Asian Students’ Conceptions of Citizenship: Constructing Indigenous Views of Citizens, Citizenship Education and the State

Project: Research project

Project Details


Civic and citizenship education is primarily constructed on Western models of politics and the state. Existing theoretical work has argued that Western models area at odds with thinking about citizenship in Asian countries (Lee, 2004, 2008). Nevertheless, successive international civics assessment projects (Torney, Oppenheim & Farren, 1975; Torney-Purta et al., 2001) have neglected alternative views of citizenship with the assumption that liberal democracy is the dominant paradigm influencing the development of citizenship education. In 2009, the International Civic and Citizenship Study (ICCS) (Ainley, Schultz Faillon & Losito, 2010) recognized the importance of tapping diverse views of citizenship and included five Asian societies students from which completed both the International Survey and a specific Asian Regional Module (ARM) designed for Asian students only. This has created the possibility to investigate empirically Asian students’ conceptions of citizenship, compare them with the views of students from other parts of the world (e.g. Latin America and Europe) and make an assessment of the distinctiveness or otherwise of the views of Asian students. These empirical analyses, while important in themselves, will also provide the bases for a theoretical analysis that will seek to relate these results to the existing literature on Asian conceptions of citizenship. This will be a test of the theoretical adequacy of the empirical results and it will also create the possibility for new theoretical issues to be identified and explored. Given the significant role that Asia now plays in economic and political events, the purposes of this project are to analyze Asian students’ conceptions of citizenship from multiple persepctive, investigate the causes of these attitudes, compare these attitudes both within the region and beyond and assess the implications for understanding not only the nature and purpose of civic and citizenship education in Asian contexts but also the possible influence of such conceptions on notions of the state. This project, therefore, has the potential to expand understanding of citizenship, citizenship education and the relation of the two to the state. The results of this study will provide baseline data on Asian students’ conceptions of citizenship. It will provide insights into the way future citizens think about citizenship in one of the most strategic regions in the world. Importantly, the results will provide the basis for comparisons with young people in other parts of the world.

Funding Source: RGC - General Research Fund (GRF)
Effective start/end date01/11/1131/01/15


  • citizenship
  • measurement
  • civic education


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