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Existential configurations: a way to conceptualise people’s meaning-making
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences Education.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4767-5377
2020 (English)In: British Journal of Religious Education, ISSN 0141-6200, E-ISSN 1740-7931, Vol. 42, no 1, p. 25-35Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper introduces existential configuration as a concept possibly used to describe, talk about and discuss peoples’ meaning-making, not least in religious education classrooms. The article builds on an interview study of 21 Swedish young adults from 19 to 29 years of age. Many of these young adults displayed complex methods of meaning-making that challenge some established ways of conceptualising it. Findings showed that the young adults did not all share a single political, philosophical or religious outlook on life. Some had religious beliefs and some did not, but this does not mean that the latter group did not interpret and/or desire to understand their existence. The article argues that a person having any specific outlook on life cannot be assumed if the concept is understood as a cognitive decision in relation to life questions. Based on analysis of empirical material, the article suggests the concept of existential configuration as an alternative way to conceptualise people’s meaning-making. Concepts suggested here are potentially of value for religious educators in helping open classroom dialogue on issues of existential meaning and for enabling deeper understanding of how individuals interpret and understand life in relation to others.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2020. Vol. 42, no 1, p. 25-35
Keywords [en]
Existential configuration, outlook on life, world views, worldviews
National Category
Educational Sciences Philosophy, Ethics and Religion
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-163869DOI: 10.1080/01416200.2018.1556598OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-163869DiVA, id: diva2:1277080
Available from: 2019-01-09 Created: 2019-01-09 Last updated: 2020-01-15Bibliographically approved

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