The Australian Educational Researcher

, Volume 41, Issue 3, pp 227–242 | Cite as

Cosmopolitan tensions: religious diversity in an Australian university

  • Arathi Sriprakash
  • Adam Possamai
  • Ellen Brackenreg


This paper examines ideas of cosmopolitanism, particularly social theorists’ interests in a cosmopolitan ‘disposition’, to consider how religiously diverse students experience campus life in a multi-faith Australian university. We draw on data from focus-group interviews conducted with students from Muslim, Christian, Spiritual, and Atheist student-groups to contribute empirical insights into theoretical debates about cosmopolitanism. We show how students understand religious relations in a university campus in multiple ways; moving back and forth between relations of religious openness and tension in different institutional scenarios. In light of these findings, we reflect on the possibilities of fostering ‘cosmopolitan religiosity’ in higher-education settings and demonstrate the limits of a liberal multicultural approach to religious diversity.


Religious diversity Cosmopolitanism Higher-education Multiculturalism 


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Copyright information

© The Australian Association for Research in Education, Inc. 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arathi Sriprakash
    • 1
  • Adam Possamai
    • 2
  • Ellen Brackenreg
    • 2
  1. 1.Faculty of Education and Social WorkUniversity of SydneyDarlingtonAustralia
  2. 2.University of Western SydneyBankstownAustralia

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