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Nationalizing the post-national: reframing European citizenship for the civics curriculum in Ireland

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The EU and other European institutions have launched a wide range of educational initiatives over the past 50 years in order to foster European citizenship and bring Europe 'closer to the people'. However, the efficacy of these efforts is questionable. In the EU, education policy (and in particular, curriculum policy) is governed by subsidiarity: citizenship education curricula are designed at the national level, with limited input from European institutions. This paper examines whether European citizenship education initiatives have impact upon national-level curricula and, moreover, how the concept of European citizenship has been defined and constructed in national citizenship education programmes. These questions are explored here using qualitative, socio-historical methods through a case study of curricular reform in the Republic of Ireland. This case illustrates that there has been a gradual deepening and broadening of the way in which European citizenship is conceptualized in the Irish curriculum. However, this remains a narrow conception of European citizenship, and one which ultimately limits both the impact on national citizenship and the prospects of European citizenship.
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Keywords: European citizenship; Ireland; citizenship education; education policy

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: National Foundation for Educational Research, Berkshire, UK

Publication date: 2009-04-01

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