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ECPR 50th Anniversary Fund

Civic Education and the Social Transformation of Citizenship: A Franco-German Comparison

Comparative Perspective
Andrea Szukala
Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster
Claude Proeschel
Sciences Po Paris
Andrea Szukala
Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster

The presented analysis is based on French neo-pragmatic sociology (sociology of conventions), which is applied to international comparative educational research in civic education. Citizenship and citizenship education in schools have a critical role in the current debates about resilient societies, because schools are seen as places where future citizens are educated to be able to act in a liberal society in predictable and well-ordered ways. The research project thus connects to recent educational research, teacher education/profession research as well as to political science research on "civic politics" and educational politics. It also constantly reflects the Franco-German scientific narrative of the contrasting historical models of school and citizenship, but takes recent findings about new common challenges as a starting point for a comparative multilevel analysis beyond confrontations of holistic national educational and civic models.
The research paper addresses the ways teachers and professionals involved in citizenship education interact in their everyday practice. Teachers are especially confronted with critical classroom dilemmas and teacher-student conflicts in situations of civic education and instruction of the “political”, that is e.g. when they refer to citizenship and republican values as a starting point for pedagogical intervention and academic debate. The presented analysis especially focuses this new type of dilemma between discourses on citizenship/political belonging and civic education and the pedagogic action and discursive transformations in concrete classroom settings. The applied methods are ethnographic research, classroom observation and interviews.
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