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Resistance and engagement : a defence of science fiction for the adolescent student


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Soloduch, A 1986 , 'Resistance and engagement : a defence of science fiction for the adolescent student', Coursework Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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The object of this dissertation is to argue the value of the literary genre, science fiction, in the education of adolescents. Through the notions of resistance and engagement, science fiction is used to focus a critique of traditional secondary school curricula which, it is argued, no longer effectively transmit useful or desirable features of our culture.
Science fiction narratives are relatively simple on a literary level and contain satisfying plots. Those identified in this dissertation as 'didactive', however, also entertain serious and provocative theoretical considerations. By taking sensitive elements from the 'thickness' of daily life, and distancing them in fictional form through the techniques of 'estrangement', these stories can stimulate readers to sustained reflection on the meaning and purpose of life and to the construction of possible futures for themselves and the society they live in. Science fiction's particular use of 'cognitive estrangement' can operate to initiate speculation and debate in many disciplines, giving rise to forms of language in response whicn belong in the domains of politics and social organization. The study of this 'literature of ideas' can serve to heighten individual students' awareness of the powers of persuasive argument.
The dissertation is in three parts: Part 1 explores science fiction with a view to identifying the principal opportunities offered and the demands made on adolescent readers. Through closer textual analysis, Part 2 defends certain science fiction texts on moral, intellectual, emotional and general developmental grounds. Criteria are offered for the evaluation of works within the genre in terms of their contribution to the development of valued educational capabilities. The study of science fiction is placed in the context of adolescents' wider personal and cultural definitions and experiences.
Part 3 outlines some operating principles for a program of science fiction in the secondary school in the light of the considerations discussed above. The invitations to speculation in seriously extrapolative and propositional science fiction narratives are shown to promote an openness and reflexivity in teaching approaches and a wide range of possible student responses, with important implications for general educational theory and practice.

Item Type: Thesis - Coursework Master
Authors/Creators:Soloduch, A
Keywords: Young adults, Science fiction, Young adult fiction
Copyright Holders: The Author
Additional Information:

Thesis (M.Ed.Stud.)-University of Tasmania, 1987. Bibliography: leaves 241-254

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