspects of public educational policies.

The link between the civic, moral and religious dimensions of educating new generations, which depends on regional, national and even international power relations and institutional balances, is undoubtedly part of the political and social history of the various territories. In this respect, the national level is not always relevant since educational policies are not always the responsibility of a centralized state.

We can thus roughly distinguish secular models dissociating moral and citizen education from religious education, more or less secularized models which include pluralistic religious teaching, and denominational models which combine moral, citizenship and religious education.

Yet, however enlightening these categories may be, they provide little clue on actual curricular configurations and do not prevent comparison between educational policies and practices deployed in these different contexts.

Although it does not always involve explicit teaching, moral or ethical education can be a point of agreement or dissension between education for citizenship and teaching of religion.

Whether it is a separate subject or whether it is more or less deliberately integrated into the curriculum, the relationship of morality to the civic and the religious varies significantly from one educational system to another: it can be integrated into common or optional denominational teaching, or part of citizen education in a secular approach or as an alternative to the religious education ; it can also be related to it in a pluralistic and existential perspective.

How do the potentially competing purposes of moral or ethical education, such as the transmission of collective norms and values and the development of personal autonomy, fit together in these various configurations and contexts?

Without positing an inescapable tendency to secularization, the latter does appear to be a common feature of educational policies, though to varying degrees and in different ways, whether it stands as a repellent, a requirement of modernity, an aspect of globalization that needs to be taken into account, whether it is encouraged by political power or promoted by institutions or groups of stakeholders with their own visions and interests.

A move towards secularization can thus be observed even in the denominational curriculum, such as the development of approaches based on Humanities, social sciences and philosophy, like the teaching of Islamic culture in Tunisia, or through the inclusion of cultural and pluralistic approaches in religion courses, as has been observed in Sweden, Norway, England, Quebec and some Swiss cantons.

Such evolutions call for a comparison between the practices of denominational or interfaith religious teaching with the objectivist approach to religious facts such as it may exist in laic educational systems.

Conversely, it would also be necessary to study the impact on educational policies of the trend towards the reconfessionalization of the political sphere observed on a global scale since the 1980s: the Iranian revolution, the role of a rigid conception of Islam in the Afghan revolt against the Soviet regime, the rise of religious political parties in Israel, India, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, the reaffirmation of the Orthodox identity of Russia, the weight of Protestant fundamentalism in the United States, the use of religious arguments in the debates on "the Christian roots of Europe"...

Major international surveys such as the ICCS survey of the IEA (International Association of the Evaluation of Educational Achievement) or that of the European network Eurydice have been devoted to citizenship learning at school from a comparative perspective (Council of Europe 2017; Schulz et all 2017), but they have shown little interest in non-school actors or in the relations of these actors with education.

Moreover, they only marginally address the relationship between citizenship learning, moral education, religious education or teaching about religions.

It is these relationships that the conference aims to shed light on by exploring the institutional, professional, epistemological and political issues at stake in public educational, not only in official texts, but at every level (Lascoumes et Le Galès 2012).

In an interdisciplinary perspective, the papers could involve a diversity of academic approaches: history, educational sciences, didactics, political sciences, sociology of the curriculum, analysis of professional practices. Contributions discussing the possibility and relevance of transferring their analytical frameworks to other contexts will be particularly welcome.

Several lines of investigation will be focused on :  

1) Training citizens: a diversity of places, institutions and actors promoting specific educational projects

School policies are developed at a multiple levels due to the diversity of regional and national institutional structures, as well as the variety of stakeholders involved.

Our aim is to compare national and regional models of citizenship education in their complexity and historical evolution - if necessary identifying specific issues at stake at the different levels of education - and to compare them with the forms of political socialization outside school such as family, religious groups, community associations, political parties, community education movements or the army.

How do these various actors position themselves in relation to the school system ? What complementarities and tensions are at work in possible partnerships between them?

We will also look at the role of international agencies or institutions such as UNESCO and the Council of Europe in curriculum development and informal education, as well as possible discrepancies between their recommendations and local policies.

2) Pluralism and construction of the « common ground »

How do historical, institutional and societal balances between different religions or beliefs translate into curricular policies and teaching practices in formal or informal education?

What conceptions of political community do they develop ? What kind of common ground, apart from the national, do they create. To what extent and along which lines do they allow for convictional pluralism ? What power relations impact curriculum designing ? Which aspects of the curriculum refer to controversial issues and what management of dissensus do they imply ?

3) The place of religious teaching or teaching about religions in citizen education : historical, geographical, institutional variations

What approaches to religion are at work in the public policies and in the classroom ? What changes can be observed in this area ? What impact do the transformations of attitudes to religion and its social role have on the building of citizenship? What are the arguments used and which models of citizenship do they promote ?

4) Professional issues, educators’ postures, teaching materials, pedagogical approaches in moral, citizen education and teaching of religions

This part will address the difficulties and specific professional issues encountered by teacher educators depending on the contexts in which they work and the institutional and epistemological frameworks governing their activity.

What teaching approaches and materials do they use and how do they use them ?

Beyond the differences regarding context, to what extent can a comparison between pedagogical approaches, professional hardships and resources be enlightening ?

5) Investigating moral and citizen education and the teaching of religions in a comparative international perspective: theoretical frameworks, methods and obstacles

Given the diversity of the education systems, analyzing the methodology used by researchers to deal with their subject in the various contexts is an essential dimension of any comparative approach.

We shall also examine the organization of the scientific field in this area and the researchers’ working conditions : field accessibility, funding, dissemination of their findings, high priority or sensitive issues.

Submission guidelines

Papers can be submited in english, german or French

Proposals (title, abstract of about 3000 characters, short bibliography) must be submitted on the platform sciencesCONF.org until April 30 included.

Scientific committee

  • Dominique AVON (Ecole pratique des hautes études/Institut d’étude de l’Islam et des sociétés du monde musulman, Groupe sociétés Religion Laïcité)
  • Elif CAN (École normale supérieure de Lyon /Université Galatasaray-Istanbul, Centre Max Weber)
  • Jean-Charles BUTTIER (Université de Genève, équipe de didactique de l’histoire et de la citoyenneté)
  • Jean-Pierre CHANTIN (Institut supérieur d’étude des religions et de la laïcité, Université Lumière Lyon 2)
  • Sylvia CHIFFOLEAU (Centre National de la Recherche scientifique, Laboratoire de Recherche Historique Rhône-Alpes)
  • Gilles COMBAZ (Université Lumière Lyon 2, Laboratoire Éducation Cultures Politiques) 
  • Martine COHEN (Centre National de la Recherche scientifique, Groupe Sociétés Religions Laïcité)
  • Nicole DURISCH GAUTHIER (Haute école pédagogique de Lausanne / UER sciences humaines)
  • Marc-André Éthier (Centre de recherche interdisciplinaire sur la formation et la profession enseignante, Université de Montréal)
  • Roseli FISCHMAN (Universidade de São Paulo, Faculdade de educaçao)
  • Régis GUYON (Institut français de l’éducation, École normale supérieure de Lyon)
  • Jürgen HELMCHEN (Université de Münster, Institut Für Erziehungs Wissenschaft, Deutsch-Französische Jugendwerk)
  • Solenn HUITRIC (Université Lumière Lyon 2, Laboratoire Éducation Cultures Politiques) 
  • Sivane HIRSCH (Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, Laboratoire Éducation et diversité en région)
  • Anne-Claire HUSSER (Laboratoire Éducation Cultures Politiques / Institut national supérieur du professorat et de l’éducation, Université Claude Bernard Lyon1)
  • Pierre KAHN (Centre interdisciplinaire normand de recherche en Éducation et Formation Université de Caen)
  • Behnaz KHOSRAVI (Institut national d’études démographiques, Centre Max Weber)
  • Anne LAGNY (École normale supérieure de Lyon, Institut d’Histoire des Représentations et des Idées dans les Modernités)
  • Françoise Lantheaume (Université Lumière Lyon 2, Laboratoire Éducation Cultures Politiques) 
  • Philippe MARTIN (Institut supérieur d’étude des religions et de la laïcité, Université Lumière Lyon 2)
  • Charlène MÉNARD (Laboratoire Éducation Cultures Politiques)
  • Claire RAVEZ (Institut français de l’éducation/ École normale supérieure de Lyon)
  • Julia RESNIK (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Seymour Fox School of Education)
  • Sébastien URBANSKI (Université de Nantes, Centre de recherches en éducation de Nantes )
  • Benoît URGELLI (Université Lumière Lyon 2, Laboratoire Éducation Cultures Politiques) 
  • Füsun ÜSTEL (Université Galatasaray -Istambul, département des sciences politiques) 
  • Gabriela VALENTE (Université Jean Jaurès Toulouse 2, Laboratoire Éducation Cultures Politiques)
  • Chantal VERDEIL (Institut national des langues et civilisations orientales, Centre de recherche Moyen Orient-Méditerranée)
  • Yves VERNEUIL (Université Lumière Lyon 2, Laboratoire Éducation Cultures Politiques) 
  • José-Luis WOLF (Université libre de Bruxelles, Research Centre of Education Sciences)
  • Andrea SZUKALA (Université de Münster, Institut für Politikwissenschaft)


Université Lumière, Lyon 2. November 14, 15, 16, 2022

  • Laboratoire Education Cultures Politiques (ECP)
  • Centre Max Weber (CMW)
  • Franco German Youth Office (FGYO)
  • Institut supérieur d’étude des religions et de la laïcité (ISERL)
  • Institut d'étude de l'Islam et des sociétés du monde musulman (IISMM)
  • Institut français de l’éducation (Ifé), Ecole normale supérieure de Lyon (ENS)
  • Laboratoire de l’éducation (LLE)


  • Université Lumière Lyon 2
    Lyon, France (69)


  • Saturday, April 30, 2022


  • éducation, politique, citoyenneté, enseignement, religion, fait religieux, morale, éducation formelle, éducation informelle


  • Anne-claire HUSSER
    courriel : anne-claire [dot] husser [at] univ-lyon1 [dot] fr

Reference Urls

Information source

  • Anne-claire HUSSER
    courriel : anne-claire [dot] husser [at] univ-lyon1 [dot] fr


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Political education: citizenship, moral training and teaching of religion », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Wednesday, February 16, 2022, https://doi.org/10.58079/1892

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