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Complex twists of becoming: debates about elementary education in English periodicals, 1833 -1880

Powell, Edwin P (2020) Complex twists of becoming: debates about elementary education in English periodicals, 1833 -1880. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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This thesis investigates the tension between traditional and progressive educational ideas and practices expressed in fictionalised representations and non-fiction discourses in English periodicals from 1833 to 1880. The nature and purpose of elementary education featured prominently and constantly in periodicals throughout the nineteenth-century. However, relatively little scholarly attention has been given to the important role of periodicals as a medium for exploring educational issues in Victorian England. My thesis aims to contribute to filling that gap. By drawing on different kinds of periodicals, ranging from the major quarterly reviews to specialist journals aimed at teachers, I show how we can extend our understanding of the social and cultural history of elementary education for working-class and middle-class children. Periodicals, whose reach and influence extended across the spectrum of English society, created a new cultural space for debates about elementary education in the public and private spheres. My research demonstrates how and why debates about elementary education were shaped and developed into a coherent and meaningful movement by the periodical press from 1833 to 1880. I argue that competing religious preferences progressed the extension of elementary education for working-class children but resisted 'progressive' or 'liberal' models of early education. Exceptionally, Methodism was socially progressive, promoting gender equality in education and an aspirational culture where knowledge acquisition was concerned. I show that periodicals were eminently influential in promoting and facilitating household education and domestic pedagogies as an alternative to formal, institutionalised versions. I hope that this investigation of periodical culture and elementary education will initiate further enquiries on the subject.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Nineteenth-century periodicals, debates, elementary education, progressive, traditional, household education, domestic pedagogies, public institutions, literary-historical, social-cultural
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities > Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, Department of
Depositing User: Edwin Powell
Date Deposited: 28 Feb 2020 15:14
Last Modified: 23 Jun 2020 14:41

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