Beyond Depoliticized Citizenship Education. Conceptualizing Political Citizenship Education in Citizenship Education Theory

  • S. Curvers

Student thesis: Master's Thesis: Humanistic Studies


This study aims to contribute to the development of a comprehensive conception of political citizenship education. Through a conceptual review the work of scholars who have written extensively about the dangers of apolitical citizenship education and/or the need for political citizenship education are examined. In particular, it analyzed notions of politics and citizenship and conceptions of depoliticized and political citizenship education from which key characteristics of political citizenship education are derived. The political theories of Rancière, Mouffe and Castoriadis were taken into account, for they have influenced several of the authors’ conceptions of political citizenship education. Analysis of the literature led to the distinction of three subgroups in the data based similar underlying theoretical notions: subjectification, political creation and social justice. Based on the analysis the following key characteristics of political citizenship education have been discerned. Political citizenship education fosters citizens who understand citizenship as a contested concept; are inclined to question relations of power; are sensitive to possibilities for (political) change; can identify with collectives or with issues of a common concern; are capable of engaging in conflict; see themselves as (equal) political subjects; understand that institutions are created by people and can thus be reimagined and recreated; and are oriented toward social justice.
Date of Award1 Jan 2016
Original languageAmerican English
SupervisorI. de Groot (Supervisor) & W. M. M. H. Veugelers (Supervisor)

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