Global citizens/local agents: re-positioning the school at the centre of sociocultural transformation

Year: 1999

Author: Gill, Judith, Howard, Sue

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Starting from an analysis of the internal contradictions inherent in the civics education curriculum, this paper attempts to deconstruct the citizen as schooled product and proposes an alternate concept of citizen. In many respects the 'new' citizen must have the capacity to transcend the constructed limits of politics and geography as understood in terms of national boundaries in order to take up a position of world player, actor and respondent. At the same time the question of local affiliation and connectedness is important. The paper uses discussions with primary school children to inform the proposals for the need to reconceptualise the citizen. By taking up subject positions in which the children are always and already knowing and belonging, the young informants demonstrate their readiness and willingness to engage in debate about local and global issues. Ultimately the paper argues that by forging global connections and opening up broader spaces schooling can begin to transcend the limitations of contexts of disadvantage and remoteness at the same time as preparing children for new forms of political engagement.