Global citizenship: an education or an identity?

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    This paper considers the recent focus on citizenship within education by examining curricular reform in Scottish secondary schooling and its linkage with higher education. In Scotland the Curriculum for Excellence reform places citizenship as one of four main capacities (i.e., successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens, effective contributors) that pupils must work towards as part of their education. The Scottish higher education Enhancement Themes framework also includes citizenship as part of the development of ‘graduate attributes’ that students work towards as they progress through their courses. A unifying theme in these reforms is the need for students to take a global perspective and work across different disciplines by, for example, considering how knowledge relates to wider issues such as in relation to sustainable development, e-democracy or human rights. One feature that unites these disparate areas is that, above all, students must learn to be active through the acquisition of appropriate knowledge and skills. In this model of citizenship education learners are enabled to develop their sense of citizenship identity in response to a fast-paced world of innovation and change. Citizenship is therefore linked to a futurist agenda, where the learner-citizen is positioned as an ongoing project, as something to be worked at or perhaps worked on. However, this kind of notion of agency is an expression of an ideological construction of the citizen as a flexible resource for society. Such citizens are active in the sense of being adaptive to change through utilizing intellectual skills but without a sense of identity grounded in one’s commitments or reflexive engagement with different forms of understanding. The paper offers a critical assessment of this learner-citizen discourse as focusing on ratiocination rather than relational identity.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationIdentity in communicative contexts
    EditorsKamila Ciepiela
    Place of PublicationOxford
    PublisherPeter Lang
    Number of pages12
    ISBN (Electronic)9783653061000, 9783631694237
    ISBN (Print)9783631666616
    Publication statusPublished - 18 Oct 2016

    Publication series

    NameŁódź Studies in Language
    PublisherPeter Lang


    • Curriculum for excellence
    • Global citizenship
    • Higher education
    • Authentic self


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