Dealing with diversity in Muslim schools in Britain

Lahmar, Fella (2012) Dealing with diversity in Muslim schools in Britain. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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This research was designed to explore the ways that Muslim schools are dealing with the tensions arising from the diversity presented to them within their own religious group and how this then shapes individual schools as they operate within a post 9/11 and 7/7 social context.

The work was carried out in six case study schools located within four different geographical contexts in England. Giddens’ notion of “double hermeneutics” informed the theoretical and conceptual frameworks driving the research in its aim to analyse the relationships between structure and agency operating within these schools and to understand them as social phenomena. To a lesser extent, these frameworks were also influenced by Gadamer’s interpretation of the “practical wisdom” concept which is used as a conceptual tool for data analysis.

In setting out to provide a nuanced picture of these schools and explore their trajectories, four traditional theoretical typologies of Islamic education underpinned the analysis. These typologies were identified as important in understanding the dilemmas presented to Muslim schools in constructing themselves as “academically successful institutions” without compromising on their “Islamic ethos”. More so, as these schools deal with the tensions arising from maintaining an Islamic ethos while competing in an era where consumerist parental attitudes and academic achievement in the league tables are important to their future. The critical question that these schools’ leaders are facing is: How can the right balance be struck between “Islamic ethos” and the market dynamics of quality schooling? In resolving this dilemma, the concept of “what constitutes being a good/practising Muslim” was found to be key to how the case study schools managed this balance.

This thesis argues that Muslim schools in Britain are being diversified by a continuously changing process that is shaped by internal factors as they try to balance the everyday dilemmas presented to them with the external factors that impact on them as they compete and operate within a wider educational context. As they grow in experience and confidence in their educational achievements Muslim schools are less influenced by “imported” factors. This then frees them to work on “tailoring” the education they offer more specifically to their own needs and challenges while taking into account and balancing this with their wider British influences. This has implications for those social debates such as multiculturalism, inclusion and exclusion and community cohesion that are now necessarily being influenced by a late modern social context.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Haw, K.F.
Keywords: religious, Islamic, Muslim, Islamic education, Muslim schools, diversity, religious diversity, cohesion, social cohesion, segregation, independent schools, Muslims in Britain,Muslim education,schools of Islamic thought, educational aims, Muslim children, Muslim pupils, Muslim students, multiculturalism, social inclusion, social exclusion, community cohesion, aims of Islamic education
Subjects: L Education > LC Special aspects of education
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > School of Education
Item ID: 13568
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 04 Sep 2013 11:27
Last Modified: 07 Jun 2018 04:23

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