(Re)creating citizenship: Saskatchewan high school students’ understandings of the ‘good’ citizen

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Abstract:

Citizenship education is of central importance in curriculum and schooling, as evidenced by the proliferation of research and writing in the area over the last 20 years. Building on existing citizenship literature, this paper discusses one aspect of a larger project exploring the ways in which citizenship is discursively produced in officially mandated school curriculum and the ways in which students themselves understand and take up narratives of ‘good’ citizenship in light of their diverse experiences and social locations. Using an image-based approach to research, students visually represented and then discussed with researchers their perceptions of good citizenship. What became apparent through the analysis of images and focus group transcripts was the ease with which students, regardless of their social locations, reproduced commonsense narratives of ‘good’ citizenship, including socially sanctioned concern for the environment, a sense of nationalism and national pride, respect for relationships and a communal ethos, and the official discourse of multiculturalism. Missing from students’ understandings of ‘good’ citizenship was any kind of social analysis, suggesting that they largely accepted citizenship as universally realized and experienced by individuals.

Keywords: citizenship education; curriculum; multiculturalism; nationalism; social studies

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00220272.2011.618951

Affiliations: 1: Faculty of Education,University of Regina, 380 Education Bldg, 3737 Wascana ParkwayRegina,SK,S4S 0A2, Canada 2: Faculty of Education,University of Regina,

Publication date: February 1, 2012

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