Geography Education's Potential and the Capability Approach

GeoCapabilities and Schools

  • Richard Bustin

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxviii
  2. Richard Bustin
    Pages 1-32
  3. Richard Bustin
    Pages 33-66
  4. Richard Bustin
    Pages 67-97
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 193-197

About this book


'This book is a very welcome entry into the status of subject knowledge in contemporary schools not only in England but also internationally. By building its theoretical background on ’powerful knowledge’ and the capability approach, it beautifully highlights the role of subject teachers as professional curriculum makers. The book shows how geography as a school subject can develop students’ capabilities and enhance their wellbeing.'
Professor Sirpa Tani, University of Helsinki, Finland

'GeoCapabilities has inspired new curriculum thinking about the broader purposes and values of geography in schools. This book expertly demonstrates how concepts of powerful knowledge, capabilities, and teacher leadership intertwine to support a geography curriculum that develops human potential and freedoms. It offers a road map to improving the relevance, appeal, and applicability of geography as a fundamental and essential subject in education.'
Dr. Michael Solem, Co-Director, National Center for Research in Geography Education, USA
This book explores the pivotal role that geography as a school subject plays in helping every young person achieve their educational potential. Expressed as ‘GeoCapabilities’, this concept draws on the the capability approach developed by Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum applied to curriculum thinking in schools. While traditional subjects have often been deemed irrelevant and outdated in an overcrowded secondary school curriculum, subjects like geography have often been lost or combined with others to fulfil a broad skills agenda. More recent talk of a ‘knowledge led’ curriculum can often lead to the recitation of facts at the expense of developing deeper understanding. This book argues the concept of powerful geographical knowledge, based on the work of Michael Young and David Lambert, invests the subject of geography with its educational potential: this forms the basis of GeoCapabilities.
GeoCapabilities focuses on both what is being taught and why, and as such provides a framework of curriculum thinking which will be of interest and value to geography teachers, school leaders with curriculum development responsibilities and all those interested in the capability approach and the moral imperative of education.

Richard Bustin is Head of Geography at Lancing College, UK. He is also on the editorial board of the journal Teaching Geography and works with trainee geography teachers across the UK.


Geography education Geocapabilites Capability Framework Amartya Sen The Capability Approach Geography in schools Martha Nussbaum

Authors and affiliations

  • Richard Bustin
    • 1
  1. 1.Worcester ParkUK

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2019
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages Education Education (R0)
  • Print ISBN 978-3-030-25641-8
  • Online ISBN 978-3-030-25642-5
  • Buy this book on publisher's site