Guillaume Silhol

Religion as a Profession and as a Vocation: Constructing Competences and Legitimizing Catholic Religious Education Teachers

  • Abstract

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Keywords: Religious Education; Career; Roles; Precariousness.

This article is based on a research on Catholic Religious Education teachers in Italian State schools and their careers, mainly through in-depth interviews and observations in Piedmont. The aim is to analyse how religious identity is intertwined with and evolves according to self-definition in professional terms and constraints to alternate between conformity to the religious institution and the role of a teacher. In the first typical phase of a career, 'religious culture' is constructed as an individual competence in conformity with specific means of institutional control. In the second typical phase, the Religious Education teacher tends to identify to the role of a colleague in a school, to downplay confessional discourse and to emphasise their own precariousness. This logic leads to an eventual third phase of reconversion, stressing the broader issue of costs and gratifications in reconverting one's professional dispositions in religious terms as well as the opposite.

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