Citizenship for the future - educating the adolescent in 1960s Australia

Year: 2006

Author: McLeod, Julie

Type of paper: Refereed paper

This paper explores the planning of adolescent subjectivity in Australian education during the 1960s and 70s in relation to citizenship formation. Citizenship encompasses questions about social values and subjectivity - the kind of people adolescents will become. Debates in Australian education during this time convey ambivalence towards modernity and change, with adolescents both exhorted to abide by existing social values, and to embrace the future of changed values. The paper first maps some of the dominant concerns about managing adolescents and their (desirable or lacking) capacities, set against a claimed collapse in social and personal values and the responsibility of schools to prepare adolescents for future citizenship. Second, key ideas that underpinned these debates - notably the future, role and socialization, and forms of reasoning derived from social psychology – are examined from a genealogical or Foucauldian perspective. Finally, the paper, as a part of an attempt to understand the history of the present, briefly raises some questions in relation to contemporary initiatives and concerns about citizenship and social values education.