Citizenship, Social Change, and Education

  • Mitja Sardoč Educational Research Institute, Slovenia
Keywords: citizenship education, social change, education reform, radicalisation, violent extremism


In recent decades, discussions regarding citizenship and citizenship education have evolved from a marginal issue in political philosophy and the philosophy of education to one of the most pressing topics in contemporary discussions about the civic aims of public schooling. The place and contribution of citizenship education in public schools have become central points of discussion and debate in terms of theory, research, policy, and practice. Yet, existing conceptions of citizenship education differ considerably over various issues, including the basic motivational impulses associated with the civic aims of public education. In particular, the recent upsurge of phenomena as diverse as hate speech, populism, the shrinking civic space, radicalisation, and violent extremism have shifted the main justificatory impulse from consequentialist to urgency-based arguments. This shift of emphasis has had some unreflected consequences related to the justification for citizenship education in public schools. The central purpose of this article is to expound on the two main impulses associated with the civic aims of public schools and their interrelationship with social changes. The main part contrasts these two opposing motivational impulses associated with the justification of citizenship education. Each of the two impulses is presented and then clarified with an example to shed light on the basic justificatory procedure associated with it. The concluding part of this paper sketches the most distinctive challenges of the alternative conception of justifying citizenship education and its interplay with social change.


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