The flexible citizen: education and citizenship

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


    This paper considers the recent focus on citizenship within education by taking curricular reform within Scottish secondary schooling and its linkage with higher education as a case study. In Scotland the Curriculum for Excellence reform places citizenship as one of the four main capacities that pupils must work towards as part of their education. This is echoed to some extent within higher education through the Enhancement Theme reforms and the focus on graduate attributes. A unifying theme in these reforms is the need for students to work across different disciplines, to develop a cross-disciplinary perspective on the world by, for example, considering issues of sustainability in relation to scientific or technological developments. In this model of curriculum development teaching staff are considered as agents of change, enabling learners to develop their sense of citizenship in response to a fast-paced world of innovation and change. This kind of change is objectified as a need that must be responded to and met if tomorrow’s citizens are to be able to not only cope, but thrive in the world in which they inhabit. As such, the citizen is positioned as an ongoing project, as something to be worked at and worked on. However, this kind of notion of agency cloaks an neoliberal ideological construction of the citizen as a flexible resource for society, and usually in relation to economic output. The paper seeks to subject this construction of the citizen to critical scrutiny in relation to the idea that, in education, learners are developing their ability to be creative and enquiring in order to be adaptive to change.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 16 Mar 2014
    Event9th Global Conference: Pluralism, Inclusion and Citizenship Conference. - Prague, Czech Republic
    Duration: 14 Mar 201416 Mar 2014
    Conference number: 9th


    Conference9th Global Conference: Pluralism, Inclusion and Citizenship Conference.
    Country/TerritoryCzech Republic


    • Curriculum for excellence
    • Citizenship
    • Higher education
    • Authentic self


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