In the face of rising concerns about citizenship, national identity, diversity and belonging in Britain today, politicians from all sides of the political spectrum have looked to schools to inspire and invigorate a strong, modern sense of patriotism and common purpose, which is capable of binding people together and motivating citizens to fulfil their obligations to each other and to the state.
In this timely and astute analysis, Michael Hand unpacks the claims made on both sides of the debate to assess whether love of country is a defensible aim of education. Remarking on the curious failure of engagement between defenders and opponents of patriotic education, he looks beyond the usual arguments for and against, to offer original insight into whether teaching patriotic attachment can be defended on rational grounds. Rather than looking merely to the practical difficulties of cultivating common bonds without misrepresenting or distorting the country's history, Hand's tightly argued conclusion is that reasonable disagreement about the desirability of loving one's country rules out the explicit teaching of Patriotism in schools, and therefore, it should not be actively promoted but rather taught as a controversial issue in the classroom.
Breaking new ground in the intellectual debates around teaching citizenship and promoting common patriotic purpose, Patriotism in Schools is an illuminating treatment of a pressing contemporary issue, which will animate and provoke debate amongst parents, teachers, students, academics, politicians and policy-makers alike.