Human Security and Citizenship in Finnish Religious Education: Rethinking Security Within the Human Rights Horizon

  • Gabriel O. Adebayo
  • Jan-Erik Mansikka


This paper discusses citizenship in Finnish religious education (RE) in relation to human security. It traces the characteristics of human security that connect citizenship, religion, and education in Finnish policy documents. The article focuses on basic education (grades 7–9). Its data were analyzed employing qualitative content analysis (QCA). The findings indicate that citizenship in Finnish RE entails personal security concerns dealing with psychological and human rights issues. These are found to be essentially human security as conceptualized by the United Nations (UN). However, Finnish policy documents sparingly utilize human security in explicit terms. Finland rather emphasizes the practical applications of human security. Incorporation of explicit global citizen and human rights issues into RE in the new Finnish curriculum seems to project critical global citizenship. This is found to promote human security. Following Finland’s bid for practical application of human security, we recommend (but cautiously) that human security be explicitly integrated into the Finnish RE curriculum.


Citizenship Curriculum Diversity Human rights Human security Religious education 



We thank our highly valued anonymous reviewers, the Editor-in-Chief of this journal and Dr. Robert Whiting for their efforts and comments on this paper. The original research ideas relating to the relationship between security and citizenship in Finnish RE that eventually brought about this article were presented by the first and corresponding author of this article in “Changing Subjects, Changing Pedagogies: Diversities in School and Education” conference held in Helsinki (Finland) on the May 27–29, 2015 and in “Shifting Borders in Religious Education” conference held in Tartu (Estonia) on the June 15–18, 2015. Appreciations to the two conference participants whose comments (on the presentations) eventually became the initial feedback on this study. We also thank the relevant personnel in the Language Services of the University of Helsinki for their efforts. This paper would not have attained this status without the resourcefulness of all these persons.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018
corrected publication April/2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Education, Faculty of Educational SciencesUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  2. 2.Nordic Centre of Excellence and Justice through Education, Faculty of Educational SciencesUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland

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