Forging Identities through Schooling: Tensions and Contradictions between Religious and National Identities in Pakistan

Durrani, Naureen (2007) Forging Identities through Schooling: Tensions and Contradictions between Religious and National Identities in Pakistan. International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, 7 (1). pp. 249-256. ISSN 1447-9532

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This paper presents an exploration of the way Pakistani national identity is represented in the education policy, curriculum and textbooks, revealing that religion, Islam, is used as the chief marker that forms the boundary between Pakistanis and the ‘other’. Imagining Pakistani nation through Islam helps forge unity among diverse ethnic and linguistic groups comprising Pakistan. At the same time this singular national identity serves as an instrument of denial of diversity and internal difference. Furthermore, the overwhelming association of Islamic with Pakistani identity creates tensions and contradictions between the religious and national identity of Pakistanis. The paper starts with a review of current education policy, the grade V curriculum documents and textbooks and then turns to focus on the impact of the curriculum on students’ perceptions of their national identity. The curriculum analysis is organised around two key themes: Religion, Islam, as a key identifier of Pakistani identity and the tensions and contradictions between Muslim nationhood and Pakistani nationhood. The empirical study reported here explores how curriculum texts construct Pakistani identity and the ways in which students understood and described themselves as Pakistani.The data was collected over a period of five months in which four primary state schools in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP), two girls’ and two boys’ schools, one each in a rural and an urban setting, were studied intensively. Within each primary school, class V students’ views were captured through single sex focus groups. The research illustrates the ideological power of the curriculum and school experiences in constructing identities, creating belonging and imagining the nation.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: National Identity, Religious Identity, Curriculum, Representation, Pakistan
Schools and Departments: School of Education and Social Work > Education
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LC Special aspects of education > LC0251 Moral and religious education > LC0321 Religion and education. Education under church control
L Education > LG Individual institutions (Asia. Africa. Oceania) > LG021 Asia > LG060 India. Pakistan. Bangladesh. Burma (Republic of the Union of Myanmar). Sri Lanka. Nepal
Depositing User: Cecilia Kimani
Date Deposited: 08 May 2012 11:25
Last Modified: 28 Jun 2012 15:35
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