The education of future citizens is an enduring issue that is of concern to governments, society, parents and to young people themselves. The form it takes, the rationale behind it, and the expected outcomes are matters of debate both within and across societies. Yet the underlying assumptions are rarely challenged: all societies require ‘good’ citizens who support the nation state, support its values and contribute to it in different ways. Yet this state- focussed paradigm of citizenship education has been challenged recently when Splitter (2011) referred to the “citizenship industry”. By this he meant that the boundaries around citizenship education seemed to be tightly prescribed by those in the field committed to continuing state-focussed citizenship education. Splitter argued for a quite different conception of the personal and social relationships young people should experience other than relationships they are meant to have with the nation-state. He argued in essence for greater recognition of the multiple identities young people often possess and their importance in developing and understanding future citizens. In this presentation I shall argue that the “citizenship industry” needs to take a long hard look at itself to see how it might accommodate a more inclusive view of what future citizens need. In particular I shall argue for a better understanding of “identities” and the way identity education might be developed as an important part of the education of future citizens.
|Published - Jun 2014