From shared fate to shared fates: An approach for civic education

Cong Jason LIN, Liz JACKSON

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


In order to facilitate cooperation to solve problems within a nation-state, a new approach which conceptualizes citizenship in terms of shared fate has been promoted to potentially ameliorate the tensions identified between civic liberty and solidarity. Proponents of an emphasis on shared fate frame it not in terms of a particular shared national identity, but in terms of participation in the shared project(s) of the nation-state. The approach of singular shared fate rightly emphasizes the urgency of finding a common ground for people to cultivate obligations to others and achieve sincere cooperation in a society. Unfortunately, in some cases it leaves room for some people to undermine the common ground and its good intention, however, as the promotion of a view of singular shared fate risks producing a hegemonic singular nation building project and predesigning an agreement before a truly inclusive and just dialogue among relevant stakeholders proceeds. To make the good intentions of the notion of shared fate realizable, a modification is explored, in recasting the concept of singular “shared fate” to plural “shared fates”. Given the situation that people in societies have the plural shared fates de facto, the view of plural shared fates recognizes that people will reject any singular substantial nation building project that has a predesigned direction. In current, divided societies, acknowledging multiple fates at the beginning, rather than predesigning a singular fate, can better provide a platform for all stakeholders (including citizens, would-be citizens, newcomers, and immigrants) to discuss their obligations to others toward sincere cooperation through equal co-construction of what is shared and what is not shared. To enhance civic education in a multicultural society, we suggest that complementing the concept of singular “shared fate” with a recognition of the value of plural “shared fates” can provide a context for all people to work together towards a more inclusive and just future. Copyright © 2019 Springer Nature B.V.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)537-547
JournalStudies in Philosophy and Education
Issue number6
Early online date04 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019


Lin, C., & Jackson, L. (2019). From shared fate to shared fates: An approach for civic education. Studies in Philosophy and Education, 38(6), 537-547. doi: 10.1007/s11217-019-09658-z


  • Shared fate
  • Share fates
  • Diversity
  • Citizenship
  • Dialogue
  • Civic education


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