Citizenship, National Identity and Political Education: Some Disputable Questions

Vladimir Gutorov

Abstract


The article seeks to elucidate some controversial problems of the formation of both civic and national selfconsciousness through analysing the politics of identity and citizenship, which has assumed increasing importance in Western and Eastern European countries. Citizenship is considered as a dynamic construct that should be viewed as a ‘process’ through which specific rights and obligations are exercised. The central task, therefore, is to analyse the evolution of various conceptions of citizenship in the light of historical experience, continuity and change, as well as the process of transformation of the model of political education that has emerged within the framework of the liberal political culture of the 19th century and has continued to exert a great impact on the development of political discourse in the modern world. Special attention is given to the comparative analysis of the models of civic and national identity in the USA, Western and Eastern Europe, including post-communist Russia. The author argues that the conception of identity as well, as the criteria for its defi nition, have become crucial in the discussion of problems of citizenship and political education. The issue remains whether an effective model of political education alone, i.e. without active citizens’ involvement and support, can have the potential not only to transform a political culture, but also influence the whole system of both secondary and university education. The final aim of the article is to prove the idea that a new conception of citizenship and political education could, in conditions of a deepening crisis, become the most important link binding civil society and the new content of the political making its way through corporative interests.


Keywords


citizenship; political education; nation-state; civil rights; national identity; political culture; ideological transformations

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