Fiction, children's voices and the moral imagination: a case study
Milne, Stephen (2008) Fiction, children's voices and the moral imagination: a case study. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.
The importance of stories in educating the moral imagination of the child provides the context for this thesis, which explores children's responses to the moral dimension of fiction. Studies in narrative psychology, literary theory and children's responses to reading also provide the empirical and theoretical background for this qualitative enquiry that compares a number of developing readers' responses to fiction in a school and classroom context. Focusing on the features that distinguish their responses to questions about moral choice and virtue in a range of stories, the thesis explores a mode of response to fiction called moral rehearsal. It identifies a range of strategies children adopt to explore and evaluate the moral world of narrative texts such as the use of moral touchstones, alternative narratives and dramatisation. It presents an original application of philosophical anthropology to the data in order to distinguish between what I call mimetic and diegetic rehearsal in children's responses. This phenomenological interpretation suggests the ways in which narratives contribute to the constitution of consciousness in the child.
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