Elizabeth Frazer and Ken Macdonald  Sex Differences in Political Knowledge in Britain’  in Political Studies vol 51 67-83 March 2003

This paper analyses, and examines the interpretation of, sex differences in political knowledge as measured in the context of nationally representative British surveys.  The paper discusses the construction and operationalisation of ‘knowledge’ measures in survey research.  British survey research finds striking sex differences in scores on political knowledge items.  The inclusion of contextual variables, and of interactions between sex and other relevant variables, attenuates but does not eliminate consistent sex differences.

'Citizenship Education: Anti-Political Culture and Political Education in Britain' Political Studies vol 48 pp88-103 2000.

The British Government white paper 'Excellence in Schools' and the subsequent report of the Advisory Group on Citizenship Education for Citizenship recommend that schools educate pupils in citizenship and democracy. This recommendation is considered in the context of reasons why there has traditionally been no formal or well articulated political education in schools. Among these reasons a pervasive antipathy to politics and to government is identified as one of the most powerful. This antipathy is expressed from the left and the right wings of the political spectrum, and the 'critical' opposition to both, as well as from interests such as those defending professional and personal autonomy. These arguments imply that 'politics' is optional, not a set of practices and institutions with which individuals must be familiar. It is argued here that this proposition cannot be valid.  

ญญญญญญญญญญญญญญญญญ' "Probably the most public occasion the world has ever known": public and private in press coverage of the death and funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales' in Journal of Political Ideologies vol 5 pp201-223, 2000.

This paper presents analysis of the distinctions between public and private life that were drawn and reflected upon in the London press coverage of the death and funeral of Diana Princess of Wales (died August 31 1997). This corpus is notable because journalists and other commentators had unprecedented opportunity and incentive to reflect, in print, on how and where the line between public and private ought to be drawn. In so doing their efforts served to expose more clearly the difficult, controversial and fuzzy nature of this distinction. The corpus is also notable because it contains considered accoutns of the nature of public life, the role of 'the public', and the constitution of political rule in Britain. The material therefore prompts analytic reflection on the concept 'public'. It is here suggested that within the context of normative political theory 'reflexivity' must be a key component of 'publicity'. The analysis also shows how in discursive genres such as broadsheet print journalism a variety of contrasting and inconsistent conceptual analyses and social theories can be integrated. To some degree these destabilise the meanings of public and private that liberal and conservative commentators deploy; to some degree they fail to do this. Discourse, it seems, can contain contradiction without much discomfort.


'Introduction: the idea of political education' special issue Oxford Review of Education vol. 25, 1999. pp.5-22.

This article considers the current context for renewed concern about 'political education' worldwide and in the UK. The concept 'political education' is analysed, as are normative and positive questions about the relationship between education and political outcomes. The article goes on to consider the history of and reasons for UKexceptionalism as regards this aspect of educational policy - explanations for British antipathy to political education are sought in aspects of British political institutions and political culture.

Nicholas Emler and Elizabeth Frazer 'Politics: the education effect' special issue Oxford Review of Education vol.25 pp.251-274. 1999

This article explores in some detail published research exploring the associations between aspects of education (knowledge and skill acquisition, attitude formation, credential acquisition, participation in networks and institutions) and political outcomes such as participation, partisan choice and political identity. Correlated effects models, direct effects models, and relative effects models are considered in turn. Particular attention is paid to the relative effects of network position. Some notable gaps in the research literature are identified, notably regarding citizens' understanding of the nature of political processes.


 Elizabeth Frazer and Nicola Lacey  "Politics and the Public in Rawls' Political Liberalism" Political Studies, vol 43 1995 pp 233-247

This paper is a critical discussion of a number of related themes in John Rawls' Political Liberalism. First, it considers whether Rawls' recent statement of his position proceeds from an adequate methodology for political theory. In particular, it questions whether Rawls has succeeded in accommodating both universalist, analytic and paricularist, interpretive aspects of the political theoretical enterprise. Second, it engages in critical analysis of the conceptions of the political and the public which lie at the core of Rawls' theory. In this part of the paper, an important though not exclusive focus will be certain questions raised by Susan Moller Okin and other feminist critics of Rawls about the internal consistency of his conception of justice. It is argued that Political Liberalism neither addresses these questions explicitly nor, contrary to Okin's view, provides implicit conceptual tools which could allow a sympathetic interpreter of Rawls to do so. The direction of the argument will suggest certain preconditions for the devleopment of a more substantively and methodologically adequate approach to political theory.


"Feminist Talk and Talking about Feminism: teenage girls' discourses of gender". Oxford Review of Education vol 15 1989

In this paper I compare talk about class and gender by public school girls (who classified themselves as upper class and whose parents are in socio-economic class I and/or are landowners) and comprehensive schools girls whose parents are in socioeconomic class III. The comprehensive schools girls had no clear concepts or categorisations of their own class position. Girls in both schools shared a diagnosis and set of grievances about the injustices and dilemmas of girlhood. However, the extent to which they used feminist categories and their contentment with these categories varied markedly - the public schools girls being notably more uncomfortable. I analyse and theorise these differences as discursive, rather than psychological or purely sociological. This analysis highlights the importance of self-conscious and critical discursive practice by educators and pupils in the educational setting.  


Cameron,Deborah; Frazer,Elizabeth (1989): "Knowing What to Say: the Construction of Gender in Linguistic Practice". In: Social Anthropology and the Politics of Language. Sociological Review Monograph 36. (Ed: Grillo,Ralph) Routledge, London

In this paper we address the problem of how what people say should be taken to relate to what they mean and/or the truth about their condition. We consider the particular problem of how to interpret and account for apparent contradiction in informants' accounts to researchers. This has been an issue of particular significance in studies of gender and class consciousness, and this paper draws on a study in which the researcher recorded talk about gender, class and race produced by girls from a number of different social groups.

"Teenage Girls Talking About Class". Sociology Vol 22 1988

Here I present extracts from discussion about 'class' by teenage girls from working class, upper working/lower middle, and upper middle/upper class backgrounds. The data demonstrate the variation in the salience of class for girls from these different groups. This finding stands in contrast to the finding from the same research project that for all girls 'gender' is highly salient. The material also underpins an argument about research method. There are ambiguities in the girls' talk about class, which raises two issues: first, there is the question of how we interpret ambiguous talk; second, there is the issue of our responsibilities to our informants, who are made aware by the research process that they put forward ambiguous or even contradictory views, and are discomfited by this knowledge

"Teenage Girls Reading Jackie". Media Culture and Society vol 9 1987

In this paper I present empirical data - the transcripts of discussion among seven groups of girls about a photostory from Jackie magazine, and about Jackie and other girls' magazines like it. The data are used to underpin an argument about the use of the concept 'ideology' in social theory and research. Critics complain that the theory of ideology is typically ill-specified and vague, and I discuss these criticisms. Where 'ideology' is more tightly specified, on the other hand, it predicts a certain sort of relationship between readers and the texts which are said to be bearers of ideological meaning and is taken as an explanation of people's beliefs and behaviour. A more or less passive reader is depicted. My data shows that, on the contrary, readers take a critical stand vis a vis texts. This theoretical discussion also underpins some remarks about social research method.


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