Research Project: Children in Minority Religions: A Critical Discourse Analysis

Project leader
Irene Gilsenan Nordin
Project Members
Project Period
Project Status
Children’s literature throughout the ages has played an important role as a source of enjoyment and as a tool in developing the imaginative skills of young readers, and, from an educational viewpoint, in the development of reading skills and the acquisition of language. Children’s literature is central in teaching the cultural codes of society as well as its traditions (Harris 1990) and is instrumental from an ethical viewpoint, in introducing its readers to moral and religious values (Gosa 1977; Jalongo 2004; Lamme 1996; Edgington 2002). This project focuses on the role of children’s literature in the construction of identity. The aim of the project is to examine: a) motifs and themes found in children’s literature of some religious minority groups; b) the ways in which children’s literature supports socialization to minority groups values; c) literature’s role in the construction of the child’s cultural identity. For this study three groups have been chosen: the Catholic church, Livets Ord and Jehovah Witnesses. The method will be comparative between the three groups. The material consists of books for children up to 12 years, as well as teacher guidance books for teaching. The project will use as its theoretical framework the methodology of critical discourse analysis (Fairclough & Holes 1995). This method draws on the theories of Michel Foucault, regarding the relationships between power, knowledge and discourse, examining how practices are shaped and enacted in discourse (Foucault 1972). It examines the ideologies and power relations, but also how social practices are discursively shaped, particularly with regard to the content of texts, and how social practices in turn affect discourse (Fairclough 2001).
barnlitteratur; identitetsskapande; samhällets kulturella koder, Children’s literature; minority religions; cultural codes
Research Profile
Intercultural Studies
Högskolan Dalarna