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.

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Abstract

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.

Drawing mainly on school-based interview conversations, peer group talk and some children's written work about a range of fiction, this enquiry adopts an interpretive, case study approach to children's moral responses to fiction. It examines the child's perspective to produce an account of moral imagination in developing readers that illuminates a previously unexplored mode of reading - moral rehearsal - relevant to theories about the development of children's reading, literary response and moral sense. It represents a contribution to the literature on children's literary experience, the empirical study of children's reading and children's moral and spiritual formation.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Supervisors:Thompson, Paul
Uncontrolled Keywords:literacy, literacy research, teacher research, classroom research, qualitative research, children's reading, reading response, moral rehearsal, moral development, spiritual development, phenomenology, psychological development, virtue ethics, internalisation.
Faculties/Schools:UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > School of Education
ID Code:461
Deposited By:Stephen Milne
Deposited On:22 Apr 2008
Last Modified:06 Feb 2009 14:43

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