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Empire to nationhood: heroism in natural disaster stories for children

Empire to nationhood: heroism in natural disaster stories for children Purpose – Natural disaster stories narrate unsettling natural events and proffer scripts for social action in the face of unforeseen and overwhelming circumstances. The purpose of this study is to investigate stories of natural disasters recounted for New Zealand school children in the School Journal during its first 100 years of publication. Design/methodology/approach – Content analysis is used to categorise the disaster event and to identify two distinct periods of disaster stories – imperial and national. Textual analysis of indicative stories from each period centres on the construction of social scripts for child readers. Findings – In the imperial period tales of individual heroism and self‐sacrifice predominate, while the national period is characterised by stories of ordinary families, community solidarity and survival. Through this investigation of natural disaster stories for children, the paper identifies the shifting models of heroic identity offered to New Zealand children through educational texts. Originality/value – This study adds to the existing literature on the School Journal and to the broader study of the history of imperialist and nationalist education in New Zealand. In these times of increased disaster awareness it also draws attention to the significance of disaster narratives in offering social scripts for children to draw on in the event of an actual disaster experience. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png History of Education Review Emerald Publishing

Empire to nationhood: heroism in natural disaster stories for children

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2012 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
0819-8691
DOI
10.1108/08198691211235554
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – Natural disaster stories narrate unsettling natural events and proffer scripts for social action in the face of unforeseen and overwhelming circumstances. The purpose of this study is to investigate stories of natural disasters recounted for New Zealand school children in the School Journal during its first 100 years of publication. Design/methodology/approach – Content analysis is used to categorise the disaster event and to identify two distinct periods of disaster stories – imperial and national. Textual analysis of indicative stories from each period centres on the construction of social scripts for child readers. Findings – In the imperial period tales of individual heroism and self‐sacrifice predominate, while the national period is characterised by stories of ordinary families, community solidarity and survival. Through this investigation of natural disaster stories for children, the paper identifies the shifting models of heroic identity offered to New Zealand children through educational texts. Originality/value – This study adds to the existing literature on the School Journal and to the broader study of the history of imperialist and nationalist education in New Zealand. In these times of increased disaster awareness it also draws attention to the significance of disaster narratives in offering social scripts for children to draw on in the event of an actual disaster experience.

Journal

History of Education ReviewEmerald Publishing

Published: Jun 22, 2012

Keywords: Heroism; Nationhood; Empire; Children; New Zealand; Natural disasters; Educational texts; Social scripts; Individual and community; Communities

References