A picture made up of different elements

A picture made up of different elements

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately – not thinking for my doctorate, but thinking about my doctorate. It’s not often one has the opportunity to devote such a lengthy amount of time to any one project as you do in a program of doctoral study, and it is a privilege to do so; of course, I often get really annoyed about the fact that I am not going to be able to do the doctorate at the level that I want to – it’s never going to be as good as I want it to – but I still have enjoyed the process, and I hope I have contributed a defensible piece of knowledge to the great ocean of Social Science.

Anyway, that’s not what I was talking about: instead, and this might seem a little bit backward, I am beginning to draw together some of my disparate threads in my doctorate in order to find a way that they all work together. Like I said, this might be something that I should have done earlier, but I feel that I kind of had to throw myself into the work wholly before I could really try to draw out any commonalities between the different fields. So what does it look like? Well, here are the things that I’ve studied: Critical Theory, Critical Pedagogy (inc Popular Education), Active Citizenship and Citizenship Education, Youth Participatory Action Research, Social Capital, Social Media and the Maker Movement and probably a lot more, now that I think about it.

However, if I was to try to draw it all into some kind of framework, this might be what it would look like…

The purpose of citizenship education should be to develop active citizenship amongst young people. However, such a development is not easy – it is fraught with challenges. It depends on the social and cultural capital that an individual student brings to this education (which is dependent on things like family, socio-economic status, experiences, memberships etc) as well as the way that the citizenship education program endeavours to develop that social capital – that is, by building connections between the students in the program of education but also with other community groups. This development of social capital effects students identify – they perceive themselves (at least in certain situations and in certain company) as being capable of change – change agents, if you will. So how do we best build social capital? We need to use ideas from things like the maker movement and community building and examples like NorthCott Narratives…

This is a starting point. More to follow here.