9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN10 Sociology of Education

2009-09-03 13:30:00 2009-09-03 15:00:00 Thursday, 3 September 13:30 - 15:00 Educational Policies II Building I, 2E8

Education for Active Democratic Citizenship: a Clash of Practices and Definitions' (European guidelines and national practices (on the example of Germany and Russia))

Education for (Active) Democratic Citizenship (EfADC) is an important conception in educational policies on the European Union and Council of Europe level, and educational policies and practices of the member states. It became an established and essential part of the school education in Europe.
The amount of funding and numbers of large-, medium- and small-scale school projects show that the development of EfADC is supported by international and national authorities, and it is actively practised by educational agents. The idea of Education for Active Democratic Citizenship is closely connected with learning to understand, support and practise democracy.
However, analysis of different guidelines and educational practices show that the definition of active democratic citizenship is rather diffuse when applied by different agents. It appears that the EfADC is not necessarily connected to the development of political positions. It is rather the case that some important political attitudes and topics, e.g. tolerance, gender equality, multiculturalism etc. are picked up, and others e.g. critical attitudes are seldom the focus of EfADC.
Citizenship education in Europe is challenged by many phenomena, e.g. internationalisation and migration, Europeanization and globalisation, transformation, etc. Educational policies and practices cannot but instrumentalise EfADC in order to handle these challenges. This however results in the situation that understanding and practices of EfADC are spread between patriotic education, community services, human rights education etc.
Is Education for Active Democratic Citizenship an empty term, filled with radically different substance, according to the agent using it? Are there national specifics, which differ significantly from international guidelines?
The presentation seeks to depict different meanings of ?Active Democratic Citizenship? in educational policies and practices, describing common European components of EfADC, and arguing about the national specifics (Russian and German) of EfADC. Descriptions of the implicit meanings attached to Education for Active Democratic Citizenship (on the European and national level) are used in order to describe some (international and national) paths and development trends in what is seen as an active citizen.