Shakespeare valued: policy, pedagogy and practice in English education, 1989-2009

Olive, Sarah Elizabeth (2011). Shakespeare valued: policy, pedagogy and practice in English education, 1989-2009. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.


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This thesis examines the value of Shakespeare in the domains of policy, pedagogy and practice in English education from 1989 to 2009. Rather than seeking to evaluate his worth, it focuses, in particular, on the processes, institutions and discourses through which his value is constructed. The early chapters establish a lack of existing, critical, interdisciplinary research into Shakespeare in education; offer an overview of the historic context leading up to the playwright’s establishment in the National Curriculum for English as its only compulsory author; and review his place in the education policy of Conservative and Labour governments during the past two decades. Later chapters investigate the value of Shakespeare as constructed in three distinct pedagogies (literary-critical, active methods, and contextual); the inter-relation of his value as constructed in the curriculum, theatre and heritage education departments, popular culture, and academia. It argues that Shakespeare’s tenacity in holding onto a premier position in English education derives largely from the diverse, dispersed, yet interconnected, representations of his value.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of English, Drama and American & Canadian Studies, The Shakespeare Institute
Funders: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Subjects: L Education > LA History of education
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0441 Literary History
P Language and Literature > PR English literature


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