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Mediatizing Childhood Religion: the BBC, John G. Williams, and Collective Worship for Schools in England, c.1940-1975

Parker, Stephen (2015) Mediatizing Childhood Religion: the BBC, John G. Williams, and Collective Worship for Schools in England, c.1940-1975. Paedagogica Historica: International Journal of the History of Education, 51 (5). pp. 614-630. ISSN Print: 0030-9230 Online: 1477-674X

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As part of its stated mission to Christianise Britain, from its earliest years the BBC broadcast religious programmes intended for a child audience. Directed at sites domestic and educational, these broadcasts constituted a means of the mediatisation of religion for children. This paper explores the work of the pioneer children’s religious broadcaster John G. Williams, the nature and character of childhood religion and its nurture espoused by him whilst at the BBC, and as an educationist in the years following the 1944 Education Act. Setting a close reading of Williams’ views on childhood religion and school worship alongside those of a later critique, from the religious educationist John Hull in his School Worship: An Obituary (1975), this article argues that the differences between these two religious educators illustrate fracture lines occurring between religious education in the home, school and broadcast spaces in the long 1960s. Additionally, the historical evidence presented here provides a nuanced understanding of mediatisation as a process, indicating that other social processes in any national context, for example de-Christianisation in the English one, disrupt media logic. Finally, further research is called for on the historical intersections of religious education, and schools and religious broadcasting, as well as the more recent effects of broadcast collective worship in mediatising religion for children.

Item Type: Article
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Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: childhood, religious broadcasting, religious education, collective worship, mediatisation
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
Divisions: College of Arts, Humanities and Education > School of Education
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Depositing User: Janet Davidson
Date Deposited: 19 Apr 2016 11:19
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2020 17:10

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