Waikato Journal of Education
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How to Cite

Hunter, P., & Keown, P. (2017). The New Zealand social studies curriculum struggle 1993-1997: An "insider" analysis. Waikato Journal of Education, 7(1). https://doi.org/10.15663/wje.v7i1.432


The development of Social Studies in the New Zealand Curriculum over the 1993-1997 period was highly contested. The authors were directly involved in the social studies development over this period, and this paper reflects on some of the major events in the development, from our "insiders" viewpoint. The paper argues that the contest was strongly influenced by two major "dominant voice groups with very different views on what a social studies curriculum should be like and by key elements of the political and economic reform agenda of the day. The paper traces the rise and fall in influence of each "dominant voice" group and also examines the way in which the reform agenda changed throughout the development. It argues that in the end the inclusive and liberal-democratic voice was dominant over the neo-liberal and educationally conservative one. It also suggests that a return to a more cooperative, negotiated style of curriculum development, rather than a pure "market-contract model" approach, was needed to bring the development to a satisfactory conclusion.

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