National pride and students' attitudes towards history: An exploratory study

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Abstract

Recent debates about "Britishness" have drawn increasing attention to the inculcation of national values within the school history curriculum. To date, however, few studies have explored young people's attitudes towards history or how these are related to their sources of national pride and shame. This paper draws on a survey of over 400 undergraduates' experiences of secondary education, investigating their attitudes towards the history curriculum and how these relate to their feelings of national pride. Using principal components analysis we found that students' attitudes towards history loaded on to two distinct factors: traditional/conservative and multicultural/liberal. Bivariate correlations then revealed that pride in national sporting and economic achievements and a sense of shame about immigration were positively associated with a traditional attitude towards history. Pride in British civil liberties and social diversity and a sense of shame about racism and UK foreign policy were associated with a multicultural attitude. Theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299-309
Number of pages11
JournalEducational Studies
Volume36
Issue number3
Early online date21 Jan 2010
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2010

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