chapter  1
17 Pages

Why geography and citizenship?

In July 2012, the Olympic flame was carried by 8,000 torchbearers in a relay around Britain and Ireland to herald the start of the Olympic Games in London (Figure 1.1). It passed within 95 per cent of the population, taking in settlements, landscapes and places of interest (London2012 2012a). While some of the torchbearers were international athletes or ‘celebrities’, the vast majority were nominated to carry the torch for their active contributions to local communities. They included people who had coached sports teams, supported disabled people, raised funds for charity, organized community events, managed youth organizations, led Guides and Scouts, served in the emergency services, or lived positively with illness or disability. The torchbearers were enthusiastically encouraged by members of the public who supported the torch as it passed through their localities. Although the 2012 torch relay did not explicitly celebrate the idea of citizenship, it provides an apt starting point for this book as it illustrates many important themes associated with it.