Deutsch Intern
    Chair of Religious Education

    Religion, Interculturality and Identity


    Prof. Dr. Hans-Georg Ziebertz, Barbara Flunger M.A., Dipl. Theol. und cand. Dipl. Psych. Monika Ringleb, Andrea Betz

    Research Problem

    Germany has become an immigration country over the last decades. Almost nine per cent of the population have a foreign nationality (Federal Statistical Office 2006). Besides that plurality of nations there is also a great variety of religions in Germany. Mainly because of the working immigration from Turkey the Islam is today the third biggest religious group besides the traditional national religions of Catholic and Protestant Christians.
    Therefore intercultural and interreligious interaction is taking place everyday in the society. People with different cultural references communicate with each other. The apparent differences can be seen as a gain of variety and knowledge but they can also cause conflicts e.g. when the religious majority wants to ban Islamic symbols from the public sphere.
    Education in general and especially religious education has to prepare young people to value cultural and religious plurality. Supporting the communication between pupils who are affected by different cultures can help them developing their own identity: The intercultural communication challenges them to define their own point of view and to reflect the influences of their cultural groups concerning this point of view.
    For that reason the research project is developing a curriculum to improve intercultural communication in school classes with pupils affected by different cultures and religions. Pupils will work reciprocally on problems of Gender in Christian and Islamic cultures.

    Research Questions

    The Research follows a quantitative and a qualitative design. The quantitative design analyses attitudes pupils have concerning the perceived foreign culture and religion. Which cognitive attitudes do they offer? Which emotions do they associate with foreign cultures? Which dispositional behaviour do they have? The quasi-experimental design will answer the question whether the curriculum can alter these attitudes in the three dimensions of cognition, emotion and dispositional behaviour.
    The qualitative part of the project is based on a multidimensional dynamic concept of identity (dialogical self). This concept of dialogical self will be examined with the focus on gender identity. Doing-gender processes of girls and boys in cross-cultural interaction will be analysed, in which different concepts of gender identity have some influence. The question will be answered how the students deal with plurality in relation to gender roles.

    Research Aim

    The theoretical aim of the project is to survey models concerning intercultural interaction, identity formation and which function religion has in that field.
    The pedagogical aim of the project is to provide an intercultural curriculum for school education, which is theoretical and empirically verified.





    Two Ph.D.-projects are being realised within the research project:
    One Ph.D.-project focuses on the quantitative aspect of the research. It analyses the effect of the curriculum. How does the curriculum alter the cognitive, affective attitude and the dispositional behaviour concerning the foreign culture and the foreign religion?
    The other Ph.D.-project researches the procedural aspects. It analyses the doing-gender processes during the cross-cultural interaction. How deal the students with plurality in relation to gender roles?


    Herbert, M., Ziebertz, H.-G. (2006), Referenzbereiche für die interkulturelle Interaktion türkischer und deutscher Jugendlicher, in: Pädagogischer Rundschau, 2/2006.
    Ziebertz, H. G. (2001), Interreligiöses Lernen und die Pluralität der Religionen. In: F.Schweitzer, R.Englert, U.Schwab, H.-G.Ziebertz, Entwürfe einer pluralitätsfähigen Religionspädagogik, Gütersloh/Freiburg (Gütersloher Verlagshaus/Herder), 121-143.
    Ziebertz, H. G. (2001), Intercultural learning in a new millenium: Between fundamentalism and relativism. In: Francis L./Astley J./Robbins M. (eds.), The Third Millenium. Education in Religion and Values for a global Future, Dublin (Veritas), 221-238.
    Ziebertz, H. G. (1998), Religiöse Degeneration oder religiöse Vitalität? Die Ausdifferenzierung des religiösen Feldes als Problem für interreligiöses Lernen. In: Lähnemann J. (Hg.), Interreligiöse Erziehung 2000. Die Zukunft der Religions- und Kulturbegegnung. Hamburg (EBV-Rissen), 112-124.
    Ziebertz H,-G., Bakker C. (1989, ed.), mit C.Bakker), Imaginatie en de constructie van identiteit. Visies op religieuze vorming. Tilburg.
    Ziebertz, H. G. (1997), Religionendialog in interkulturellen und interreligiösen Lernprozessen, in: Grözinger A./Lott J. (Hg.), Gelebte Religion. Rheinbach (CMZ Verlag; Reihe: Hermeneutica Bd. 6 -FS G. Otto), 73-95.