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The character factory: Baden-Powell and the origins of the Boy Scout movement

01 Jan 1986-
About: The article was published on 1986-01-01 and is currently open access. It has received 111 citations till now. The article focuses on the topics: Character (symbol).
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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, Ross' and Nisbett's seminal review of dispositional social psychology to argue that OAE programs do not build character, but may provide situations that elicit certain behaviours.
Abstract: Within the diverse and sometimes amorphous outdoor education literature, “neo-Hahnian” (NH) approaches to adventure education are exceptional for their persistence, seeming coherence, and wide acceptance. NH approaches assume that adventure experiences “build character”, or, in modern terminology, “develop persons”, “actualise selves”, or have certain therapeutic effects associated with personal traits. In social psychological terms NH thought is “dispositional”, in that it favours explanations of behaviour in terms of consistent personal traits. In this paper I critically review NH OAE in an historical context, and draw on Ross' and Nisbett's (1991) seminal review of dispositional social psychology to argue that OAE programs do not build character, but may provide situations that elicit certain behaviours. For OAE research and theory, belief in the possibility of “character building” must be seen as a source of bias, not as a foundation. The conceptual analysis I develop provides not only a basi...

115 citations


Cites background from "The character factory: Baden-Powell..."

  • ...The appeal of youth movements ranged from fears that masturbation would sap the virility of youth (MacDonald, 1993) to anxiety about the decline of the British Empire (Rosenthal, 1986)....

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  • ...Read in their historical context, this obedience was not owed to just any authority, but to scout masters representing military officers and the British Empire....

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  • ...Rosenthal (1986) wryly observed that six of the original nine scout laws mean obedience to authority....

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  • ...…extended into the communities from which it drew its recruits, and in its outdoor activities attempted, at least prior to WW1, to contrive situations that were intended to resemble the military situations that it was supposed boy scouts would graduate into (MacDonald, 1993; Rosenthal, 1986)1....

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  • ...[it] is the simple acceptance of the scout laws” (Rosenthal, 1986, p. 106), NH OAE might be seen to correct this emphasis, by associating ‘character’ with individual selfreliance....

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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the persistence of the idea of character building in outdoor adventure education is examined in the face of strong evidence that outdoor experiences cannot change personal traits, and how the "fundamental attribution error" can explain the paradox of a shortage of evidence that adventure education "works" and a widespread belief that it does "work".
Abstract: In the first of a two part series of articles I argued that “character building” in outdoor adventure education (OAE) is a flawed concept. This, the second article, examines the persistence of the idea of character building in OAE in the face of strong evidence that outdoor experiences cannot change personal traits. I examine how the “fundamental attribution error” can explain the paradox of (a) a shortage of evidence that adventure education “works” and (b) a widespread belief that it does “work”. I review the place of character building in research, and develop a critical reading of a representative adventure education text. I show how unchallenged dispositionist assumptions emerge in neo-Hahnian discourse. I explain how discarding the intuitively appealing but fallacious foundations of neo-Hahnism can clear the way for situationist approaches to outdoor education that bring much needed sensitivity to cultural, regional, historical, and social contexts.

110 citations


Cites background from "The character factory: Baden-Powell..."

  • ...In short, notwithstanding the number of studies (MacDonald, 1993; Macleod, 1983; Roberts et al., 1974; Rosenthal, 1986; Springhall, 1977) that have analysed how character building movements have succeeded because of what they appealed to rather than what they actually achieved, a significant cohort of OAE theorists have not considered the symbolic aspects of OAE....

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  • ...In short, notwithstanding the number of studies (MacDonald, 1993; Macleod, 1983; Roberts et al., 1974; Rosenthal, 1986; Springhall, 1977) that have analysed how ‘character building’ movements have succeeded because of what they appealed to rather than what they actually achieved, a significant…...

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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The aim of science should be to give men as much pleasure and as little displeasure as possible as mentioned in this paper. But what if pleasure and displeasure were so tied together that whoever wanted to have as much as possible of one must also be prepared for the other, and this is how things may well be.
Abstract: What? The aim of science should be to give men as much pleasure and as little displeasure as possible? But what if pleasure and displeasure were so tied together that whoever wanted to have as much as possible of one must also have as much as possible of the other that whoever wanted to learn to 'jubilate up to the heavens' would also have to be prepared for 'depression unto death'. And this is how things may well be. (Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science, I, 12)

90 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: reflecting on the question ‘what is involved in writing a history of masculinity?’, this article considers the potential contribution that the history of colonial India offers to the study of masculinity.
Abstract: Contemporary historiography, especially in North American, European and Australian history, now includes a fairly respectable body of literature on men and masculinity. While this literature has produced important contributions to the usefulness of gender as a category of historical analysis, there has also been some wariness within feminist scholarship on the grounds that the issue of the gendered organisation may be evaded. Reflecting on the question ‘what is involved in writing a history of masculinity?’, this article considers the potential contribution that the historiography of colonial India offers to the study of masculinity

89 citations