Gifford, Chris (2015) Reforming citizenship education for new generations. Citizenship Studies, 20 (1). pp. 130-140. ISSN 1362-1025

The idea of a bounded and sovereign state that is mirrored by cultural homogeneity is clearly redundant as a basis of citizenship education. Young people’s identities are less likely to be forged through war and epoch-making political struggle, and consequently national allegiance and political participation is increasingly a matter of individual choice rather than collective obligation. The relationship between national institutions and cultures and young people’s identity formation is a central theme running throughout these publications. All the volumes point to the continued centrality of the nation-state as the focus for formal political socialisation yet in contexts that render it complex and confused. Supranational institutions, multinational business and finance, and transnational social movements powerfully cut across national boundaries and directly impact on citizens’ everyday lives. The twenty-first century context is one in which the relevance of national institutions including mainstream politics is no longer taken for granted and the national is only one category that young people draw upon in negotiating a sense of the self in the world. These varied publications point to the myriad ways in which citizenship education and young people’s identities are highly context-dependent, yet are being transformed by universal processes that challenge traditional forms of political membership.

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