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The relationship between national identity and geographical knowledge in English children

By Martyn Barrett and Stephen Whennell

Abstract

<p>This study investigated the relationship between English children's geographical knowledge of the United Kingdom and their sense of national identity. 101 English children aged between 5 and 11 years old, and their parents, participated in the study. The children's geographical knowledge was assessed using a series of tasks designed to measure landmark and configurational knowledge, and their sense of national identity was assessed using a relative subjective importance task and a self-categorisation task. Parental patriotism was assessed using a parental questionnaire. It was found that the children's geographical knowledge increased with age, and that the boys had higher levels of geographical knowledge than the girls. The children's age and gender identities were more important to them than their national identities at all ages. However, the British identity did become more important with age, while the English identity exhibited a U-shaped relationship with age. It was found that the children's geographical knowledge was correlated with their feelings of Englishness and Britishness when age was partialled out. Parental patriotism was also positively correlated with the subjective importance of the children's British and English identities when age was partialled out. However, parental patriotism was not correlated with the children's geographical knowledge. </p

Year: 1998
OAI identifier: oai:epubs.surrey.ac.uk:1620

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