• Educating Britain? Political Literacy and the Construction of National History

      Brocklehurst, Helen; Swansea University (John Wiley and Sons, 2014)
      Despite the reflexive nature of historical enquiry and the degree of national interconnectness now theorized by historians in the United Kingdom, education debates over history teaching in Britain often yield a comforting defence of Britain's 'island story'. The singular 'island story' is an economical narrative device favoured by politicians and further mediated through newspapers which profit from such national cryogenics. Maintenance of a currency, or crisis, of Britishness can also be contrasted with the relative absence of longitudinal or comparative enquiry into identity and school curricula. In addition, the teaching of states, connections and post-sovereign communities is largely under-theorized, potentially contributing to the sterility of future debates about citizenship, agency and Britain’s wider political reach. It is argued here that the public framing of history as nationhood and the underdevelopment of children’s political literacy are mutually reinforcing conditions by which the state has constructed a stabilizing, yet shifting presence of the ‘national’.