“We Are Part of a Modern Society”: The Construction and Expression of the Orthodox Reformed Identity of the Gomarus Scholengemeenschap Gorinchem in the Dutch Society
Berg, Bernadette van den
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The Dutch law concerning freedom of education is often debated in popular discourses. Studies about independent education in the Netherlands argue that the identity of these ‘independent schools’ is often developed and profiled extensively but is not the same as the expression of identity of the individuals in and around the schools. Studies do not agree on what the public place of religion is in the Netherlands as it is discussed whether the Netherlands can be seen as a secular country or rather as postsecular. With this thesis I will contribute to these studies by researching a specific case study as an example of the public space of religion, Orthodox Reformed Christian education. I will do this by focussing on what it means for the Gomarus Scholengemeenschap in Gorinchem to be explicitly Christian in the Netherlands through analysing this school through its policy plan, the guide for students, and by interviewing ex- pupils of these schools. By using a lived religion approach and a method of discourse analysis and interviews, the aim of this thesis is to provide an extensive analysis of how the Gomarus Scholengemeenschap is positioned in a secular country like the Netherlands. I answer the research question of how and to what extent Dutch society is of influence on the construction and expression of identity of the Gomarus Scholengemeenschap in Gorinchem. I argue that the view of society on the Gomarus is of little influence on the construction of identity by the Gomarus Scholengemeenschap, even though there is an influence on the expression of identity.