Lights, Camera, Civic Action! Film as a pedagogical tool for the teaching and learning of social justice-orientated citizenship education.


Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Citizenship education in England is largely based on a deficit model of young people that positions them as compliant economic subjects rather than active agents of change (Olser and Starkey, 2003; Kisby, 2017; Weinberg and Flinders, 2018). Furthermore, provision for citizenship education has been described as inadequate, ineffective, sterile and lacking in pedagogical innovation (Turner, 2009; Garratt and Piper, 2012; Kerr et al., 2010). This study addresses the question: how can short animated film be used as a pedagogical tool for the teaching and learning of social justice-orientated citizenship education? Within the study, social justice-orientated citizenship education is conceptualised within a framework consisting of four constitutive elements: agency; dialogue; criticality; and emancipatory/ transformative knowledge. As part of the enquiry, a film-based social justice-orientated citizenship education programme (Lights, Camera, Civic Action!) was designed and organically developed with twelve Year 5 children during the Spring, Summer and Autumn Terms of 2018. An intrinsic case study (Stake, 1995; 2005) was employed as the strategy of enquiry with the preferred qualitative methods of data collection being focus group interviews, participant observations and the visual and technical documents created by the children. Thematic Analysis was used as the analytical method for identifying and reporting themes found through the codification of data sets (Braun and Clarke, 2006; Castlebury and Nolen, 2018). The research is underpinned by a social-constructivist positionality that views children as meaning-makers, social actors and active participants in their own right (Gibson, 2012; Khoja, 2016). The findings from the study suggest that short animated film can be used as a medium for children’s meaning-making around social justice issues; as a stimulus for dialogic engagement; and as a vehicle for developing children’s critical consciousness.
Date of Award8 Jan 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Edge Hill University
SupervisorFIONA HALLETT (Director of Studies), FRANCIS FARRELL (Supervisor) & MARY MCATEER (Supervisor)


  • citizenship education
  • film pedagogy
  • social Justice education
  • education
  • pedagogy
  • social justice
  • dialogic pedagogy
  • child-centred research
  • critical pedagogy
  • social constructivism
  • thematic analysis

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