Conceptualizing citizenship and citizenship education in Asia

Wing On LEE

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This article explores the cultural implications on citizenship studies, with a particular focus on Asian perspectives. It argues that the cultural contexts perform significant impacts on democracy, both in terms of its meaning and application. When democracy takes place in Asia, with reference to its particular cutlural characteristics, it is expressed in a soft manner in its application. Also, the meanings of democracy have been redefined to become more relaxed to focus on the effectiveness rather than the form of governance, and feeling of freedom rather than the construction system. The article further explores the cultural specifics that contribute to this phenomenon. As far as the individual is concerned, there is an inclination toward individuality rather than individualism and individuation. Moreover, there is a focus on the internal self as a good person, as well as the spirituality of the person. As far as the nature of citizenship is concerned, tehre is an inclination toward relationship rather than rights and responsibilities. And as far as relationship is concerned, there is an inclination toward harmony in civic relationship. Moreover, in Asia, there is always an attempt to perceive an individual in his/her relationship with the society and nature from a moral and spirtual dimension. The article concludes by pointing out why civics education in Asia tends to be expressed in the term of civic and moral education, rather than human rights and the democratic system. Copyright © 2003 Pacific Circle Consortium for Education.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-26
JournalPacific-Asian Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2003


Lee, W. O. (2003). Conceptualizing citizenship and citizenship education in Asia. Pacific-Asian Education, 15(2), 8-26.


  • Development of Disciplinary Knowledge (e.g. Sociology, Psychology)


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