'Active Citizens' or 'Irresponsible Truants? School Student Strikes Against the War

Cunningham, Steve orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-9835-4242 and Lavalette, Michael (2004) 'Active Citizens' or 'Irresponsible Truants? School Student Strikes Against the War. Critical Social Policy, 24 (2). pp. 255-269. ISSN 0261-0183

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0261018304042002


This article looks at the development of citizenship education within schools and assesses its impact on the school strike wave against the war on Iraq that took place during February and March 2003, in part utilizing interview material drawn from active strikers. Although citizenship, as outlined in the Crick Report, should have welcomed young people’s active engagement with the political process, the overwhelming response of the educational establishment was to castigate and punish those who took part in the strikes. In conclusion, the article argues that the actuality of citizenship classes focuses on individual aspects of responsibility and moral education and had little influence on the engaged ‘active citizens’ who demonstrated against war by walking out of their schools.

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