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Representing self-in-society: education for citizenship and the social-subjects curriculum in Scotland

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The documented social-subjects curricula for Scottish 5-16 year olds are analysed for representations of 'self-in-society'. Such representations are important in Scotland because it is expected that the new Education-for-Citizenship framework will in part be delivered through the social subjects. However, citizenship education is also relevant throughout the UK and beyond and our analysis of the social subjects has wider relevance. An ideal-type analysis was used on documents including national guidelines, examination syllabuses, examination papers, and assessor instructions. Our analysis suggests that in these documents: the self is seen as an abstract; people are understood by category; society is the sum of discrete institutions; self-in-society is fully defined; and this representation of society is not contested. This representation becomes increasingly exclusive with age/ability and may be linked to assumed modes of curricular division, teaching and assessment. We discuss how this overall picture might affect students' sense of 'agency' in the light of citizenship education. We conclude that the social-subjects' curricular representation of self-in-society may not fully support the Scottish Education-for-Citizenship framework.
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Keywords: citizenship education; curriculum; examination; self-actualization; socialization; tests

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2007-06-01

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