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Publication Detail
Public Schools, Politics and Associational Culture in England, 1899-1939
  • Publication Type:
  • Authors:
    Whiffin E
  • Date awarded:
  • Pagination:
    1, 331
  • Supervisors:
    Freeman M,Brewis G
  • Status:
  • Awarding institution:
    UCL (University College London
  • Language:
  • Date Submitted:
  • Keywords:
    public school, education, debating, civics education, private education, boarding school, political education
This thesis examines the role of associational culture in helping public school boys develop their political interests in the first half of the twentieth century. This thesis explores two schools in-depth within the wider context of the public school system: Harrow, an elite, conservative, school and Gresham’s, a less prominent but more progressive school. By drawing on two very different schools, this thesis shows the similarities between the schools, as well as their freedom to explore different educational opportunities. Studying associational culture, this thesis explores the development of informal civics education. This is often missed in studies of broader efforts to promote civics education as well as general histories of the curriculum. Associational culture was and is a universal feature of public schools, but the specifics of how this is done varies from school to school. By examining extra-curricular activities, this study is able to explore more experimental methods of engaging with politics than the traditional curriculum was able to provide. The broad period covered also saw many developments in how people engaged in politics, and the boys in these schools demonstrate this. Drawing primarily on the events recorded in the school magazines provides a consistent insight into school life as it was written, as well as how it was portrayed. The material comes from reports on the activities of the societies at the schools. This is primarily from debating societies, which ran throughout this whole period, with varying levels of success, and continue in the present day. New societies were formed at various points during this period, and their arrival into the life of public school boys are explored. Statistical analyses are also used to track trends across this period in order to provide a broader insight into how boys interacted with politics within the school.
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