Hefner Publishes Book Chapter on Character Education in Modern Societies

Robert HefnerProfessor of Anthropology and of International Relations at the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University, published a chapter in the newly released book The Impact of Education: Character Formation, Ethical Education, and the Communication of Values in Late Modern Pluralistic Societies.

The book was the product of international collaboration on civic education and the challenge of public ethics in modern pluralist societies. In this work, authors Michael Welker and John Witte, Jr. aim to address the respective impacts of the market and of religion on character formation, ethical education, and the communication of values in late modern pluralistic societies. The project provides a systematic account of the role of these powerful normative codes operating in the social spheres of law, religion, the family, the market, the media, science and technology, academic research, health care, and military defense in the late modern liberal West.

Hefner’s chapter – “Character Socialization and Diversity in Modern Democracies Today” – addresses questions of character education in modern societies. According to him, efforts to build a sustainable consensus on both character education and citizenship have been made more difficult by two contemporary trends: the growing ethical-religious plurality found in most late modern societies, and the rise of new norms of social mediation and mobilization that, rather than bridging pluralities through the construction of an overlapping consensus, instrumentalize and exacerbate ethical and social differences for the purpose of commercial and or political gain.

Read more about the book on the Canopy Forum’s website.

Robert Hefner has directed 19 research projects and organized 18 international conferences, and authored or edited nineteen books. He is the former president of the Association for Asian Studies. At CURA, he directed the program on Islam and civil society since 1991; coordinated interdisciplinary research and public policy programs on religion, pluralism, and world affairs; and is currently involved in two research projects: “The New Western Plurality and Civic Coexistence: Muslims, Catholics, and Secularists in North America and Western Europe”; and “Sharia Transitions: Islamic Law and Ethical Plurality in the Contemporary World.” Read more about Professor Hefner on his faculty profile