Participation, activism and radicalism: Educating citizens for troubled times

Kerry John KENNEDY, Hoi Yu NG, Lijuan Joanna LI

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


Traditionally, citizenship education has focused on preparing future citizens for conventional civic engagement. Indeed it can be argued that the influence of citizenship education in a democratic society is to produce conforming citizens, supportive of democratic institutions and in general supportive of the status quo. Yet in recent times conformist citizenship education may not be enough to preserve democratic societies. More and more we see citizens opting for radical solutions to support democracy whether it is he ‘Arab Spring’, the ‘Umbrella Movement’ in Hong Kong the ‘Sun Flower’ movement in Taiwan or anti-Trump protesters in the United States. This paper will report on data from Hong Kong to show how radical impulses are evident even in the preferred future participation choices of young adolescents and how for some the impulse continues into young adulthood. The implications for this radical turn in participation will be assessed to identify future directions for citizenship education in these troubling times.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017


Kennedy, K. J., Ng, H. Y., & Li, L. (2017, June). Participation, activism and radicalism: Educating citizens for troubled times. Paper presented at the Fifth annual conference on citizenship education, University of Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands.


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