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Thesis abstracts

This section publishes abstracts from theses in education from Australian tertiary institutions. Abstract information for future editions is welcome. Contributors should forward a copy of their abstract, together with relevant biographic and institutional information, to: The Editor, 'Queensland Researcher', Research Services Branch, Queensland Department of Education, P.O. Box 33, North Quay Q 4002.

Title:From Citizen to Individual: A Study of Changing Influences on Citizenship Education in Queensland from 1966 - 1986.
Author:Alexander, D.E.
Institution:University of Queensland


This study is concerned with educational influences by two social groups in Queensland. The changing influences of the Fundamentalists and the New Class are investigated over a 20 year span from 1966 to 1986. The specific focus is on the curricular effects of their ideologies on the subject Citizenship Education in years 9 and 10 of secondary school (students aged 14 - 15 years). The Fundamentalists have been a powerful force for many years. This is due to the generalizable nature of their ideological tenets and to the existence of a large and receptive rural population in Queensland. The New Class has increased its influence as more people in the workforce have engaged in 'mental work'.

The study uses the sociology of the curriculum as the overarching framework of theory. This enables focus on curriculum as a social artefact. Curriculum is presented as the product both of historical and contemporary social forces. The theoretical ideological bases of the two social groups are elaborated within this framework. These bases are used to help identify the presence of influence by one or both social groups as evidenced by ideologically-oriented contents in curricular materials. Both groups base their positions on widely-known theoretical ideas, such as the literal 'truth' of the Bible for the Fundamentalists, and the belief in progress through technology for the New Class. Liberal ideology welcomes plurality in society. As a consequence, liberalism invites groups to compete for space in the curriculum reflecting their respective interests. Tenets in the ideologies of the Fundamentalists, the New Class and liberalism are specifically identified.

The theoretical bases enable comparison of relative status of the ideology of both groups as reflected in teaching materials produced over the period under study. The comparisons are focused by four contentions which are used to guide the research. These contentions posit: the existence of ideological influences by social groups on Citizenship Education; roles of liberal ideology in curriculum development in this area; shifts in ideological preference by the curriculum developers over the period; and ways by which liberalism sustains competition by social groups seeking access to curriculum in Citizenship Education. These contentions are tested against data from text-books used in Citizenship Education, other documentary materials such as school work programs and syllabuses in Citizenship Education, and interviews with text-book authors. Quantitative and qualitative methods are used in order to gain multiple perspectives on the contentions. The methods are sequenced in such a way that the contentions are progressively refined, or modified after reflection based on findings from each method. They are, in the order implemented: a frequency count of key words in selected textual materials, quantitative content analyses by principal component analysis and by a technique called analysis of concepts in text, interviews, and a study of socio-historical context.

The title of this research, From Citizen to Individual, signals one of the important findings. Citizenship Education in Queensland has changed its orientation from teaching for conformity by citizens to encouraging more individuality. This shift strongly supports the contention that the ideological influence of the New Class has made rapid gains over the period. Other findings show that the Fundamentalist Ideology is waning in its influence on Citizenship Education. Liberal ideology continues to invite social groups to participate in curriculum development. It does this through its beliefs in tolerance and plurality as curriculum ingredients. Conclusions related to the contemporary and possible future positions of the Fundamentalists and the New Class are offered, and are related to changes in the broader socio-political milieu of Queensland. Social curriculum is likely to change in ways consistent with changes in Queensland society, as new demands are made on text-book writers and curriculum developers.

Please cite as: QIER (1987). Thesis abstracts. Queensland Researcher, 3(3), 62-64. http://www.iier.org.au/qjer/qr3/thesis-abs-3-3.html

[ Contents Vol 3, 1987 ] [ QJER Home ]
Created 17 Mar 2008. Last revision: 3 Mar 2013.
URL: http://www.iier.org.au/qjer/qr3/thesis-abs-3-3.html