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Fostering Spirituality in Late Modernity: Brahma Kumaris in the UK

Funding: Arts and Humanities Research Board
Amount: £40,596
Duration: 2001-2002
Researchers: Dr Eleanor Nesbitt, Dr Elisabeth Arweck

In a context of increasing public awareness of spirituality, of the statutory requirement that schools facilitate pupils’ spiritual development, and of scholarly debate about values education and citizenship education, this study was the first of two designed to explore values education programmes, associated with two religious movements, that are in use in some UK schools.

It was also the first investigation of the organised promotion of spirituality by the Brahma Kumaris (the BKs are a Hindu-related New Religious Movement or NRM) in the UK, with special reference to young people. Fieldwork took place primarily in schools and in BK Centres. The study succeeded in situating the BKs’ Living Values Programme in a complex network of related initiatives. The project investigated how the programme originated, developed and how it is introduced into schools in England and is currently being used by some teachers.

Key publications: Arweck, Elisabeth and Nebitt, Eleanor (2004) Living Values: An Educational programme: From Initiative to Uptake, British Journal of Religious Education, 26(2), 133-149.
Arweck, Elisabeth and Nesbitt, Eleanor (2004) Values Education: The Development and Classroom Use of an Educational Programme, British Educational Research Journal, 30(2), 245-61.
Arweck, Elisabeth and Nesbitt, Eleanor (2003) Researching a New Interface between Religions and Publicly Funded Schools in the UK International Journal for Children's Spirituality, 8(3), 239-254.