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Education for European Citizenship and the Quest for a European Civic Culture

Citizenship
European Politics
Political Participation
Identity
Education
European Union
Wieger Bakker
University of Utrecht
Wieger Bakker
University of Utrecht
Viktor Koska
University of Zagreb

Abstract

Political participation on the European level requires the backing of a political culture, a set of beliefs, attitudes, norms, perceptions and a sense of ‘identity, an expression of one’s membership in a political community’ (Almond and Verba 1963, Kymlicka and Norman 1995, Isin 2012). Although the notion of European citizenship and the necessity of a European civic culture is repeatedly articulated over the last 25 years, there are strong doubts about the progress made so far and about the possibility to create a political community on the EU-level. Already on the level of nation states and with regard to national citizenship, this is regarded problematic. Within nation states there are more or less vested traditions that promote citizenship, by socializing and educating people in a ‘civic culture (Almond and Verba 1963). Educating for European citizenship is far less developed. The question is even whether the two go together. Do countries within the EU prepare their young adults to be part of multiple political communities? And does the existing citizenship education potentially contribute to or hinder the evolution of a civic culture on the EU-level? This paper compares different traditions in educating for citizenship in a selection of Member States of the EU by reviewing existing research and literature. Building on this, an analytical framework is developed for an international comparative study in 7 EU-countries; Sweden, The Netherlands, Spain, Germany, Czech Republic, Hungary and Croatia (Ross 2007, Keating cs 2009, Philippou 2009, Barber and Torney-Purta 2012). The countries are selected on the basis of diversity in: geographical position, size, old and new member states and characteristics of the educational system (e.g. early selection).