The paper outlines recent debates over the use of learning about the past. The past decade has seen ‘culture wars’ raging in the United States, Europe and elsewhere over how the cultural world should be represented to young people in the course of their formal education.
On the one side are those who have argued that in societies which are increasingly uncertain, diverse, and subject to rapid change, it is more important than ever to transmit a positive and celebratory vision of national culture, and to develop a sense of identity and community which all citizens can share and commit to (see, for example, Cheney, 1995,Tate, 1996). Against them are ranged those arguing for an education that develops the critical faculties of young people, which questions the idea of ‘the canon’, and which aims to cultivate the digital, information and democratic literacy of young people (see for example, Lee, 2007, Grever and Stuurman, 2007, Seixas, 2007).
The paper situates this debate in the context of recent research of the perspectives of young people about the form and purpose of their cultural education.
|Keywords:||Information Literacy, Cultural Education, Culture Wars, Democratic Education, The Canon in Education|
Reader in Education, School of Education and Lifelong Learning, University of East Anglia, Norwich, Norfolk, UK
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