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Cultivating global citizens: planting new seeds or pruning the perennials? Looking for the citizen-subject in global citizenship education theory

Pashby, K (2011) Cultivating global citizens: planting new seeds or pruning the perennials? Looking for the citizen-subject in global citizenship education theory. Globalisation, Societies and Education, 9 (3-4). pp. 427-442. ISSN 1476-7724

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Abstract

This paper engages with a selection of scholarly writing in English that was published in the last decade and written from particular liberal democratic contexts (predominantly the UK, the USA, and Canada). The literature diagnoses the need for a more complex theory of citizenship education and theorises schooling for citizenship in a global orientation. The analysis calls for more explicit attention to the assumptions about the citizen subject student, the ‘who’ of global citizenship education (GCE). Overall, the findings suggest the assumed subject of GCE pedagogy is the autonomous and European citizen of the liberal nation-state who is seen as normative in a mainstream identification as citizen and who must work to encourage a liberal democratic notion of justice on a global scale by ‘expanding’ or ‘extending’ or ‘adding’ their sense of responsibility and obligation to others linearly through the local to national to global community. Thus, this theoretical work contributes a more complex notion of the citizen-subject to accommodate more diversity and to begin to recognise unequal power relations. Ultimately, however, the conceptualisation of global citizen education assumes a particular normative national citizen, and this assumption must be probed and made more explicit.

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