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Title: Social remembering and children's historical consciousness
Author: Todd, Jason
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2016
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This study explores how young people's engagement with history outside of the classroom shapes the development of their historical consciousness. Drawing on public discourses around the First World War (WW1), I address the implications of this engagement for history teachers and young peoples' learning. Recognising the active and dynamic construction of memory and meaning by young people, I develop the concept of social remembering. Building on socio-cultural perspectives, I examine the 'lived experience' of young people's memory work. Using WW1 as a context, and adopting an innovative mixed methods approach, the research was conducted over two stages. The first stage of the research used a quiz and survey to explore the extent and nature of young people's social remembering. In the second stage of the study I examined young people's memory work outside the classroom. I worked with several small groups of students to construct their own ethnographic accounts of societal and familial remembering and their emerging historical consciousness, fashioning these into ethnographic portraits. The research highlights the role that social remembering plays in young people's identities, including the ways in which they value and use history, attribute historical significance to events and orientate themselves in time. It shows how different forms of social remembering can both include or exclude young people and impact positively or negatively on young people's historical consciousness. An understanding of social remembering outside the classroom can support history teachers in the development of pedagogies that build on students' meaning making associated with public events such as commemorations. I argue that teachers can use the intersections between social remembering and disciplinary history to engage and support students in their study of history. Although the study originated within the context of history education, it has wider value, offering a ground breaking methodological approach to exploring young people's understandings of the past and in contributing to the historiography of historical memory.
Supervisor: Burn, Katharine ; Mills, David Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: history education ; ethnographic portraits ; young people ; First World War ; identity ; Historical consciousness ; social memory