Education for Citizenship: The Uses of Antigone


This paper was originally given as a lecture to an audience of schoolteachers concerned with the problem of teaching Greek theatre. It was given before the great crisis in the Eurozone, and before the riots in many British cities in August 2011, but these events only add to the importance of the argument. The lecture argues that in order to teach citizenship, the pedagogue needs to focus not upon the individualistic rebellious spirit of Antigone, but upon the embodied and collective behaviour of the chorus. Through functioning as part of the chorus, pupils today, as in antiquity, may learn how to recognise themselves as part of a larger human entity. Working through practice in the classroom may involve a more engaged relationship to learning, and thus help impart the values of active citizenship.