1st Edition

Mapping the Moral Geographies of Education Character, Citizenship and Values

By Sarah Mills Copyright 2022
    146 Pages
    by Routledge

    146 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book explores the growth of ‘character education’ in schools and youth organisations over the last decade. It delves into historical and contemporary debates through a geopolitical lens.

    With a renewed focus on values and virtues such as grit, gumption, perseverance, resilience, generosity, and neighbourliness, this book charts the re-imagining and re-fashioning of a ‘character agenda’ in England and examines its multiscalar geographies. It explores how these moral geographies of education for children and young people have developed over time. Drawing on original research and examples from schools, military and uniformed youth organisations, and the state-led National Citizen Service, the book critically examines the wider implications of the ‘character agenda’ across the UK and beyond. It does so by raising a series of questions about the interconnections between character, citizenship, and values and highlighting how these moral geographies reach far beyond the classroom or campsite.

    Offering critical insights on the roles of character, citizenship and values in modern education, this book will be of immense value to educationists, teachers and policymakers. It will appeal students and scholars of human geography, sociology, education studies, cultural studies and history.

    1. Introduction  2. Moral Geographies of Childhood, Youth and Education: Learning to be Citizens of Good Character  3. Character Nation: Geographies and Geopolitics of Education in England  4. Grit and Gumption  5. ‘Be Prepared’, ‘Be Resilient’: British Youth Movements and Civil Society  6. ‘The lessons they don’t teach in class’? National Citizen Service and Social Action  7. Character, Citizenship and Values: From National Debates to Global Geopolitics  8. Conclusion


    Sarah Mills is a Reader in Human Geography at Loughborough University, UK. Her research focuses on the geographies of youth citizenship, informal education, and volunteering across contemporary and historical contexts. In 2017, she received the Gill Memorial Award from the Royal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers.

    "The book makes a significant contribution to the scholarship on the geographies of youth and education as well as the role of geopolitics in shaping young people’s everyday lives in both formal and informal education spaces " Dr Yi’En Cheng, National University of Singapore, reviewed in Social & Cultural Geography, 2022

    "Mills’ volume will appeal to students and scholars of human geography, childhood and youth, education, cultural studies and history. It contributes an important geographic dimension to our understanding of neoliberalism and the effects of character education" Professor Jennifer Helgren, University of the Pacific, Stockton, CA, USA, reviewed in History of Education, 2022

    "A fascinating account…useful and highly readable…this ambitious book is to be commended for its rich fieldwork" Dr Jennifer Crane, University of Oxford, reviewed in Children’s Geographies, 2021