Formally equal, but not really: The second stage of an ongoing study into English school students’ perceptions of ‘the citizen’ | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 13, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1751-1917
  • E-ISSN: 1751-1925



This article presents a discussion based primarily upon the findings of the second stage of an ongoing research into school students’ perceptions of ‘the citizen’. The first stage was an analysis of images in textbooks intended for GCSE citizenship studies students aged 14–16, the second stage – a year later – involved interviews with A Level citizenship studies students aged 16–18 and with teachers of citizenship. It was found that the images present a particular and unrepresentative image of ‘being British’, a part of which students appear to absorb into their own perceptions, irrespective of their personal experiences. The homogeneity of responses, across class, ethnicity, gender and professional role struck the researcher as notable and similarities and differences are examined. The images represent a highly selective and distorted version of the reality of being English, one that promotes a false consciousness and acceptance of the status quo, uncovering whether or to what extent that version of reality is accepted by those involved is the purpose of this study. Responses in interviews showed that neither the students nor their teachers subscribed to the message behind the images, and that they had their own versions of the reality of ‘the citizen’.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): citizen; class; ethnicity; gender; students; teachers
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