School festivals, collective remembering and social cohesion: A case study of changes in Norwegian school culture
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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OriginalversjonHaakedal, E. (2009). School festivals, collective remembering and social cohesion: A case study of changes in Norwegian school culture. Journal of Religious Education, 57(3), 46-55.
How does a particular Norwegian primary school community interact while preparing and carrying through the festivals of Advent/Christmas, Easter and the National Day at the end of the first decade of the 21st century? Particularly, what is the relationship between the Principal and involved staff members regarding the school’s festival culture? How may possible changes in the school’s festival culture be interpreted and tentatively explained? A number of collective assemblies as well as lessons of religion and life view education were observed over a period of two years, and staff members were interviewed. Observations of festival assemblies over a period of nearly twenty years are included as a comparative context. The school’s collective festival periods are analysed by references to theories of collective memory. Contrasting and shared interests of school and ‘church’, of leaders, staff and cultural majorities and minorities are discussed. As for the school of the case study, the keeping up of the identity of its cultural majority group was concretized through ‘weak’ commemorative ceremonies. The festival periods were handled through current negotiations between actively involved members of both school and faith organisations. A final comment to the results of the study deals with the continued, though weakened, hegemonic character of the case school’s festival culture and its possible interactions with social cohesion processes.
Accepted version of an article in the journal: Journal of Religious Education. Published version not available online.