Public debate in Ireland and elsewhere frequently assumes a neat division between theocentric and non-confessional RE. This division is represented, if not promoted, in the Irish context by the dominant Catholic and increasingly popular Educate Together movements. Based on extensive research with 7-8 year olds, this paper demonstrates the hidden complexity of children┐s learning (about) religion across urban, suburban, town and rural contexts. This complexity is revealed by examining the situatedness of children┐s religious beliefs and knowledge within their wider social worlds. This wider world includes their relationships to peers, mass media, the child consumer market, and significant adults such as teachers, parents and religious authorities.
The data is taken from an Irish Research Council-funded study entitled Making Communion: Disappearing and Emerging Forms of Childhood in Ireland.