A History of Education for Citizenship

A History of Education for Citizenship

A History of Education for Citizenship

A History of Education for Citizenship

Synopsis

In this unique examination of education for citizenship, Derek Heater covers two and a half millennia of history encompassing every continent. Education for citizenship is considered from its classical origins through to ideas of world citizenship and multiculturalism which are relevant today. The book reveals the constants of motives, policies, recommendations and practices in this field and the variables determined by political, social and economic circumstances, which in turn illustrate the reasons behind education for citizenship today. Sections covered include: * Classical origins * The age of rebellions and revolutions * Education for liberal democracy * Totalitarianism and transitions * Multiple citizenship education. A History of Education for Citizenship will be of interest to teachers and students of citizenship, particularly those concerned with citizenship education. It will also be of interest to those working in the field of politics of education and history of education.

Excerpt

It is always good to start with an epigram from Aristotle. So, from the Politics let us take, 'The citizens of a state should always be educated to suit the constitution of a state' (Aristotle 1948:1337aII). Remembering that his word politeia, which we tend to render as 'constitution', embraces way of life and social ethic as well as form of government, we almost have an epigraph for this book. Except for that little word 'should'. There can be no doubt that the practices of citizenship education in ancient Sparta and Athens, in the France of the Third Republic and the Germany of the Third Reich, for instance, revealed many differences, explicable by their different politeia. But the very choice of these examples raises the issue whether the variations were for the benefit of the state or for the citizen. Aristotle's 'should' derived from his concern for the stability of the state, and two moral questions arise from his proposition. Are the interests of the individual qua citizen always to be subordinated to the stability of the state howsoever that stability is secured? And are those who are learning to be citizens to be indoctrinated for the sake of that stability; and if so, what price the development of a civic conscience and political judgement, particularly when 'state' is considered to be synonymous with regime?

The history of citizenship education from ancient Greece to the contemporary world contains rich food for thinking about these and other, perhaps less fundamental questions. To be personal: the writing of this book has been an audacious undertaking and I believe that no one else has dared tackle this vast and complex subject, even in the relatively limited form presented here. For it requires an interest in history, political theory and education. Since I have spent half a century reading all three of these disciplines, in the twilight of my writing years I have decided it is time to pull them all together in this chosen theme.

The complexity of the subject has posed difficulties of organization. After much thought I have settled on a division into five chapters. The first two deal with chronological periods, namely the ancient world (though with a coda on its legacy) and the early modern age, which for our purposes also has a thematic unity of the political experiences of rebellions and revolutions. The other three chapters have themes, each treated chronologically through their particular time-spans: the liberal state, totalitarian regimes in their contexts and the diversification of citizenship into multiple forms. The amount of material to be covered varies greatly from chapter to chapter, so each is divided into sections for ease of comprehension.

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