Citizenship and nationality in changing Europe: a comparative study of the aims of citizenship education in Russian and Finnish national education policy texts

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The paper analyses how the formal aims of citizenship education, as declared in legislation and policy documents, have changed since the end of the 1980s in response to the transformation of the political scenery in Finland and the Russian Federation. One central question framing the analysis of Finnish citizenship education is whether nationally-based citizenship is becoming obsolete because of Finland's latest involvement in the European integration process. In the Russian case, the aim is to investigate whether nationality has become more strongly linked to the Russian state since the breakdown of the Soviet empire. The study also examines whether nationality has acquired new meanings because of the political transformations of the last two decades in Finland and Russia. The study's findings illustrate that Finland is both forsaking the strong link between the state and the nation, and returning to the pre-independence cultural concept of the nation. These changes allow Finland to move in the direction of a multi-level conception of citizenship. Nevertheless, for Finland national citizenship remains the nucleus of other citizenship and identity layers. In contrast to the recent developments in Finland, the discourses of state integrity and national unity have become more prominent in Russia. Russia seeks to attach citizenship to the state-wide national space by encouraging state patriotism and strengthening the position of the Russian language.

Keywords: Finland; Russia; citizenship education; nation-state; nationality; social education

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Education, 33014 University of Tampere, Finland

Publication date: December 1, 2009

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